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Sail Date: May 2010
Travel This would be our seventh cruise and the first on a British ship with P&O. We decided on this trip as a celebration and commiseration for my partner Diane who was coming up to her 50th and this trip being a Baltic cruise meant ... Read More
Travel This would be our seventh cruise and the first on a British ship with P&O. We decided on this trip as a celebration and commiseration for my partner Diane who was coming up to her 50th and this trip being a Baltic cruise meant Diane would be in St Petersburg on her special day. Having attended the cruise show in London earlier in the year and chatting to the guys on the P&O stand followed by tasting their excellent wines had left me with the feeling that it was a real British experience and it felt rather like going back in time to better days. We journeyed down the previous evening and stayed at my sisters over night in Christchurch .We left for Southampton at about 12.30 which should have taken 40 odd minutes, but as related by other cruise chums on this site and allowing for the delays experienced by others we left with extra time in hand and we found the jams to the port which had been reported. Embarkation Our time of embarkation was from 2pl till 4pm and we were told not to arrive early as this would cause a bottle neck and create further problems this in mind we dutifully arrived at the Port having allowed for the traffic by just after the 2pm window. We had arranged with CPS parking to meet at the Port and found them straight away and they looked after us well and soon we were devoid of luggage and on our way inside the terminal. We were given a ticket and asked to sit and be patient as they had incurred a problem with the computers and were delaying the boarding. We sat and sat and finally after what seemed like hours our ticket colour was called and we were asked to board. I must say that the whole experience was like being in a new rather poor version of terminal five at Heathrow, bland, impersonal almost military. Stateroom - we choose as on a tight budget, as this will be one of three cruises this year an inside on A for Australia deck the 12th floor mid-ships 529 - on entering we were nicely surprised by what we found - larger than we had expected having read others opinions with a small dressing area hanging rails etc. very comfortable bed and nice dEcor. This was our home for two weeks and besides a slight vibration from what we thought was the air conditioning system which reverberated through the headboard which could be annoying and the noise from the same it was all tickete boo. Wilson was our attendant and a jolly fine fellow he was - polite helpful a tentative, kept pointing us in the right direction as he knew we were hopeless navigating around this rather confusing layout of a ship. The great thing which was a first for us was the jolly old Kettle and tea and coffee provided -plus very nice biscuits thank you. Ship info Having traced a missing suitcase (which somehow they had lost the attached label) down at reception we explored the ship and found it very pleasant and spick n span - but then the dreaded muster stations where the first announcement given by the invisible Captain of the ship suddenly stopped and we all stood like Muppets with the usual impatient Brit moaning and cursing while they tried to sort out the tanoy system in vain. The staff improvised and after a bit of a laugh we dutifully wandered of for our sail away. This was fun as the weather was kind enough to stay dry and warm enough to stay on top to listen to the brass band as we were played out of Port. So with a glass of champagne at £3 and a free union jack flag in hand we were on our way -all jolly good British stuff and fun. It didn't take us long to get the measure of where things were on the ship - I would say about 13days as they state all lifts face forward - not true most do not all - deck five aft is a no go except for the Oriental restaurant ---- they kept moving Bars around and sometimes the front of the ship the Bow was at the rear aft and visa versa - they moved my dining room several times just to confuse us this we put down to the dEcor being similar on both sides of the ship and the fact we suffer from what we call cruise brain. It switches off. The planet bar was a nice asset, somewhere to sit and gaze from on high watching the world go by and occasionally looking at the HD screens depicting different places of interest around the world. In the evenings on the Azamara Quest they had an excellent trio playing in their top bar and consequently it was quite full most evenings, where on this there might be only a few tables taken with a piano playing for a few hours, seemed a wasted opportunity for a great venue. This was made up for by the other bars that were usually full with the different acts they provided and there were lots to choose from. The theatre was as described by another rather bland and no waitress service which is why there is nowhere to put your drinks and felt rather cramped in comparison .The Glass house on the other hand was a very well thought out area which led you into it and great to sit relax and enjoy the good food and wine, of course at a cost but well worth it. We had dinner there one evening fish n chips in Batter for £4.95 and the three top wines French classic selection where one of the wines a Château Latour 2004 priced at £10 on its own was one of three excellent glasses of wine for £12.95 -recommended. The sky screen to us was a noisy intrusion and a wasted space removing the optional enclosed pool area enjoyed on other ships with temperatures plummeting in the evening you had to be a dedicated film buff to want to endure the elements -- obviously better for the Mediterranean etc. The kids clubs looked to be thriving with lots of smiling children involved in various adventures. Dining We were in the Oriental restaurant where we shared a table for six with two others - the food was good rather than great - with posh descriptions of average food, but no complaints. Again we found the wine to be reasonable and fairly cheap compared to other cruise lines we had experienced previously and made full use of the wine list. Dress code my partner thought was nice to see everyone making the effort and visually celebrating the chance to feel special - personally I thought four formal evenings was a tad to many as the food was the same where on Costa ,Celebrity and RCI cruises we had experienced a special menu for the special evenings. Semi formal and smart casual being the others in pretties much equal amounts. Speciality Restaurants We were going to book for Diane's 50th the Sindhu Indian restaurant but luckily we met the chef from 17 and he persuaded us to dine there. We dined in the so called Indian restaurant on our third night and as reported by some others we found the food to start well and end average -the starter being yummy and my main disappointing being 2 pieces of what I presume to be fillet steak cooked uumm like fillet steak with 4 tubby chips and a yet to be decided small pile of something - it tasted ok and very edible but not special £15 a head. 17 on the other hand was wammo - on Di's 50th we sat and enjoyed an excellent Prawn starter a Chateaubriand for two cooked to perfection and an excellent sweet, washed down with a nice Cotes du Rhone - a lovely evening. Cost £20 per head plus wine.. Venezia For breakfast and most other times when we felt the need and as I put on 5lb in two weeks - so a lot. The food here was good - the tea and coffee station for the competitive - every man for him self .The main problem here is logistics, basically 3000 plus people on one ship can sometimes feel like 3000 people in one place, finding a table was quite testing sometimes and it was a challenge walking from one side of the ship to the other hoping someone had moved we usually landed up sharing and in away this was good as most people were quite pleased to share there days experience with you and it was always amazing how someone else had a completely different slant on the day having done the same as you but was on a different planet. Be prepared for winging moaners who can't help but make out A > standards have dropped B > it was not as good as last year on the Titanic etc. etc - mainly the old time P&O crowd who refered to themselves as posh cruisers - at one breakfast in the Peninsular restaurant told us that they have been on 50 plus cruises and were of to a special lunch with the Captain - then relate to the good old days I suppose before they let the steerage class up stairs I have read others refer to them as rude - personaly I thought of spitting image and actualy laughed at one comment great fun. Staff and service Waiter and staff in the Oriental ok but it all seemed a tad rushed and lacked the personal touch we had enjoyed on other cruise lines - eg. Don't ask me my waiters name or the wine waiter they never passed the time of day - rush, rush, rush. Generally the rest of the staff all seemed the same as other cruise lines pleasant and attentative. Entertainment - We enjoyed the Azura singers and dancers and their stage performances We enjoyed the antics of Morgan lee James in the Malabar We had an audience with Olly Smith - we listened and laughed at the life and experiences of Maggie Stredder - the tribute to Cher in her undies by Laura Miles - the sail aways from ports with our (red coat ) Benni cruise director who just loved YMCA Plus we had the docile tones of x Foundations singer Clem Curtis for two enjoyable evenings In all, it was a great experience had by us. Excursions The Tallinn excursion we experienced was average - we chose the Russian memories - this was to experience going on board a Russian submarine that was Estonian made in Barrow and Furness England - our guide who took us on the submarine was totally inept - he introduced himself as too tired to do this as I have only had 3 hours sleep.com and as I had done some research previous to the visit I was helping him - the visit to the museum of occupations was an eye opener and very in depth and we listened to the experience of a lady who had suffered at the hands of the Russians - quite emotional. St Petersburg - 1st day sunshine and the Hermitage - good excursion - great guide - wonderful winter palace - recommended Evening ---- the Russian Ballet at the Conservatoire - Swan lake was enjoyable - the theatre not so the seats were uncomfortable and the 1st performance too long so