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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We have just returned from a 12 day cruise on Azura to Canary Islands from Southampton and wish to share our experience of a first cruise with P and O, after having sailed with Princess each year since 2016. The contrast between the two ... Read More
We have just returned from a 12 day cruise on Azura to Canary Islands from Southampton and wish to share our experience of a first cruise with P and O, after having sailed with Princess each year since 2016. The contrast between the two companies is frankly alarming despite there being no difference in the prices we have paid, like for like. We have stayed on Lido deck forward on three occasions; twice in an outside partially obstructedand once in balcony and up until now and despite some rough seas off Cadiz, have not been unduly bothered by that location. This time we stayed in L101, which I will comment on shortly. We have also stayed on deck 12 on Crown Princess at the rear but the vibration from below was terrible. Embarkation was excellent and we were able to gain access to our room quite early, but once on deck it was apparent that all was not good. As we passed through the automatic doors from the outside deck to our corridor we were greeted with a tatty, very worn carpet which didn’t improve much all the way to our cabin at the end. There were also numerous scrapes on the walls. First impressions were bad and didn’t get better in the cabin which also had a worn grubby carpet but worst of all a horrible configuration with the bed back against the window leaving about a foot all around to maneuver. We had to move the table under the clothes rack and were unable to use it. Annoyingly the rooms either side had the bed against the side-wall and far more space all round. The TV was a joke, Not only tiny, but positioned on a shelf high above the coffee making area which made it impossible to view unless you were standing up. That didn’t really matter because there was no signal for TV for most of the cruise (and even in Southampton), and the film choices were terrible. The maps for showing the position of the ship looked as if they had been drawn by a 5 year old. The young girl steward, Misty worked tirelessly keeping our cabin clean and neat given the poor state it was in and was the only person on the ship we found worthy of a tip. We went to the buffet where we found the hot food was the same temperature as the cold stuff. It resembled what you would expect to see in a works canteen. I had a stone cold curry and rice. We thought this might be just a changeover day problem but it was the same the next day. In fact lunch was pretty well the same every day, often cold, repetitive and bland. Having enjoyed some great sail aways from Southampton on Princess we were expecting something similar but this one was totally dead with little effort from our entertainment team and bar staff who looked as if they had just heard gratuities were being removed next month. In fact far from being the friendly, attentive, happy people, mostly from the Philippines, we had experienced on other cruises, this bunch were in many cases morose or doing their best to pretend we weren’t there. In fact for the entire cruise we found many staff to be indifferent. At the front desk, staff often chatted to each other or looked at computers rather than acknowledge us. I lost my glasses and reported that to the desk along with a detailed description of case etc and this was noted down with a promise to inform me if found. A few days later I called at desk and identified them. Nobody had bothered to check or inform me. Why would they when they can’t even be bothered to acknowledge a guest standing waiting in front of them? Who trains these people in such basic customer skills? I now turn my attention to various areas of the ship in the vain hope that somebody might actually take note of my observations. The buffet at breakfast was probably the worst aspect of the cruise. The scramble for tables was horrendous with guests reserving tables with various discarded items such as handbags or coats and even books. Once secured those guests would often remain there chatting over numerous cups of tea regardless of the poor souls trying to find somewhere to eat. Staff struggled to clear tables and the jostling for food was really annoying. Staff looked particularly irritated if asked to make poached eggs, omelets or pancakes. What was also annoying was the closing of one side of the buffet, which had the effect of compressing the already large volumes of people into less space. Trying to get a table that wasn’t occupied or reserved (people like to occupy outside seats or diagonally opposed or even place bags on unoccupied seats to discourage/prevent others from sitting down, such is their selfishness) was difficult bordering on impossible. Welcome to the 2 star holiday camp. This was also apparent in some bars and the theatre where you had to arrive 30 minutes early or risk not getting a seat or being split up courtesy of everyone leaving one spare seat next to them. The bars all had their own character. The Planet bar on the18th level was like a care home. Where Princess have skywalkers