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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
We used ‘Park on my Drive’ and saved about £100 in parking fees however taxi to the terminal got us there too early so we had a long tedious wait to be checked in. Food My wife’s dietary preferences meant that we had to eat ... Read More
We used ‘Park on my Drive’ and saved about £100 in parking fees however taxi to the terminal got us there too early so we had a long tedious wait to be checked in. Food My wife’s dietary preferences meant that we had to eat exclusively in the Buffet Restaurant Venezia, so that she could select food to suit her. There was too much emphasis on curries and Indian dishes, very little variety with few cooked vegetables and food not always as hot as it should have been. Venezia restaurant always crowded as only half the space open most of the time. Coffee machine not working for the whole of the cruise, fruit juice only available at breakfast and pineapple juice only available 3 mornings out of 12. The milk dispenser often not filled and you were expected to use UHT milk sachet instead, Drink P & O are new to the drinks package idea but do not have the price right. A drinks package for two for 12 days would be £960 when in fact our bar bill was under £100. You would need to be an alcoholic to get your money’s worth. Their soft drinks package would have been £480 compared to Norwegian on the Epic at £138. Service The cabin service was very good but in the restaurant there seemed to be a lack of willingness to help and when service was given it was very slow, when ordering drinks they often arrived halfway through the meal even when ordered right at the beginning. Tables not cleared as quickly as they should have been. Entertainment I understand that P & O have won an award for entertainment and goodness knows why. The entertainment was very poor with a few second rate comedians and singers and no shows. The standard was so low that the highlight of the week was the entertainments manager doing an Elvis impersonation. Cost We opted for the saver fare as opposed to the select fare and consequently were only allocated a cabin a week before we sailed and then treated as second class citizens in dining room allocation and having to pay on the “free” shuttle buses. An example of the shuttle bus cost in Lisbon was £4.00 per person per journey a total of £8 each way compared with a taxi cost one way of 6 Euros. The cost for the internet package was very high and so we did not use it. P & O should rethink this policy in this interconnected electronic age. Not a very good move to encourage future bookings on P & O. Ship The Azura started operation in 2010 and is now in desperate need of a refit. Certain areas such as the Malabar and deck 7 midships smelled of sewage all the time and one passenger reported black mould under the toilet seat which was not immediately rectified. The satellite TV was not working for most of the cruise. P & O’s standards have dropped considerably and are now below an acceptable level and do not compare well with rivals such as CMV. Shore Excursions We did two P & O excursions, one to La Palma for Whale watching. 3½ hours on a small boat in heavy seas and saw no whales nor dolphins, in fact not even a fish and no compensation for this. We also did Lisbon by land & river and this was very good with a tour of Lisbon by coach and then a very pleasant river cruise. We also did three excursions by Cruising Excursion The first at Madeira where we were left stranded on the top of a mountain and had to return to the ship by taxi. The second to Tenerife where we saw lots of rocks and volcanoes at the foot of Mount Tiede and the third to Lanzarote where we saw lots of rocks and volcanoes on a visit to Fire Mountain. All the excursions by both companies are vastly overpriced. 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: October 2018
Arrived at Southampton by taxi and unloaded are cases and for the first time in eleven cruises we were ignored by the porters and we eventually gave up and took the cases to the conveyor ourselves. Check in was busy but we were onboard ... Read More
Arrived at Southampton by taxi and unloaded are cases and for the first time in eleven cruises we were ignored by the porters and we eventually gave up and took the cases to the conveyor ourselves. Check in was busy but we were onboard within about thirty minutes. Our cabin on C deck was ready and Rubi our efficient and friendly cabin steward introduced herself. After the safety muster we unpacked with no problems for storage space and went to our evening meal, (freedom dining). Over the cruise we often shared but did have a table for two with no problems as well. We only used the MDR and found the food to be of a good variety and standard. The waiters have however declined often putting the wrong meal in front of people. The buffet was poor and much smaller in size than we remembered. The much used Italian Verona is no more and has been replaced by 'The Beach House' at an extra cost and they were continually trying to sell this venue throughout the cruise even when we eating in the main MDR. The entertainment team were good especially JoB and Alessandro with the usual Quizes, Games and Dancing etc. on offer. The Headliners were Ok although