everyone complained of backside ache when we went out for our glass of champagne - we had to queue up for most of the interval to get the small glass of champagne and then rush down stairs for the toilets before we returned to our seats. But it was worth the effort though a bit expensive. That's all we tried re the ship the rest we done ourselves - Kristiansand Norway -- overcast drizzle - wandered around the town ok but not great Tallinn After the excursion we walked into town and found a thousand things to photograph lovely colourful buildings in a walled town with character great fun - Stockholm Having stayed there many times we met our Swedish friends and took a boat trip to an Island for drinks and a meal - great day Helsinki - been their before so we just walked around having done the markets and church etc. - there was some youngsters playing in a concert in the main thoroughfare and we sat and listened had a few beers and enjoyed the day Copenhagen This was the surprise package museums and town halls parks and forts great busy waterways with bars and happy faces - great photo shoot opportunities Had a great day Oslo Been there before so again we walked miles just taking pictures of the palace and wonderful grounds loads to see and enjoy and the inevitable one beer 330 cl Carlsberg and one small coke £12 - enough said Disembarkation No problems all went well and at the call to leave the ship we were of in ten minutes and walking across the road to pick up our car -easy Summary We had a great time - we enjoyed the British feel about the ship - the value for money aspect - the fact people were still awake like me at 1am in the morning not heard of on an American ship and still something to do - yes there were some problems like the ship loosing power out at sea late one night it all went very quiet and dark in the cabin for about 10 minutes but someone found the starting handle and off we went again - not a word from anyone as to why. Must have been a very large fuse or someone leant on the wrong switch - have to laugh - We loved the fact there wasn't any tax on the drinks and that the tips were not forced on you to leave your card details so they could remove vast sums of money from your account to save them paying wages as with most other lines -this was £1.50 a day for each person and the amount being doubled as for your attendant and waiter is I think reasonable. Prices in the shops were reasonable with decent shops - Diane bought a lovely pair of sunglasses for about £25 and my daughter a watch for £10 so all in all we never felt we were being ripped off - i bought a bottle of Gin and vodka cheaper than in a shop in the uk. So all in all - all I can say is = Believe me we would have stayed on for the Mediterranean trip if they had asked -- but sadly they didn't. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
had high expectations of this ship, but sadly we were dissapointed in the main. for us one of the cruise experience highlights is the food/wine in the evening & we were badly let down by so-called award-winnig chefs who ... Read More
had high expectations of this ship, but sadly we were dissapointed in the main. for us one of the cruise experience highlights is the food/wine in the evening & we were badly let down by so-called award-winnig chefs who couldn't win much for the 3 star food with proper wine list only provided on last night! Token Veg with main course & potatoes in addition to potatoes done differently to add. 5 a day not easy on the azura! In the main dry British food with no sauces hardly (i can get this at home) expected special food but just run of the mill staples with some meat & a few fish options - bread potatoes & ice cream - (that'll fill em up!) so off we went i night to try the " Italian" restaurant alternative.Like the rest of ship staff were Indian so had heard good report of this secret option Ital;ian food by Indian staff? Well Brushetta was basically Cheese on toast I asked for Spaghetti Pescatore but waiter did not understand this so when I said with seaffod it worked - the ish was creamy & very little seafood & not nice so asked for alternative - Napolita just Tomato sauce mmm a child may be happy with this?? but we expected more! Entertainment mainly 2 comedians taking rise out of front row audience was quite funny as long as it wasn't you in the hot seat! Young dancers theme nights very good The free shuttle buses to the destination ports were good Cabin Steward exceptional from Goa thing is he left when we did for a better offer? from Royal Carribean, a wise man! Cabin Toilet faulty flushing experience awaiting P & O response on this & hope they cure the fault for future passengers soon. Overall a 3 star experience the food being particularly poor spoilt it for us compared with Princess food this was not great/ Sam old films showing & timing of films inside not right for inclement weather hardly anything to do quizzes were low on the ground. more Entertainment direction & forethought needed. Get tips from the Cruse director/staff on Independence they were funny themselves AND kept you occupied! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Oh dear, where to begin. My husband and I were so looking forward to a relaxing 14 days in the Caribbean on the flag-ship Azura but what we got was a cheap holiday camp experience at sea. It started by having to pay £50 just to get ... Read More
Oh dear, where to begin. My husband and I were so looking forward to a relaxing 14 days in the Caribbean on the flag-ship Azura but what we got was a cheap holiday camp experience at sea. It started by having to pay £50 just to get seats together on the plane!!!!. We arrived in Barbados in rain but no problem, it was still a fab 30+ degrees. Ship is massive and very difficult to get around and with the amount of passengers on board can feel very closed in. The cabin was nice and kept very clean by Rowena.We were right at the front of the ship and it tended to get very noisy when arriving at ports etc. The air conditioning is constant and tends to cause a lot of passengers to get chest problems and dry coughs etc. Also the corridors are so staggeringly long. Best view in the house is also best kept secret. End of deck 8 at the front (of course) passenger access to the bow. Room service awful, food was dreadful and we are still trying to work out the flavour of soup that we had. Buffets.....don't get me started. Repetitive and boring. Un-attractive and no imagination involved whatsoever. The amount of passengers NOT washing hands on entering buffet was disgusting. Cattle market mentality pushing and shoving. Lack of tables, usually occupied with people who had finished eating but wanted to admire the view. Lack of cutlery and cups. Free juice only available at breakfast.Cooked breakfast swimming in fat. We dined in Oriental. Food of school diner quality, in fact kids probably get batter. Tried 3 times. Received a comment card which we filled in truthfully. Following day we were approached and improvements were attempted. Tried to book Sindu and 17 at the end of first week but told no tables left for the rest of the cruise. Tried to book Verona and told the same. Shore trips....don't book with P&O they are very over priced. There are plenty of trips available on the key side. Ship photographers....bloody nuisance. In your face even when eating. Passengers....miserable po-faced idiots that have no manners and treat staff like slaves, who by the way were extremely helpful and happy. Sunbed re-servers....pack it in. Its petty and ruins holidays. There are plenty to go around. Same with lift stampedes....let people out before you barge in. Entertainment....should be prosecuted under the trades description act. Totally awful. Shore-leave parties, when you have done 1, you have done them all. Repetitive again. No free soft drinks, unlike Royal Caribbean whom P&O really need to take a close look at. Islands visited. Aruba, Antigua and Grand Turks are stunning. Jamaica, st Martin Barbados and Bonaire horrid. St Lucia felt really un-safe and quite scary. Rum bar karaoke at the duty-free saved it. In summing up......No would never travel with this company again. Poor value for money. Still cannot understand why the ship was filled with Primark loyalty customers from Butlins. Ship is too big for staff to cope with. Passengers rude and bored. Sorry but truth hurts. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We booked our cruise in May 2010 as it was our Honeymoon and we always tend to book our cruises well in advance so having much longer to look forward to them. We decided on a Superior Balcony Deluxe cabin as it was our honeymoon and we ... Read More
We booked our cruise in May 2010 as it was our Honeymoon and we always tend to book our cruises well in advance so having much longer to look forward to them. We decided on a Superior Balcony Deluxe cabin as it was our honeymoon and we were not disappointed (we have only ever had an inside cabin previously). We were extremely impressed with our chartered flight from Birmingham, we checked our bags in and then didn't see them again until around 10pm on the first night of our cruise. When the plane landed in Barbados we were whisked away straight to the ship and embarkation took around 30mins. Our cabin was large with a very comfortable queen size bed! Our bathroom had a bath however the shower head was quite low, which was ok for me and my husband but if you are over 6foot you may have to stoop! The 'lounge' area in our cabin was nice for a bit of extra room. The balcony is looked over by the balconies from above however this didn't bother us. The champagne and chocolates were a nice touch too. Our cabin steward was very good and always friendly. We opted for the Freedom dining and on the first night we did sit on a table for 8 however every other night we did sit on a table for 2. We tended to eat around 6:30 to 7pm so we didn't have to wait for a table. Food was excellent with a good choice, e.g fish, beef and veggie offered. Staff were always happy to help and service was top noch! A couple of nights we ate in the buffet which was good however I always felt we couldn't take our time. Sindhu was excellent (£15 each), we love curry anyway but this was far better than any takeaway! We got extras such as mini poppadoms (delicious) and a sorbet course and the meal was finished off with handmade biscuits so really worth the money! (We ate there twice). The Glass House was also excellent, I had the 3 small dishes for £4.95 and my husband always opted for the larger meals for around £7. Service was slightly slower but that was because it was freshly made to order. Puddings were also lovely, I would recommend the lemon cheesecake! Entertainment was good with always something on somewhere. The theatre was never extremely busy however the tribute acts in Manhattan did get busy so best to get there early. There were a lot of quizzes, interesting talks and films on offer. We opted to watch films in Malabar on a few afternoons. On sea days there were always people saving sunbeds which was a little annoying but if they had been saved too long their things would get moved by other passengers. A few last things to note, drinks were reasonable and your onboard account could always been seen on the tv in your cabin. We did quite a few trips which were all very good, but were quite expensive. In St. Kitts we did the railway tour and we got most our money back as the carriage we were in the speakers were intermittent so couldn't hear the tour guide. We were impressed with P and O's response to this. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Azura Mini Cruise to Zeebrugge and Guernsey.Embarkation was slick and painless apart from the overzealous security,why an 80+ years old lady should have anything threatening in her flat shoes is beyond me.The ship was very clean and ... Read More