disco with late night dancing, a happy hour and a place for those still willing and able to enjoy a decent club atmosphere, P and O had Beth and James, A piano and guitar duo you could get a good nights sleep listening to. What a waste of a great venue that actually looked good. The Atrium was a massive disappointment as it was not only compact but devoted almost entirely for the whole cruise to ballroom dancing where the same usual suspects were in attendance showing off nightly. The so called Brodies bar which also housed the casino had the best choice of drinks but often the worse choice of entertainment and guests. If this is P and O’s impression of a British pub they need to get ashore more often. Most of the quizzes were held there along with bowling on the Nintendo Wii, bingo, darts and live football (satellite reception permitting). This was where Benidorm meets Jeremy Kyle and having to listen to one large family singing loud Liverpool football chants was definitely a low point. Incidentally the quizzes of which I attended a few were decidedly hit and miss with themes such as breeds of dogs, for gods sake or fish. The prize for such huge efforts was laughable. You could win a gold star (great if you are in primary school, but not particularly exciting if you were much older but sadly the P and O faithful embraced the idea. I accumulated a couple of the coveted stars and after great difficulty, managed to locate a prize redemption area at the end of the cruise. The prizes actually weren’t bad but it would have been so much easier just to give a prize to the winner at the time. The Glass house was another rest home for the elderly enjoying crosswords, sudoko or a nap. The Blue bar at the Atrium was popular for pre dinner drinks but just ok. The Malabar looked smart with fancy red lighting and Palm trees outside but on approach absolutely stank of sewage. The smell was disgusting and it never subsided. Some people commented on it, some ignored it, and some didn’t seem to notice, such was the diversity of clientele. It had nightly music, usually the resident group, Authorised or Pulse who popped up all over the ship for sail aways or filling in. I can honestly say that whoever is booking these bands either never heard them or needs a hearing aid. The girl singers were terrible and managed to either murder songs or sing them in a way that made even the most popular and well-known song sounded unidentifiable. The other main bar was called Manhatten and was used as a secondary venue for shows which were mostly Tribute acts or comedians. Head and shoulders above the rest was Jeff Dingle as Bruno Mars who really rocked, closely followed by an Adele act and the inevitable Beatles. The Bootleg Beatles are still the bench mark but this band did a fair job whilst actually looking nothing like them. What was really annoying in Manhatten however was the family that sat boozing whilst their two young daughters ran around the bar for hours annoying other guests until midnight. Staff as usual did nothing as they did when same girls were running around the pool ‘bombing’ earlier. On a plus note, and there aren’t many, the Headliners shows were good and clearly a lot of effort had gone into them and the guest speaker Stephen King commanded huge audiences with his insights on the music industry. With regard to one of the more important aspects of cruising, we were on freedom dining which is supposed to mean that you were free to dine anytime between 6pm and 9:30pm. Sadly this was not the case. It did not take me long to figure out that they we working a ‘sitting’ operation. At 5:30 a queue started forming, that was 60 strong at 6pm opening time. Many guests were opting to dine table for 2 and were accommodated. Once full, buzzers were given out and you would think they would be called in as tables became vacant. Not so. We witnessed whole lines of tables empty and not being filled. Eventually when all tables were empty buzzers were going off all over the place and in came sitting number 2. Finally around 8.30, in came sitting 3. We noticed a keenness to move us swiftly through courses on sitting 1. On sitting 2 staff became a little overwhelmed and waits between courses extended. As sitting 3 progressed they began clearing up vigorously. Menus in restaurants looked impressive but the reality was not always so good. Some meals were good, notably slow cooked lamb shanks, but then that’s not rocket science. Starters were small and often basic and bland. Deserts were also just okay with watery custard and rather tasteless or ice cream. Some staff made the effort whilst others just looked bored. Front of house seemed much happier. I walked around the ship one day to see what was on offer. The sports deck was an absolute disgrace. There was a large open deck area covered in green matting completely unused. No putting green or bowls here. Two members of staff were playing basketball and the golf net was just a small, tented area and a bag of clubs fit for the bin. The whole area was an absolute disgrace, totally neglected and abandoned. Deck 16 housed Breakers bar, an area almost totally given over to smokers. Down on 15 smokers were again occupying one side of the deck next to the pool. They had slowly on a daily