Azura Mini Cruise to Zeebrugge and Guernsey.Embarkation was slick and painless apart from the overzealous security,why an 80+ years old lady should have anything threatening in her flat shoes is beyond me.The ship was very clean and despite what a previous reviewer has stated our cabin was immaculately clean and very well equipped. Freedom Dining in the Meridian was very enjoyable with good quality food well presented and hot,the staff though very busy were attentive and professional. The "Seventeen" fine dining restaurant was worth every penny of the £58 surcharge and was an experience to treasure.Sindhu was a little disappointing in that the food though good was served by a bored,tired Waitress and was not worth the £40 surcharge. 72 for 2 people to take the coach to Brugge was bordering on usury,so we took the free shuttle bus to Blankenberg station and for the princely sum of 11Euros 80 return for 2 tickets we enjoyed the 15 minute journey to Brugge and a had a very nice time exploring this very pretty but very busy town. Guernsey was a bit of a disappointment as we arrived on a Sunday and it was shut! Entertainment on board was varied and ranged from awful to brilliant with Charlotte and Jonathan being brilliant. All in all a nice relaxing break on a well run very hard worked ship at a great price and we wholeheartedly recommend it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
My wife and I are just back from a 2 night mini cruise on P&O's Azura from Southampton to Zeebrugge, back to Southampton. This was our 2nd ever cruise, our first being last August for a 2 week roundtrip cruise from Southampton to ... Read More
My wife and I are just back from a 2 night mini cruise on P&O's Azura from Southampton to Zeebrugge, back to Southampton. This was our 2nd ever cruise, our first being last August for a 2 week roundtrip cruise from Southampton to the Med, on Princess' Crown Princess. Azura and the Crown are the same ship, just run by different cruise operators, so we knew what to expect from the ship in terms of size and layout. The similarities between the two ships sadly ended there for us... Let me start by saying we aren't snobs by any stretch of the imagination, and we are down-to-earth and easy going people (both in our mid-late 20's). BUT... we see cruising as a very expensive top-notch holiday choice; and as a result, it is reasonable to expect good service and quality. Princess more than exceeded ALL our expectations and as a result, obviously this has set our expectations for future cruises. I know i am comparing a 2 week £1600 per person cruise to a 2 night £220 per person cruise, but per night, the price isnt massively different. However, as one of the bar staff said to me just after we boarded, "this will be a different experience to a 2 week cruise, you will see people being carried away on stretchers and all sorts". I think what he was trying to say is this "cruise" is going to be like booze cruise. Obviously because its only a couple of hundred pounds per person, it is affordable to alot more people, which means the "class" (for want of a better word) of people on a 2 night cruise will be somewhat different to a 2 week cruise. OK, i accept that, and thats fine; as a result, i found the atmosphere to be quite good - lots more going on, the entertainment seemed to be enjoyed better etc. Buit thats no excuse in my opinion for the staff to let their hair down and lower their standards... Maybe this is just the way P&O operate, and I shouldnt be comparing to Princess (a far superior cruise operator in my opinion), but I found the following thing unacceptable: Despite multiple requests at all the bars we visited, not one of them could provide us with a cocktail menu or wine menu (except for the Peninsular Restaurant where a wine menu was provided). This is VERY poor in my opinion. The laundry service ruined my brand new shirt which i sent to be ironed. The shirt came back with 4 or 5 different crease lines down the sleeves (instead of one running all the way down). I complained to my room steward, who responded with a big smile and a chuckle!!!??? I then visited the reception desk to complain and after a phone call to someone, the receptionist told me they had refunded the laundry charge. There was no apology from anyone! Our room steward and the laundry person delivering our laundry both let themselves into our cabin unannounced whilst we were in it; once whilst i was in the middle of getting changed! Unacceptable in my opinion! The length of time it took to be served at the bars (even though they weren't busy) was also unacceptable. The bar staff seemingly ignored me in favour of doing other things! The formal evening dress code was not policed in the restaurants. My wife and I were dressed appropriately and in the middle of a quiet meal in the Glass House (think that's its name) when a group of people came in with T-shirts and jeans and sat next to us! The restaurant staff then told us to move our table away from them so that we weren't so close! We were not very impressed at all! You could probably argue that all of the above *must* have been one-off isolated incidents, but the attitude of all the staff was the same, and we quite often witnessed things which we said "you wouldn't see that on Princess". Lots of other finishing touch sort of details that were there on Princess were missing from P&O - tiny things which i would probably get slated for if i mentioned them on here, but to us, its the small finishing touches that differentiates between good and excellent. I would be very interested to hear from people who have cruised P&O and Princess to see what your thoughts are. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Im sorry for the delay in posting my review, Ive been busy and I wanted the time (do we have the time anymore to really sit down and choose our words carefully) to write a balance and well thought out critique of our experience on the last ... Read More
Im sorry for the delay in posting my review, Ive been busy and I wanted the time (do we have the time anymore to really sit down and choose our words carefully) to write a balance and well thought out critique of our experience on the last PO Cruise that we undertook, which was 20th February 2015 to the 6th March 2015. This is the 3rd time of cruising with PO and the 5th for my partner and I have to say each year the standard gets worse and worse. We tend to cruise around the Caribbean at the end of February / early March, and we normally cruise on the Azura. And after reading this years reviews (prior to our cruise) we were genuinely taken aback by some of the comments, about the staff, their attitude, the service etc. And now looking back after reflecting upon those comments, they were indeed extremely accurate. What has happened PO? Your staff are so miserable and surly. How are they being interviewed? “Right, who has the longest face? You’re in, you can start Monday.” Anyway, as for this year, we thought or I thought that we would try some of their gifts/vouchers that are advertised prior to the cruise. First up, I ordered the “Embarkment Package” as a surprise, so upon arrival in our cabin there should have been waiting for us: a bottle of Champagne, flowers and Chocolate Package. Disaster. We entered the room to find the flowers and nothing else. We couldn’t find anything else. Checked everywhere. Nothing. So I then had to tell my partner why I was searching the fridge and why I was heading to reception. Surprise ruined. Thanks PO. So I went to reception and asked what had happened to the champagne and chocolates. They rang the appropriate area, and told me the champagne was in the fridge, which it wasn’t as we checked when entering the room, (plus we were expecting 2 champagne flutes and for our champagne to be in an ice bucket chilling). We then returned to the room to find a warm bottle champagne now in our fridge, “Abra ka draba”, Champagne for you! I then called reception again and asked for some glasses. So we then had to wait for them to arrive and once they did, I then asked the waiter if we could have an ice bucket for the champagne......(so much for my surprise to my partner, totally ruined by PO incompetency). After achieving 2 things out of 3, I became quite cockey and thought, hmmmm, lets try my hand at finding out where are the chocolates; so I called up reception and inquired as to the chocolates and where were they?. After several calls backwards and forwards (reception had to call catering, catering back to reception, reception back to me) I was told you get the chocolates on your first sea day! “Why?” I asked. You just do. So much for 3 gifts awaiting for you upon your arrival into your cabin. This surprise was now a complete joke. Its not advertised that you get the chocolates on the first sea day, which for us was two days away!!! Second Package – the disastrous wine package. This gets worse.....this episode is something out of Fawlty towers. So you are given (we bought the 12 bottle wine package) 12 little cards, and you are told when you buy this package, The Captains collection package, that you save money, and you can have your wine delivered to your room, the restaurant, the glass house, where ever you are; sounds great doesn’t it? Sounds as though its hassle free (which is right up my boat), but during the booking of this package, you are made aware a bottle can take up to 10/15min before the wine is delivered to you; fair enough, I have no qualms with that. I thought, well they have at least made you aware. So the first time we tried to get a bottle of wine it took over 55 minutes. You see, what you aren’t told, is the porter has to go to a certain restaurant, find the wine manager or bar manager, he then opens up the wine area, collects your wine and bring it back to you. 55 minutes! We did (past tense) have plans while we waited in our cabin, and yes we did call between room service and reception to find out what was going on? And neither of them had a clue. At one point they couldn’t even locate our porter. Not one to throw in the towel easily, I thought ok, we’ll have another go at this, it cant be that hard, we have the vouchers, you have the wine, lets do this!!! So on the second day, we tried again, (mainly because after the first time of trying we were told that we were unfortunate due to the time of day we had placed the order, the wine manager was away and thats why it had been delayed so long. So this was our second attempt......order placed.....in room ready and waiting.......10 min passed, 20 minutes passed, 50 minutes passed,,,,,,our wine turned up this time, 1hr and 35 minutes later. We had waited, called, were given no explanation at all. So we left the bottle in the room and proceeded to go to reception, they apologised and now assured us that this wouldn’t happen again, and they had now ironed out a few difficulties, so all issues were resolved and we could use our vouchers anywhere including in the Glass House. So off we went to the Glass House and tried to order a bottle of wine from our selection that we were entitled too. The waitress in the glass house now informed me, that we weren’t allowed a bottle of wine from our selection because the restaurant where our wine was stored was closed. I couldn’t take this anymore. How hard is this? It couldn’t be that difficult. I had vouchers they had the wine, why couldn’t I just get a bottle of wine from PO. What is wrong with you guys?!?!??! When I ordered this package Southmapton staff in the office seemed to think it was straight forward, let me assure you its far from that. This was becoming a sketch from laurel and hardy, everywhere I looked total incompetency. I now returned to reception explained the latest rules in trying to get a bottle of wine....”I cant” , and said you can have your two bottle of wines back, we’ll just take a refund. We had ordered two, received two, but hadn’t opened any. The receptionist was fine with this, he came to our cabin, took our two bottle of wines back, and the refund did eventually return to my account. Third package: We paid for a framed formal night photo. Upon deciding what picture we wanted, we were told it would take 24 hours for it to be in a frame and ready for collection; so as good customers as we are, we turned up the next day on time to collect our picture, only to find someone else at the desk who informed us, “what picture?, no its not been ordered, it takes 24hrs. I interrupted, “yes we know it takes 24 hours thats why we are here, we've been told it will be ready now”. The gentleman made a few phone calls and found it hadn’t been ordered. He asked if we could give him an extra 30 min, which we obliged, returned to find our chosen picture framed. I also bought two PO White Robes, and they are lovely and definitely worth the purchase, though they do take some room up in your case. So please be aware. As a surprise I also ordered the breakfast and champagne in bed.....and this was excellent, I tried to order another ½ bottle of champagne and through the lack of their English, I ended up with another Breakfast Basket, we didn’t touch that bar the champagne ad placed the other basket into the corridor. Dinner with PO is not now silver service, its comes prepared on your plate and they deliver it to you, there's no more: would you like some more veg? Potatoes? anymore bread rolls? I know PO are trying to save cost, but these little things matter, its about the service, you cut back on that and you are left with nothing. Bar staff are so miserable, and the drinks they are producing are fair to poor in terms of the cocktails that are being met. If this one guy behind the bar smiled on the ship his face would crack. I’m meant to be on holiday and to look at him, was like an extra out of a horror movie!!! And finally PO, PLEASE PLEASE get away from these sail away parties, horrendous, its embarrassing , it’s the blue winse brigade, Rule Britannia, et et; I’m probably doing an injustice to Butlins here, but its what you’d associate with them in the early 70’s, not now, not 2015. You even have the entertainment team jumping around the ship trying to get people on their feet, and probably half the passengers have had hip replacements and just want to have a drink in the sun and a chat, and be left alone. It was by far the worse cruise I’ve ever been on with PO. Im loyal to PO, they are my ship, my company, but you need to up your game with service and smiling staff and your packages are just a joke. Do the PO team in Southampton know how bad they are in reality. On the phone they promise you this that and other, it will all be taken (cash from my credit card.....Im guessing) care off, we’ll have everything organised for you and your partner. What a lie. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
I write in here a lot as have done many cruises now. Just home today from our fifth p and o and disappointed at what we paid for. This cruise was aboard Aura around the fjords.The food has very much been downgraded. We are vegetarian, your ... Read More
I write in here a lot as have done many cruises now. Just home today from our fifth p and o and disappointed at what we paid for. This cruise was aboard Aura around the fjords.The food has very much been downgraded. We are vegetarian, your problem some might say but when a quarter of the country doesn't eat meat, you would expect better from p and o. One choice for main meals and not a quorn meal n sought except once in the buffet on the top floor. I regularly had a main course with two different sauces on the same plate. I also had pastry and rice together. Now, am no Gordon Ramsay but even I realise that some carbs don't match! They tell you to expect fine dining. Don't expect that. The food is fine but no better than a 3 star restaurant. The main meals in the meridian freedom dining were ok, usually 4 courses but portions small. My 15 yr old son had to go to the under I the top floor after. Really, is that supposed to happen? A little tip if you are going and have children. Drinks are extraordinaire. P and o pay 10p per litre for Pepsi. They a charge you £2.25 per glass. Ouch! Take a large bottle and use smaller ones to pour it into and catty around the boat. You will save a fortune. Wine wise, ,oat bottles were screw top and no more than £7-8 in asda. They were charging £18-20 for these. Again, take as much wine as you can get into your hand luggage. They don't stop you. We took 6 bottles of lidl champagne at a tenner a bottle and saved a packet. Cheapest on board was £33 for nothing special. I will tune in again tomorrow for more tips on saving your cash. Shame as p and o were getting it right cruise wise. Now I feel shareholders are wanting too much profit and that has got in the way. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
booked a three day cruise to try it out and absolutely loved every minute. Embark meant smooth, turned up at 12 instead of 2 and were on within 30 mins. Valet parking excellent. Beautiful ship, immaculate in all areas .. Who said it was ... Read More
booked a three day cruise to try it out and absolutely loved every minute. Embark meant smooth, turned up at 12 instead of 2 and were on within 30 mins. Valet parking excellent. Beautiful ship, immaculate in all areas .. Who said it was tired? No way. It's like a 6 star hotel in my opinion. Staff are friendly but remember some of them have just joined the ship and have little or no English, smile and say good morning and they respond. I think some are a little shy. Watched the take that and Freddie Mercury tributes .. Both good, tried the quiz .. Gd fun. Went into Guernsey on our own, did the Ypres trip which was brilliant. Aye in Sindhu .. Not to be missed and 17 .. Again excellent, crepe suzette cooked at the table. Loved planet bar and malabar. Bodies noisy as the stags n hens used that but that was fine, we weren't disturbed at all. Used spa for a couples massage very gd, big sell to get u to buy goods there .. We bought two items for £38 each only to see on our bill one was £112 so took that back for a refund. Black tie was on the sat and was lovely, strict dress code though, guy in jeans asked to leave bar. Most women really dressed up, few just wore summer long dresses but we're in minority. Had some gorgeous food aboard from lobster to crab to steak really well presented. Breakfasts we took in the served area, only used self serve restaurant once on arrival day for lunch. Had a balcony on b deck definitely a gd level as ur not overlooked. Can't wait to cruise again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Here I go writing another review in support of P & O. Having been on Azura once before and enjoying ourselves immensely, we were somewhat concerned at the less than cheery reviews of this ship and were worried we had made a big ... Read More