basis been able to extend even further along the deck and when you were going to and from the buffet you had to pass through a wall of smoke. Congratulations to who ever came up with this positioning. The one table tennis table was squeezed into the other corner outside the buffet area. Clearly P and O put greater emphasis on accommodating smokers than people who wish to engage in sporting activities. I have reserved a few final comments for the cruise director and staff. Again on previous cruises with Princess we knew and recognized him and his staff who connected with passengers and seemed to always be around. I’m afraid I found Chris to be conspicuous by his absence and I would fail to pick him out in a line up. His merry men (and girls) were equally grey and seemed to only pop up briefly for quizzes before fading away into anonyimity. Their stupid holiday camp style dancing on deck sailaways left me cringing. This might be Butlins or Haven but it sure wasn’t expected on what I thought was going to be an upmarket holiday. P and O are clearly targeting the mass market in order to fill cabins. There was one other trauma that deserves a mention and also was the pivotal point in my deciding never to book P and O again. One evening we identified a few things to see. One was billed as an Elvis show. What transpired was possibly the stupidest and most pathetic rubbish I have ever seen. Unbeknown to us ‘Elvis’ was not a tribute act but cruise director Chis dressed in a silly costume and making stupid noises. He asked if there were any Elvis fans present, to which there were a few affirmatives including an elderly Welsh couple seated next to us. He then proceeded to make silly wheezing noises and stupid mimicry of Elvis which clearly offended said couple who promptly stood up and walked out. I personally am not an Elvis fan but I felt sorry for them and we did likewise. This man acting the fool on stage was being encouraged by quite a few of the crowd who would definitely not be candidates for Mensa and reinforced my feeling I was on the wrong ship. Fortunately we were able to make it to Manhatten for the Adele tribute singer who actually had some talent. In summary we had a highly disappointing holiday on a tatty ship, with average food and entertainment, constant queuing and a firm conviction that Brits will often accept this. If this had been full of Americans or even Germans, staff would have been overwhelmed with complaints because they expect and demand better standards and get them. Would P and O be our first choice when booking another cruise? Not likely if this one is anything to go by. We will just have to pay more for Celebrity or find a Princess ship going out from Southampton. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Nice to enjoy warmer weather, although mixed sun and cloud. Surprised how many children were on board in term time. All were well behaved, but some of the Dads made nuisances of themselves, jumping and bombing into the swimming pools ... Read More
Nice to enjoy warmer weather, although mixed sun and cloud. Surprised how many children were on board in term time. All were well behaved, but some of the Dads made nuisances of themselves, jumping and bombing into the swimming pools and frightening toddlers. Lunchtime Buffet service rather limited. Shellfish never varied, shrimps in cocktail sauce and mussles every single day. Volume in the playhouse far too loud. I actually saw two people wearing noise cancelling headphones. Rather a lot of ‘we need to keep you entertained’. Activities and a great mant quizzes. Excellent Captain’s Welcome aboard evening.. a great pity that some passengers are rude enough to carry on conversations whilst the captain is speaking. Most people dressed appropriately in the evenings but some did not and no action was taken by the crew. As usual, the crew were friendly and hugely polite. A pity some passengers do not give the crew the same respect. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was a seven day Southampton to Southampton cruise, Embarkation was quite quick and efficient. We were soon on the ship but it did seem to take a while for the cases to come, but it is a big ship with a lot of passengers so it was only ... Read More
This was a seven day Southampton to Southampton cruise, Embarkation was quite quick and efficient. We were soon on the ship but it did seem to take a while for the cases to come, but it is a big ship with a lot of passengers so it was only to be expected. The ship didn't feel very full, there were a lot of spaces in the MDR and the theatre was never full. The cabin was a good size with a good size balcony, we have been on Azura and Ventura before so knew what to expect. The food in the MDR and Buffet was good and the service in the MDR was excellent. Theatre shows were good and well performed as were the shows in the Bars. It is just a shame that P&O insist that all Brits want to have quizzes during the evening that disrupt the flow of musicians. Dis-embarking was very quick, we chose to take our own cases off and this worked very well. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Where to start... Embarkation smooth.Cabin an inside, bog standard but clean and tidy so no issues there.The cabin steward was friendly and tried to sell us water and the mini bar as soon as we got in our cabin.So before muster off to ... Read More