Here I go writing another review in support of P & O. Having been on Azura once before and enjoying ourselves immensely, we were somewhat concerned at the less than cheery reviews of this ship and were worried we had made a big mistake but yet again they were unfounded. This ship is NOT dirty, the staff are NOT rude and the food is NOT abysmal. I really really can't fathom out who these people are who are complaining of the filth etc. We are lucky enough to stay in a suite and I would say if there were issues, we, especially me, would find them, when you pay a considerable amount of money to holiday for a week, you expect the highest of standards and that is exactly what we found. The ship is immaculate throughout, not once did I so much as see a crumb on the floor and believe me, I went on there with my fine tooth comb and magnifying glass, every time I used the toilets, they were being cleaned and polished. So when I read that someone is complaining that there was some "dust on the panals" I have to laugh, is that really the best you can find to complain about? How very trivial, believe me future passengers, this ship is clean. Next the staff, I have never in my life come across a rude or surly one, nor do they stand in corners chatting to each other, as soon as they see you they are over to attend. One reviewer said "all they try to do is sell you drink constantly" then another review said "they ignore you" not sure, which one is it??? If you show them respect you will get it right back. I really do have to defend these people,they are a delight,well mannered and you do get such a laugh with them,once they know you.Only after two visits to the Glass House the waitress remembered our name,what a lovely touch. They are hard working men and women and yes,I'm sure they have off days but after nine months at sea without a day off,what do you expect,give them a break........please Next the food,I'm vegetarian and such a fussy so and so but not once did I find fault,although I would like to see more than just one option for veggies,my husband on the other hand enjoys his carnivorous ways and he said the food was fantastic,obviously not better than mine but he has to say that or I don't feed him when we get home : ) Again,I'm not sure who is doing the complaining,if it's fried egg and chips you like,then yes,maybe find a cruise line that caters for your taste,it's fine dining in the restaurants and that is most definitely what you get. The buffet was also in for some hammering by some and again,I can't understand why,the food is great by buffet standards and please remember they are catering for over 3000 passengers,not bad when you think about it.Great selection for lunch,not sure what other people eat at lunch times but there was certainly plenty for our taste,hot food and salad,rolls, hams,cheeses and desserts,was all fab.Bit scared to weigh myself though. So,if you are about to take a trip on Azura,please don't worry,we're such fussy whatsits and we loved it,would definitely go back on her,she's not as beautiful as Oceana but she is still a lovely ship,so go and have a fantastic holiday Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
I read the reviews before we went and I was a bit concerned as some seemed a bit harsh. We went with an open mind and it started well. Our balcony cabin was clean, comfortable bed and good shower. Our cabin attendant was lovely, always ... Read More
I read the reviews before we went and I was a bit concerned as some seemed a bit harsh. We went with an open mind and it started well. Our balcony cabin was clean, comfortable bed and good shower. Our cabin attendant was lovely, always smiling and hard working. Lots of fresh bedding and towels. Unfortunately our cabin couldn't have been further from the buffet restaurants we seemed to walk miles every day. I would suggest looking at this kind of thing when booking. Up and down in lifts and even after 2 weeks we were still getting lost. The sun loungers were squeezed along beside the pools and as there was no space at all between them it made it very difficult to get onto them and almost impossible to get off again.There was nowhere to put a bag or a drink. I felt the ship had two parts one for the chavs and the other for everyone else. Brodie's bar and the Casino and all together and when there are quizzes in Brodie's you struggle sometimes to play at the Casino and get a drink. Perhaps the Casino should be in a separate part altogether. I did feel the dance floor tiny and to be in the Atrium you were a bit like being in a goldfish bowl. The staff were all very friendly and pleasant and the food was good with plenty of choice. We enjoyed the ports of call but don't think we will be back on Azura as it wasn't what we were expecting Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Ship showing signs of age and lowered standards. In dining rooms lights not working and paint peeling on ceiling, stateroom carpet needed a good wet clean. However dining staff and room cleaners worked very hard, were obliging and ... Read More
Ship showing signs of age and lowered standards. In dining rooms lights not working and paint peeling on ceiling, stateroom carpet needed a good wet clean. However dining staff and room cleaners worked very hard, were obliging and pleasant. Food and entertainment generally good. Unfortunately, ship crew were short staffed and uncaring. Typical cost saving measures in Gibralta on 20th October 2015 proved how uncaring p & O had become. On this day rain was torrential all morning and my wife and I became drenched and very wet from flooded roads and returned to ship. Three gangways were in position but only one in use. Two x ray machines available on the one gangway but only one in use. This meant long queues (30 minutes plus) in torrential rain to get on board. No attempt to provide shelter and no hot drinks to welcome one on board (I shall stick to American ships in future). I imagine the crew had a good laugh at the poor customers waiting to get on board - no point in using other gangways as crew could get wet. However we did not let these declining standards spoil our holiday which we enjoyed. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
After reading all of the bad reviews about the Azura, we left for the holiday feeling very nervous. However, being first-time cruisers we had nothing to compare it with and found everything to be just great. The food was lovely, waiters ... Read More
After reading all of the bad reviews about the Azura, we left for the holiday feeling very nervous. However, being first-time cruisers we had nothing to compare it with and found everything to be just great. The food was lovely, waiters in the restaurants were very friendly and professional as were the stewards and rest of the staff. We found that if you speak to them, they will speak to you. Entertainment was good, although some of it was not our cup of tea, we always found things to do and enjoyed all of the sea days .The islands were fantastic. Only booked one excursion through P&O. It was much cheaper to use the local transport and it suited us better because we could get off the ship at a time to suit us and pick up an independent tour or a taxi to the beach. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Have just returned from our first ever cruise, Eastern Caribbean on P & O Azura. Everthing was perfect from cabin, to food, to entertainment, to staff. Flew on Thomson dreamliner to Barbados, had to wait a while for bags to arrive ... Read More
Have just returned from our first ever cruise, Eastern Caribbean on P & O Azura. Everthing was perfect from cabin, to food, to entertainment, to staff. Flew on Thomson dreamliner to Barbados, had to wait a while for bags to arrive on board but when there are 3000 odd passengers, hey what do you expect. Ate with freedom dining in Peninsular Restaurant, superb food, breakfast, lunch & dinner. Buffet was also acceptable and plentiful. Cabin on deck 10 with balcony. spacious and very quiet, was able to totally relax Entertainment varied and to all tastes. Also used well equipped gym Staff always pleasant and friendly Islands called at varied and interesting (but would like to avoid Martinique again), didn't seem like caribbean island, more south of France port town! Azura is large but at certain times and locations you felt alone, quite strange with 3000+ passengers, everything was clean, absolutely perfect, well done P & O Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
Booked this cruise as a birthday present for my patner. We flew with Thomas Cook although very happy with the flight out - the night flight home was terrible there was no chance of getting any rest far to noisy could even hear the air ... Read More
Booked this cruise as a birthday present for my patner. We flew with Thomas Cook although very happy with the flight out - the night flight home was terrible there was no chance of getting any rest far to noisy could even hear the air stewards talking, we upgraded to premier seating well worth the extra cost, plenty of drinks and food was amazing both ways. Our suitcases where taken of us at Manchester airport and we didnt see them till we got to our cabin, to hurry things along we asked if we could have our cases sooner than expected which our cabin steward sorted for us. We did a tour around the ship - was shown the retreat and was surprised at the cost of it (350 pounds per couple for two weeks) which I thought was a bit steap for just a sun lounger, there was a swimming pool which they informed us wasnt just exclusive for those in the retreat, we decided against paying the fee, we used the sunlongers just the other side of the gate, watched with interest people putting their hands over the gate to unlock it and just walk in - no one asking for any proof if they had paid or not. Also soon learnt that you could easily access the changing room in the spa where there was a sauna. We booked a few trips due to it being our first time in the caribean but soon learnt that you could quite easily get the same trips cheaper by disembarking at each port and paying for a taxi, due to there only being two of us the taxi companies would wait to fill the taxi to make it cheaper. The taxi drivers are very informative and they will return to pick you up when you want to go back to the ship. Gratituity - be careful with this, we were given an on board spend but when we checked our bill we discovered that it was going to be taken away from us to pay for gratituity until we went to reception and filled a form in at the reception desk so we didnt pay it - that way we were able to tip our room steward which is what we wanted. Disembarkment - you have to be out of your cabin at 8.00am which makes it a long day especially if your flight home is not till lunch time or even later - the one good thing they do for you is take your suitcases from you the night before but be careful because you dont see them again till you get back to Manchester - so be sure you take all you need until you get back to England. Which made it feel like a long time waiting no information was given to you about the days activities - it made you feel like they didnt care about you at the end of an amazing holiday, people sat around reading - there was a film shown at 11am but wouldnt of known this if my partner hadnt got a whats on guide. All the way through the holiday was asked if we wanted drinks but on the final day no one asked us. Summary of the holiday had a fabulous time, would definately go again with P&O. The ship lovely, entertainment suitable for all taste but be warned if you want to go to the playhouse to see a show go half an hour earlier,downside not enough seats in manhatten bar, plenty choice of food - suggest trying sindhu if you like indian food. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Holiday camp at sea.Azura. Thats just what our cruise on Azura was.There is supposed to be a dress code on P&O cruises on black tie nights,there were people walking through the atrium at 10oclock at night in sportswear shorts and ... Read More
Holiday camp at sea.Azura. Thats just what our cruise on Azura was.There is supposed to be a dress code on P&O cruises on black tie nights,there were people walking through the atrium at 10oclock at night in sportswear shorts and flip flops !!!.Asked reception about this,they said dress codes are for dining rooms.surely dress codes on a P&O ships is after 18.00hrs everywhere everyday. There were children running about the entertainment rooms all night long and around people's tables the parents just let them do as they wanted.The entertainment acts had to ask them to sit down,also they quoted to somebody on black tie night are they your formal denims!!! just what you would see at a holiday camp. The buffet was complete chaos,food all over the carpets,in the tea coffee area waiters just left the wet floor cones there when they cleaned up somebody just made another mess.We felt so sorry for the waiters having to deal with all this. So I'm afraid P&O Azura your score for this cruise is 1 out of 10. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Enjoyed this holiday a few months back now and wasn't going to bother writing a review but I would hate to think that people looked at some negative reviews and decided not to go on the brilliant Azura. Firstly,if you look at how ... Read More
Enjoyed this holiday a few months back now and wasn't going to bother writing a review but I would hate to think that people looked at some negative reviews and decided not to go on the brilliant Azura. Firstly,if you look at how many reviews there actually are,it's a tiny percentage of people who don't like this ship and I have to say,there are people who would complain about pretty much anything,If there are genuine complaints,I totally understand folk getting upset but one cruiser moaning that they turned up two hours before their allotted time and had to wait?????Er,well yes?You're given a time slot for a reason. The ship is NOT dirty,the food is NOT awful and the staff are NOT rude,it would be more than their jobs worth.The ship is constantly being cleaned and I've yet to see even a speck of dust anywhere.Yes,there may be some rust on the outside but why is this?Oh yes,it's a ship and it sails in what kind of water?Salty water,sorry,it's just that I can't understand why this would spoil someones holiday.Moaning for the sake of it. We choose a suite,so are lucky and have no complaints whatsoever,plenty storage,very comfortable bed and a huge bathroom and this cabin at the back of the ship has an amazing balcony,which we used all the time. Dining is second to none,waiters are so friendly and we always have such a laugh with them,In all the years we've been cruising,I don't think either of us have had a bad meal.The waiters are so efficient and I always had my seperate veggie menu delivered to me the evening before,truly wonderful food and my husband always enjoyed his,never once did he get something that was under or over cooked,always delicious.The buffet is also good and again,the people who complain about no variety?I do wonder what they eat at home,there is everything you could want and as it is for thousands of passengers,they do fantastically well.Hot and cold food,in my opinion,they cater for all tastes.My only complaint would be at sea days it is way too crowded for my liking so we opted for the glass house for lunch,it's quiet and the food is some of the best I've tasted and it's not expensive. The staff are brilliant and keep their cool with the most awkward of passengers,which we've witnessed first hand,show them a little respect and don't treat them like second rate human beings,this is also something we've witnessed.Never once have I seen them ignoring passengers,if anything they are too attentitive but that is not a complaint. Norway is a beautiful place to see and I would highly recommend it,always lovely ports,which you can usually step off the ship and go round the towns yourself but definitely go and see the glaciers,they are breath taking. Cruising may not be for everyone and that's fine but this is a lovely ship with great staff,food and cleanliness,so don't worry.We are both very fussy and would be the first to complain if there were any problems,so please have a wonderful holiday Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Booked this cruise last minute with my husband and was not disappointed. We went to the Norweigan Ffords and it was beautiful especially Gerainger the views of the mountains and waterfalls were stunning and our Captain turned the ship ... Read More
Booked this cruise last minute with my husband and was not disappointed. We went to the Norweigan Ffords and it was beautiful especially Gerainger the views of the mountains and waterfalls were stunning and our Captain turned the ship around so everyone on board could see the seven sister waterfall which was an amazing experience and truly well worth a visit. Azura is a beautiful ship and well maintained. We had an inside cabin on deck 11 and it was lovely and clean and very comfortable and must say our cabin steward Iniciao was fantastic and nothing was every too much trouble. We had our meal at a set time of 8.30 each evening and ate in the Oriental Restaurant which was fab. I am a coeliac and have to avoid gluten and I was taken very good care of by Zanthal who gave me the menu for the following evening so He could make sure everything was perfect with my meal for the day ahead. Our waiters Rally and Rupesh were superb so friendly and helpful. Breakfast and lunch were delicious too. I even had gluten free afternoon tea. honestly if you are a coeliac or have any other dietary needs a cruise is the best as they really look after you and adapt menus to suit. The shows and entertainment on board were great especially the group Accent they were fab the lead singer Victoria got everyone up singing and dancing so much fun. Everyone on the ship work so hard to make sure you have a great holiday and P and O definitely tick all the boxes for a great memorable holiday which we had so thank you all very much and we will definitely be going with you again. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
On reflection to a nice break from the normal grind of everyday life I fell our holiday was simply 'nice'. A Nice ship, nice food, nice people.... what was lacking was a WOW! Which is a shame,as in my head P&O was up there in ... Read More
On reflection to a nice break from the normal grind of everyday life I fell our holiday was simply 'nice'. A Nice ship, nice food, nice people.... what was lacking was a WOW! Which is a shame,as in my head P&O was up there in what i thought was high class service. Instead at times I felt like it was a ship for old people (arts & crafts, how to shift cellulite and Bridge matches were were some of the amazing choice of activity's I could attend during sea days) the entertainment shows with exception to Olly Murrs, Adel and jersey Boys tribute were a little naff and very Butlins and high use of click track (recorded backing tracks) .... even with a live band there was no punch..... they obviously feel the older clientele don't want to hear the orchestra played well with good bass. I also felt the shows were very amateur and made for somebody 60+ who wants to look back at their younger years and reminisce.... for example the one show was based around a 60s bank holiday. The cabin was dated even though the ship was only built in 2010, although kept clean and a very comfy bed. Here they could of created a wow with the towels or something, but they missed a opportunity. The public areas were nicely decorated.... just poor design in ship.... they seem to have wanted more cabins and less guest areas. the dining rooms were each big rooms.... but unlike some other ships who wow you with a 3 floor dining room, i felt like i was simply there to eat and not be entertained. Also disappointed there were no LGBT meet or greet on this cruise. On previous cruises we have been able to meet new friends. A pleasant trip to Amsterdam and a great to meet other people, but the ship itself was a true let down. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Our 3rd cruise with 3 different cruise lines and it has to be said that the food and service was below standard, especially the waiter service in restaurants, making it the least desirable cruise we have been on. Not sure I will cruise ... Read More
Our 3rd cruise with 3 different cruise lines and it has to be said that the food and service was below standard, especially the waiter service in restaurants, making it the least desirable cruise we have been on. Not sure I will cruise with P & O again!! If you are employed to be a waiter, why don't you know how to wait on a table? Very poor service throughout the cruise, except for the odd one or two evenings/waiters. The food was average, some dishes were served barely warm, not great. Wine waiters had no idea about wine, let alone how to pour wine. Head waiters didn't seem to care, not interested in putting things right. The entertainment was very good, catering for all tastes. Roy Walker was superb, Rietta Austin was amazing, Victoria and Accent were energetic to the end, and a joy to behold. Some of the top deck entertainment was a little loud and tiring, bordering on school playground, which needs tailoring to the clientele a little more. The gala evenings were a big disappointment. Not much happening anywhere on the ship, following on from great performances in the theatre, it all felt a bit of a high became a crashing low!!! In summary. Sort the quality of the food. Throw the waiter staff overboard and replace with waiters who know how to wait on tables, know how to smile and know how to engage with customers. Until then, I think I would avoid P & O. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