Where to start... Embarkation smooth.Cabin an inside, bog standard but clean and tidy so no issues there.The cabin steward was friendly and tried to sell us water and the mini bar as soon as we got in our cabin.So before muster off to Malibar for a drink,we sat down,3 guys at the bar necking shots at 3.30 in the afternoon swearing like troopers!Not a single member of staff said a word,waiter took our order,30 minutes later our drinks arrived!! So we had to drink them sharpish....off to muster,sailaway indoors because of inclement weather,No problem with that you'd think, you'd be wrong,15 minutes for waiter to arrive,then another 30 minutes for drinks to arrive! Groundhog Day!! And so it goes.. Off to dinner, peninsula restaurant,service efficient if impersonal,wine waiter efficient,food standard,well pretty rubbish... I've cruised with P@O 12 times,last cruise was 4 years ago but boy have they destroyed in that time the quality of the food and choice...seared tuna starter with noodles,3 pieces of translucent tuna,so thin it must have been sliced with a razor blade, overcooked and cold,main,king prawns on stale ciabbata....prawns ok.dessert average, they've removed the always available range....cheese board,a joke, choice of 3 distinctly rubbish cheap cheeses...No stilton.....So all in all not good...Continual sales pitch about the pay restaurants etc....Room service was always included in your fare,not anymore! They now have a tray charge of 7 pounds per person for room service!!!! 14 quid for 2, utterly disgraceful ,I cannot believe they actually justify this way of basically ripping off passengers for every conceivable penny they can get away with, evening entertainment distinctly average,and the first time I've cruised where they've had bouncers on the ship in case of drunken trouble,this is a family ship by the way!! P@O have a responsible drinking policy so that passengers are not troubled by other passengers...This policy obviously doesn't include 2 night cruises or Azura for the ship was quite happy to continue serving people who were clearly very very drunk!! Abusive language abounded...it was no different at all to midnight in your local city's centre....Not a single officer of rank was to be seen anywhere...Public toilets were disgraceful,flooded and stank... Time in port was ok,usual trip into town and did our own thing.Gala dress up night,food in restaurant was anything but special...Marco Pierre white menu,well if he's happy to put his name to that he's obviously skint! Beef wellington...this consisted of tough beef in raw pastry,the pastry was soggy and inedible,the starter consisted of a piece of translucent salmon,I know there's a theme here! With half a quails egg... Wow, not! And the same behaviour as the night before in the lounges and Manhattan's...Removed our tips because of the utter garbage cruise...had to fill a form as to why...it wasn't big enough,P@O charge a tip of 14 pounds per passenger per day!! So a 2 week cruise will cost you an Extra 300 odd quid on top of your holiday fare and bar bill,if you manage to get a drink in 2 weeks and on top of your 14 quid per time if you want someone to walk up to your cabin with a plate of rubbish cheap processed food from the self service restaurant! Which I hasten to add had run out of beans and toast by 0830 this morning......I used to love P@O... but the innuendo it's a luxury great experience is well frankly about as short as pinnochios nose!!! If you want to go back to the days of the 80s drink filled booze cruise on a ferry then P@O Azura will fit your bill perfectly,if you want even half decent service, edible food,good entertainment,and a decent holiday experience without being robbed blind then book a trip with another cruise line.. .It really was that bad.... Sorry P@O... you've lost me after 20 years,I'm sure your not bothered though... Don't waste your hard earned money folks.... I've never been happier to be home. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation was great, no problems there (Southampton) The ship Very confusing layout. From Aft (back) of ship to get to restaurants(5/6) you have to go to level 7 then to midships then down stairs or lift. Not good for disabled. ... Read More
Embarkation was great, no problems there (Southampton) The ship Very confusing layout. From Aft (back) of ship to get to restaurants(5/6) you have to go to level 7 then to midships then down stairs or lift. Not good for disabled. Most ships you can go down to level you want. Lifts are a pain and slow to get waiting 4 mins asifts hours past your level contantly. Lack of toilets and broken toilets towards end of cruise. Dirty in some cases. There are not enough open spaces it all felt claustrophobic. This is by far the worst cruise ship. Food Food was below average in buffer and sometimes cold or like warm. I'm sure on Oceana there was more choice than this and was better quality. Only had 3 choices to choose from. Trying to get a seat was nigh impossible. Felt sorry for disabled and elderly who had no help from staff. Trying to get cups at breakfast was difficult. When asking staff they said