It was the first cruise I had been on in around 10 years, having always traveled previously with Royal Caribbean. My partner and I were recommended to try P&O by a friend, who suggested they catered far better for the British market. ... Read More
It was the first cruise I had been on in around 10 years, having always traveled previously with Royal Caribbean. My partner and I were recommended to try P&O by a friend, who suggested they catered far better for the British market. It was 100% sound advice. There were minimal sea days, loads of interesting excursions to choose from, and the on board entertainment was brilliant. The ship is known as the friendly ship - and from the moment you step on board, you can see why. Superb, attentive staff - nothing was too much trouble, and any requests were dealt with efficiently and always with a smile. We paid for premium flights, which were definitely worth the extra money - more leg room, great food, and priority transfers to the ship, which meant we were on board with virtually no queue. Our cabin was a balcony on the Port side, which meant we could enjoy the view at the various destinations, and it also provided us with a nice area from which to have pre-dinner drinks. Once on board, we realised that the late dining option which we had booked didn't really suit us, but they agreed to let us change to the early sitting as soon as we asked. Many people prefer freedom dining, but we really enjoyed having the same table each evening, and building up a rapport with our table waiters. The on-board Headliners theatre company were amazing! We saw every show that they did (5 in total) - and for them to put on such varied performances to such a high level was amazing. A new show was also launched whilst we were on board, which featured Avatar and more modern classics. It was brilliant! The guest artists were brilliant too - we enjoyed the UB40 tribute act, a Tina Turner tribute, The Beatles and stand up comedian Lloyd Davies... Impressionist Mark Walker packed out the on-board theatre for all his performances, and was hilarious! I was worried when reading some of the reviews on here prior to sailing that I would be disappointed - that was certainly not the case. It was an amazing holiday from start to finish, and I would recommend the itinerary and ship to anyone else without hesitation. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our second P&O cruise, the first being a four day mini-cruise which failed to meet nearly all of our expectations. So it was with some trepidation that we booked a two week Caribbean cruise (Dec 2016). Flights were with ... Read More
This was our second P&O cruise, the first being a four day mini-cruise which failed to meet nearly all of our expectations. So it was with some trepidation that we booked a two week Caribbean cruise (Dec 2016). Flights were with Thompsons and I have to say the Dreamliner trip out from Birmingham was excellent. What was even better was that our cases, taken at Birmingham Airport, were to be delivered to our cabin on the Azura in Barbados. Didn't even need to pass through customs - just off the plane and onto the (rather dilapidated) coach. Azura has had an update fairly recently and it was in pretty good shape - no complaints there. We had been upgraded so our balcony was bigger than expected and being midships we were to have a comfortable passage. One surprise was having two chairs on the balcony but only one footstool - despite there being plenty of room for two. We were told that only the more expensive cabins had two footstools which we found to be needless penny-pinching. Food in the buffets and restaurants was good - if not exceptional. Service in the restaurants was variable - some teams were excellent others were slow and lacking in warmth. The bars were OK although on the first night we failed to get any service at all when we went to the Glass House bar and so didn't go back there. The Blue Bar was OK but being served nibbles in a very grubby glass did not endear us to the place. By far the best bar was the Planet. Fantastic service and terrific ambience - we especially enjoyed the HD screens showing clips from around the World. Staff around the ship were generally pretty good although some did seem to be disengaged from the passengers. On one occasion I had to stop and step aside from one crew member who was so busy talking to a female colleague that he walked into me stepping heavily on my foot and barely acknowledged the incident. The steward though was first class. The entertainment was mixed. Some of the guest entertainers were very good whilst the in-house 'Headliners' were, in our view, very poor and we avoided their shows. Costs on board were pretty good especially compared to some of the other cruise lines that we have used. Very disappointed with the shore excursions although we much enjoyed the 'snorkel with turtles' trip. Otherwise the trips were expensive and generally of poor value although arrangements for joining the trips were well organised. Two big complaints here however. On two of the trips we were carried on local open sided buses which were really just seats and a body mounted onto a flat-bed truck. On one of them seat belts had been bolted to very flimsy seats welded to the floor. In an accident all the seats would collapse, furthermore, there were sharp exposed metal fixings which would cause serious injury in even a minor shunt. The second of these buses had no seat belts at all. Secondly, on one of the trips we were asked to sign a form given to us by the tour company. It asked passengers to join the trip on the understanding that it was at their own risk and that the company could not be sued even in the event of injury caused by their negligence. I refused to sign this and was told by the P&O representative on shore that this was common practice in the Caribbean because of the' litigious Americans'. She went on to add that we were all covered anyway by P&O. When I later looked at P&O T&C it is made clear that 'P&O Cruises will not in any circumstances have a greater liability than the excursion supplier and P&O Cruises shall not be responsible for the negligent act/omissions of the excursion provider.' We pulled out of the trip and were refunded by P&O - but we are left very concerned about the whole issue of P&O's attention to the safety and well being of its passengers. We were also very disappointed that at two of our destinations we were unable to get ashore - supposedly because of high winds. Worse still these were especially important destinations for us. Now I am not entirely sure that bad weather was the only reason, especially at Grand Cayman where there were four or five ships taking people ashore. We were told that we had been allocated space to 'hold on engines only' whereas the others could anchor and that this made a difference to tender safety. I fear that we were not told the full truth of the matter. Although the missed stops allowed us more time in New Orleans at the end of the cruise we still felt cheated. Organisation at the Catalina Island was very efficient. Prompt tendering, great barbeque and bar service made for a very enjoyable day. The journey home was well organised. Cases taken from our cabins and arrived with us at Birmingham. P&O seem to arrange these things really well. I have to say though that the return flight (not on a Dreamliner) was fairly poor. Cabin service to economy passengers was quite negligent and the food was probably the worst I have ever experienced. That says a lot. On the whole though we had an enjoyable holiday and we would travel P&O again - if not as our first choice cruise line. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Recently arrived back from Azura cruise 21 Jan-4 Feb 17. The cruise was generally fine but there is much that can be improved. The 65% reviewers approval rating is a fair assessment. We had a bad start to our holiday on the flight to ... Read More
Recently arrived back from Azura cruise 21 Jan-4 Feb 17. The cruise was generally fine but there is much that can be improved. The 65% reviewers approval rating is a fair assessment. We had a bad start to our holiday on the flight to Barbados. We paid a lot extra to be upgraded to Premium Economy which is not value for money. The Premium cabin is no different from the Economy cabin apart from a curtain to divide the two. A couple of free drinks does not compensate for the extra money paid. Legroom, seats, food etc is the same AND many of the TVs did not work for the flight duration. The cruise itinerary was fine but we could have done without Amber Cove which is not much more than a Carnival play park. The entertainment on board is below average. Using individuals from the on board team will only work if the individuals are good enough. An exception was Paul Rudd? the lead guitarist from Jet Set (the ships' resident band) who was very good. The food at breakfast/lunch was fine although the servery was a bit of a scrum.Food at dinner was, in my opinion, not up to standard. The chef seems to think that the British only eat warmish British food and bases his menus on this. Try other food, we can take it! The gym is very good. The variety of classes needs to be looked at. It was noted that classes that demanded a fee were a bit thin on the ground towards the end of the cruise. My wife liked the line dancing but not in the Atrium! A lot of other guests turned up there just to watch which made some participants who were still learning routines a little embarrassed. Other ships use the theatre. Trips organised by the ship are very expensive. Many passengers used the local taxi/mini buses which are not as comfortable but half the price. They all go to the same places! Drinks in the bars are not cheap. Spirit measures are minute! Buy a "double" to get more than one sip, that will cost around £8.00! BUT the wine list, quality and prices in the restaurants was very good. Well done. I had a stomach bug for 48 hours which was reported to the emergency number as instructed. I was told that I would get a call from one of the medical team ASAP but never did. I chased it up later and was told that the call receiver had written down the wrong cabin number so I could not be found. I can guarantee that no other person on the ship had the same surname as me so finding me should not have been a problem. This has to be sorted. Tips, as on other cruise ships are automatically taken from individual on board accounts. This practice should be stopped. I am still convinced that it is not legal. The weather was not great. Rained for a short time most days but still very warm. Lots of moaning here but all in all the cruise was mostly enjoyable. Well, we were on holiday! Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We cruised for the 1st time on Azura last year ( canaries) and loved every second so we were confident on booking with P&O and Azura again this time. Flight from Birmingham supposed to be a Dreamliner but wasn't . They tried ... Read More
We cruised for the 1st time on Azura last year ( canaries) and loved every second so we were confident on booking with P&O and Azura again this time. Flight from Birmingham supposed to be a Dreamliner but wasn't . They tried hard to compensate but it was not great. Transfers. To ship excellent, quick and efficient. Embarkation swift. Felt like coming home, Balcony cabin ready as soon as we arrived, clean and comfortable, complimentary water and tea and coffee . All great. Phew! But then we realised the Bon voyage package we booked hadn't been deliverd fully.....the champagne was there as were the flowers but no bathrobes or vouchers for spa or champagne breakfast or photoshop. the spa package also hadn't been delivered then we realised the mini bar wasn't fully stocked ( as in items hadnt been replaced from the last occupants usage) worse to come the air con wasn't working and the sink was blocked!! A quick and meaningful telephone call to reception had the maintance crew, the cabin steward and the spa manager rectifying their mistakes. (TIP: If anything is wrong get right on it, don't leave it to the end to complain, staff are always willing to help but you must not be backwards at coming forwards, a polite but firm insistence that you want something fixed right almost away always yield results!) You never know with your cabin steward how good they will be and they really can help make or break your holiday experience, Our last cabin steward was excellent and we never ever, not once had to ask him to redo anything he never forgot anything our cabin was always ready and clean when we needed it as he asked on the first day what we liked and he was always discreet. This time our steward was terrible! So unorganised and her standards of clean were NOT ours. Our cabin was often not ready when we returned during the day after excursions and even once when we came back from our evening meal 10.30pm!! (0/10). We often had stained of damaged 'new' towels hung up, but they were always changed when asked ( point is we shouldn't have had to) Once again we had freedom dining which we loved. All food was excellent, except The Glass House ( tough steak, cold food and snail pace service) and sadly this visit to the Epicuran ( still the same menu as last year) the food was poor, and luke warm, the staff were as bored serving it as we were eating it. We cancelled the pre booked second visit. However by comparison The Beach House was EXCELLENT. Food wonderful and varied, The staff were happy and the restaurant manager ran a very happy and efficient eating venue. We had excellent meals in the meridian and Peninsular main restaurants too. The buffet were all good if you managed to avoid busy the periods. The entertainment was very hit and miss, the sail aways were appalling, shrieking British compares, music more fitting to a kareoke pub.... fat somebody's vindaloo song... really painful. Get a grip P& O. There were some great acts and a very funny comedian but the 'entertainment' team by the pool were an embarrassment. ( except Accent the Caribbean vocal act, they were excellent) Sadly you coud not avoid the entertainment team even on our balcony you could hear their patronising comparing as they had their mikes up full. Hiring young adults to entertain 40-80 year olds is a daft idea, what do they have in common....very very little. Also, showing football matches on the sky screen was truly dispiriting. ( nothing against football, and why not show it in Brodie's a sports bar, rather than subject the entire mid ship to the noise). Excursions were great and good value for money we did 3 catermaran trips all excellent. All the others we did our own thing as taxis both car and boats, were cheap and plentiful. Oasis Spa Total, utter, shambles, the management of the spa on Azura are APPALLING. The girls and the treatments they give are exceptional, still too pricey but good, and thank goodness they are less pushy with the hard sell of aftercare products these days. We booked a spa package for both of us, we were so disappointed as stated previously the spa bathrobes were not delivered, the spa promice to contact you to before you cruise so you can prebook your treatments and retreat days never happend. Having to QUE in a line like school children to be given your bands to enter the retreat was an insult how hard an it Be to organise different colour bands for different days to be given to clients at the start of the cruise or another colour for those who have booked passes for the entire cruise? I use the spa a lot and love having the treatments but the billing is AWAYS wrong. P&O need to have a long hard look at the company they outsource the spa to. Standards are slipping very badly. I love cruising, I love Azura she is a beautiful ship, I love the wonder of opening the curtains each morning and being in a new place, I love being so well looked after, I love sea days and the formal nights. P&O are good value for money but I am becoming less enchanted with the mixed standards on the ship, it sounds awful and very snobby but there are more and more passengers these days who's manners, decorum and general politeness leave ALOT to be desired. In conclusion would I book with P&O again, maybe.but I'll be watching the reviews very closely. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was our fourth Caribbean Cruise with P& O over the past six years and our second time on Azura. We were not intending to go this year as we are already booked on Azura in Jan 2018, with a group of friends. I saw a late deal and we ... Read More
This was our fourth Caribbean Cruise with P& O over the past six years and our second time on Azura. We were not intending to go this year as we are already booked on Azura in Jan 2018, with a group of friends. I saw a late deal and we decided to go for it and absolutely no regrets. We have previously sailed on Ventura and Britannia in the Caribbean and both enjoyable. We have always booked a balcony, but on this occasion the deal was for an inside cabin which would be a new experience for us. We flew from Manchester on the Dreamliner and had a very good flight both there and back. The embarkation at Barbados went of very smoothly and we were quickly on the ship. We proceeded to our cabin which was in a good location on B deck, near the forward lifts. We were very pleasantly surprised with our cabin, it was very clean and tidy, yes it was small in comparison to the balcony cabins, but in reality we don't send much time in the cabin, Our cabin steward Dency introduced himself and could not do enough for us, he was friendly, efficient and always had a smile on his face, nothing was too much trouble for him. This high level of service from Dency continued throughout the cruise. We walked around the ship on the first day and in general found it to be in a good condition considering the amount of sailings it undertakes. We had no complaint in this department. We were on Freedom dining, which we had requested which suits our style of holiday and we found the service and food to be of a good standard for the amount of people passing through on a nightly basis, compared to previous cruises on P&O. We tried the speciality restaurants, Sindhu, Epicurean, The Glass House and The Beach House. In all cases the food and service was excellent and in our opinion worth the additional cost apart from the Valentines Night meal in Epicurean, the cover charge was excessive albeit the meal was very nice. it appeared P&O were up to their old tricks of taking advantage of an occasion for additional profit. Usually before dinner we would go to the Planet Bar for a drink and met a very friendly and helpful bartender called Simpson, from the first night to the last he always made us feel welcome and would start serving preparing our drinks as we walked in. I have to say that throughout our cruise all the staff we encountered were smiling, friendly, and helpful even more than other P& O ships we have been on. This really did make the cruise. There is no doubt in our opinion that the Azura is a happy ship and this was reflected in the atmosphere around the ship. In relation to the entertainment, Jimmy James was up to his usual high standard and highly enjoyable, We3 were excellent. Both acts performing in the main theatre. The Freddie Mercury and Elton John tribute acts were good but have seen better performances by other tribute acts on previous cruises. Again in the main the entertainment was good. The activities on sea days are not our scene and we had no problems finding a sun beds at the front of the ship, spending the day relaxing. We booked three excursions, the river tubing in Jamaica which was great fun and well worth the experience. On St Lucia we booked the catamaran trip to the Pitons again another great trip and well worth doing. On our final port of call at Dominica, we booked the Rib Experience Adventure, with a snorkelling experience over Champagne Reef, unfortunately the sea was a running a bit rough near the coast and we had to forgo this experience, but still managed to snorkel further along the island. Again another enjoyable trip well worth experiencing. We have previously been to ports on this cruise, but being the Caribbean we enjoyed them all and explored new locations within the island. Tortola is our favourite, St Maarten is a good island to explore and this time we decided to go to Orient Beach for a change, magnificent, one of the best beaches we have been to, tried the Kon-Tiki bar, hired sun beds and enjoy some food and drink, excellent and highly recommended. Sorry if I have gone on a bit but this really was an excellent and enjoyable cruise, which exceeded our expectation.There was only my wife and I this time as we normally have a group of friends join us but it was nice to enjoy our own company. I appreciated this a personal opinion and other people may have had different experiences but for us this an excellent cruise and full credit to P&O and the staff of Azura for making it so. 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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