you go to other buffets to get cups. That's not helpful especially for elderly or disabled having to walk between buffets and then losing your seat. Food in freedom Dining was OK. Nothing special not as good as couple of years ago. Layout if buffet was odd and always really busy Service Service in buffet was bad, never enough cups and they really couldn't be bothered to go get some either even when asked to do so. Getting asked a drink was quick but actually getting the drink was really slow and having to ask where it was after 15 mins. In main restaurant they asked us to sign for our drinks when we serving our starters, (very odd as we wanted another during main course) they normally get you to sign bill at dessert or when getting coffee.. Not when your trying to eat your starterm Entertainment Evenings were good. Nothing really to do during day though. It was a about spending money on board. On sea days they were showing films on sea screen which is not good when it's bad weather. Runaround kids were really great and illusionist Philip hitchcock was great too. Cabins We had aft cabin b750 was clean. And a suppose upgrade although we had a steel girder coming through and blocking our view. But as we didn't go outside much because of bad weather It wasn't a problem. Cabin steward was really helpful and kept cabin nice and clean. Didn't do shore excursions we just went out and did our own thing. We will be trying other cruise lines out next. Our last cruise was with celebrity eclipse which was far superior ship than this. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this Azura cruise because we had been on the Azura twice previously and enjoyed almost everything about the experience.I will try to be fair and form an opinion on experience as a whole before choosing a score for the whole ... Read More
We chose this Azura cruise because we had been on the Azura twice previously and enjoyed almost everything about the experience.I will try to be fair and form an opinion on experience as a whole before choosing a score for the whole cruise. Of course the crew members were mostly charming and well mannered and they work hard. The captain was approachable and seemed excellent at his job. Individually entertainers were good or not good; that is a matter of taste. Our cabin was clean and our steward was hard working so no problems there. I will focus my comments on what I know and what I feel has changed since we last sailed on the Azura. The atmosphere on board, created by the entertainment director and his team, was so different and more" Butlins and Hi de Hi " than our previous Azura cruises which had catered more for "grown ups". The entertainment in the Theatre was usually of a good standard but the Elvis spoof by a deputy entertainment manager in the cabaret lounge was infantile and amateurish and smacked of cost cutting by not paying a professional. We had a constant general uneasiness that standards had slipped due to a cost cutting exercises and this view was expressed to us by many passengers. The Peninsular Restaurant menu was samey and after a few nights aboard I was aching for other food. Is the repetitive menu a PandO ploy to force you into another restaurant at extra cost? The Verona and Venetia restaurants lunch menu was not to my liking but I am prepared to accept that sliced processed sausages and slippery cheese are modern taste, I just happen to prefer sliced real cold cuts with a simple salad for lunch. Absolutely every day we found crockery in the cafeteria which was substandard. Cracked mugs, chipped mug rims and boken handles. Blue staining on the outside of the cups (undissolved detergent) day after day. Multiple tea and coffee stains inside the mugs, one instance of crystallised sugar at the bottom of a mug, two instances of what looked like thick coffee milk skin over a sizeable area of the mugs. On returning the mugs to a waiter I picked up another and found it had lipstick around the rim. On each occasion I returned the mug and reported it to the waiter as well as showing it to any bystander. Now for the cutlery. I usually made my tea and after stirring, placed the spoon in the "used" tin. On one occasion I accidentally left the spoon in my cup only to find later that it had sponge pudding stuck on it. Think about it. I had stirred my tea with a spoon that had been in someone else's mouth and not properly washed. I was also given a knife that had dried egg on the blade and on another occasion a knife had food of different colours all the way along the blade. Finally, three supervisors and a higher authority were involved in checking the offending unhygenic cutlery and crockery and were most attentive on seeing the proof. I suggested the dishwasher water wasn't hot enough. They were apologetic. They gave me a bottle of wine for bringing them the offending items and almost immediately put the matter right. We noticed a lovely shiny feel to mugs the following day. Thank goodness the supervisors admitted what I showed them was substandard and acted upon it or readers might be tempted not to believe the frequency. The night before our cruise ended we found a letter (not in a sealed envelope) outside our cabin regarding gratuities. It stated all the reasons why we should be giving gratuities and not opting out. It left a whole reverse side of A4 paper to state the reasons why we had not added any gratuities to our bill. THEY WERE WRONG. We HAD donated gratuities and after I pointed out their mistake we received an apology from the accounts department. But I have to say that I totally support the right of passengers to give or not give gratuities. It is up to the individual. For goodness sake, PandO, be honest. If you want the staff to have the gratuities, state the full cost of the cruise before passengers step on board and do not intimidate or embarrass them into giving more money once they are captives on the cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was not our first cruise with P.O. but definitely the worst, Cabin kept perfectly by Edward and were given all the attention needed. Entertainment mixed plenty to watch but the venues are stretched across the ship, and ... Read More
This was not our first cruise with P.O. but definitely the worst, Cabin kept perfectly by Edward and were given all the attention needed. Entertainment mixed plenty to watch but the venues are stretched across the ship, and people wanting to watch more than one programme per night had to traverse nearly the length of the ship. The theatre was very well built for the viewing of the shows/talks etc NOW the food, Having read the other reviews about the food being served I can qualify the remarks, I even saw the captain and commented about the uneatable FOOD being served and not a lot help was forthcoming, I then contacted the restaurant manager and arranged an appointment to speak about the matter, He was very polite and listened to the comments from myself and other cruisers, The sauces , custards gravies etc that were served was unbelievable just water and a colour of what it was supposed to be, Mint, Cranberry, Mornay, diners were refusing to have the sauce (water) put onto their plate. The creamed potatoes were at least 1/2 days old grey and when cut stood up like teeth.The manager said that the chef in charge had just come from another ship, he either needs retraining and the chefs beneath him need to be taught the correct way to make up the sauces, they forget that people will talk and comment about the food . The waiters in general were pleasant but some needed to retraining, some were leaning over another guest to retrieve the plate of another person who had finished his meal. We fortunately had two great ones, Garry and Ace, they attended their area with speed proficiency courteously.. Library was another nonentity with very little reading matter although a daily paper and crossword was published for the cruisers. Shopping was on three floors but expensive as usual. Our last time on the Azura after cruising on many other lines this was a complete let down. PattieJ Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
chose this as not sailed with p & o before,easy to book had a good deal, free parking and on board spend,went to canary islands, Madeira Lisbon and viga, boarding was smooth and quick,had a balcony cabin on deck 10 would recommend this ... Read More
chose this as not sailed with p & o before,easy to book had a good deal, free parking and on board spend,went to canary islands, Madeira Lisbon and viga, boarding was smooth and quick,had a balcony cabin on deck 10 would recommend this deck as the balcony is much bigger then the other decks, cabin was fine and clean, we only like buffet dining and on this ship was a little disappointing compared to other cruises we have been on,what i mean by that is they have theme nights every night,and if you do not like that type of food there is no alternative, also very little choose for special diets like low sugar,entertainment was fairly good something for everyone found the poolside entertainment was good when there was some but to long with out any even background music, the sea screen was in a poor condition with loads of dead pixels would be nice if it was bigger to. the cruise overall was ok but the ship looked very tired in need of a refit, things kept breaking down or did not work Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Always wanted too see the Fjords so took the plunge. I went solo as my husband will not go on a cruise ship. Embarkation was smooth and efficient.Cabin as was the rest of the ship was very clean. I sat with a group of 7 other solo ... Read More
Always wanted too see the Fjords so took the plunge. I went solo as my husband will not go on a cruise ship. Embarkation was smooth and efficient.Cabin as was the rest of the ship was very clean. I sat with a group of 7 other solo travellers for club dining.Would do my own thing if I went again as by the end of the week it gets very tiring maintaining conversation etc.Wide choice of places to eat and I liked the grab and go option and Venezia self service during the day. Food was good on club dining but at times the puddings lacked taste. Loved the Oasis spa and saw only one show which was very good indeed. Highlight was seeing the magnificent Fjords, such wonderful scenery. Disembarkation equally smooth and efficient. I admit cruising is not my scene but one can fit it to adapt to what you want as there are so many choices and options on Azura. It felt like Azura ran like a well oiled cog. Captain Robert Camby runs a tight ship and he also has the bonus of being rather easy on the eye. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
It all started so well. Just a short break to celebrate my retirement. The journey from our home in Somerset was one of the best we have ever had as it was Easter Sunday and there were no shops open! We arrived at Southampton and ... Read More
It all started so well. Just a short break to celebrate my retirement. The journey from our home in Somerset was one of the best we have ever had as it was Easter Sunday and there were no shops open! We arrived at Southampton and joined the lengthy queue for CPS parking. After about 30 minutes we were processed and heading for embarkation in the Mayflower terminal. We had been given a check in time of 3.00 p.m. and this is the time we were given. We had over an hour to wait. The terminal was complete chaos with disgruntled passengers trying to find seating. There is one only vastly overpriced venue to purchase refreshments. At least at an airport there is a choice. There were constant announcements about not blocking the check-in queues and to wait in the seated areas. We eventually reached check-in at 3.25 and then the trek through security. On board at last, we tried to get a beer only to be told the bars were shut because the safety drill was about to take place. Some joke – there were still dozens of people waiting to embark. Our cabin was very nice surprise. A superior balcony on D Deck. A spacious cabin with defined lounge area. Perks included robes, slippers and towels that were actually big enough plus a bottle of champagne and a box of chocs. Our mood lightened until Safety Drill. Our muster station was the Glass House. The stewards on the stairs really didn’t seem to know where to send people. We attempted to get through to the Glass House, only to be told to go down one more deck, which we knew was wrong. We were then sent back up again only to be told again we were in the wrong place! We made our way to the Glass House and were ordered to stand on the carpet outside as the place was so packed. The muster drill was as chaotic as the Mayflower terminal. It simply isn’t feasible to ram so many people into such a small space; all brandishing life jackets. Despite being told not to put jackets on some people did which made space tighter than ever. I hate to think what would happen in a real emergency. We had been assigned Freedom Dining and on the first night had a table for two but after that shared with others since again the queues were endless. The food is all plated and portions are small. The days of taking a photo of your plate to send to your friends are well and truly over as far as P & O are concerned! Service was slow and noisy in the restaurant –presumably through understaffing. On the last night I had to send calves’ liver back because I couldn’t cut it! We had early room service continental breakfast, which was good. We went to the buffet later on and the choice was limited to typically British. Lunch. We ate in the buffet – mostly on salad because the cooked fare was very processed. One good addition is the Grab & Go servery on deck, where you could get a filled roll and a pudding. We ate in the Glass House once which was mediocre and in the Beach House were the cover charge of £7.50 each was well worth it and we had excellent fillet steaks. Drink. This time we found drink prices expensive. Two glasses of Shiraz at lunch came to over £13 in the buffet – in plastic glasses to boot! Ports. At La Rochelle there were not sufficient shuttle buses and it was taken over an hour queuing in the cold wind, so we reluctantly gave up Bilbao. The ship docked at Getxo which is quite a long way from Bilbao and there was a free shuttle. We have been to Bilbao several times and hoped to we be dropped off nearer the old town but we weren’t and were left in a back street not close to anything of interest. So we caught the bus back and regretted not taking a local service for 8 euros into Getxo which actually looked quite inviting. La Coruna. A firm favourite with us. Always something new to discover. We decided on a local circular tour at 15 euros each and then went to El Rey del Jamon for the most amazing serrano and cheese. Entertainment. If you’ve sailed with P & O before, nothing much changes. There were a lot of children on board, who monopolised the pools but this was to be expected at Easter. Weather. On the whole was good except approaching La Coruna and leaving when at one point the wind got up to Storm Force 10. The Azura creaked and groaned all night and we did not get any sleep. Our overall opinion. Having been on Arcadia at New Year and experienced similar embarkation difficulties and not really having anything good to review, we now feel our disillusionment with P & O was not limited to Arcadia. We feel that P & O are stuck in a time warp and relying on past passenger loyalty. Sorry to report that we are finally about to jump ship and continuing our cruising with other more progressive cruise lines, where there is genuine concern for passengers. 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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