one show left us bemused. The main acts were excellent with Mike Doyle, IDA and Electric dreams standing out. There were two speakers, the first on Planets we had heard before and the second Terry Brown an ex policeman who talked about the history and changes to interviewing techniques. This was followed by a 'who done it' with twelve passengers as suspects and nineteen teams of detectives to solve the murder. All very well done and so much fun!. There is a variety of bars some quiet such as Planet bar and Glass house and others more lively , Malabar / Brodies. We did not use the casino this time but did manage to make a small profit on the horseracing. The table tennis has been reduced to one table and this caused over subscription with only doubles competitions which I found disappointing. The four black tie nights were well supported but of course there were a few who declined to enter into spirit and dress up. This being our first trip to the Caribbean we stuck to ship tours. Disembarkation was different as we booked a day cabin which gave us the chance to sample an inside cabin but also to have a base for the day until airport departure which went smoothly apart from the taxi being stopped by police for a traffic offence (let off). The flight to Bournemouth on a Thompson Dreamliner was delayed an hour after we boarded due to a mix up between ground staff over a missing passenger. Our per-arranged taxi was waiting for us and we were home in ten minutes. We enjoyed our cruise but not being sun worshippers found the Caribbean to be to hot and humid for us, proving that we are all different. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because we have cruised with P and O A Couple of times before and found them to be great value for money and very well organised. The food on board Azura was in our opinion very good, plenty of choice and of decent ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have cruised with P and O A Couple of times before and found them to be great value for money and very well organised. The food on board Azura was in our opinion very good, plenty of choice and of decent quality. Some people moan about the quality but we found it to be what you would get in a good quality restaraunt or pub. The entertainment was first class with the headliners who do several shows absolutely brilliant and some good tribute acts and good comedians especially Mike Doyle. Excursions are quiet dear with P and O but you can book your own which we did on 4 occasions. Viator and very good and we booked a couple of independent ones as well. The two we did with P and O was the Azores witch was ok but we got very wet weather which spoilt it a bit, not P and Os fault though. The second was a trip by land and sea around St Lucia which was quiet expensive but would highly recommend it. The Tour did everything, the famous Pitons, Lovely litttle fishing villages, An active volcanoe, a tropical gardens and finally a boat ride back to the ship. 8 hours of pure joy. Getting on and off the ship was straight forward with hardly any wait at all including your first step and last step on the ship. Please don't be put off by any bad reviews you read unless you want 5 star Luxuary, then you need to spend a couple of thousand pounds more. If like us you want good food, grate entertainment and good service you cant go wrong with P and 0 Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We lost a stop in Vigo due to rough weather which was unavoidable but the general condition of the ship was not 100% with leaks in several locations etc. We requested a table for two for Dining but were not given this. We had selected a ... Read More
We lost a stop in Vigo due to rough weather which was unavoidable but the general condition of the ship was not 100% with leaks in several locations etc. We requested a table for two for Dining but were not given this. We had selected a select dining so could not choose another location meaning that we ended up in the buffet every evening. Food was good however. We are not antisocial but when on holiday wanted to sit alone as I’d just come out of hospital and wanted a quiet rest. The disembarkation was a joke. It was so disorganised and was commented on by lots of people. The ship seemed to be more unstable and rocky than any other we have sailed on....even when on calmer seas....some people even commented that it must have not stabilisers!!! We heard lots of passengers saying “never agaon’ We would agree with them. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I chose this cruise for a relaxing break as it was my Birthday . 7 nights departure from Southampton on the 12th October 2018. This cruise was a nightmare from beginning to end and would not recommend it to anyone. Its all about the money ... Read More
I chose this cruise for a relaxing break as it was my Birthday . 7 nights departure from Southampton on the 12th October 2018. This cruise was a nightmare from beginning to end and would not recommend it to anyone. Its all about the money and not customer guest satisfaction or respect. This ship should never have left Southampton as there would have been weather warnings. We were in a hurricane and the ship was rocking so fiercely we were very sick for days confined to our cabin. No tv signal and when we complained was blamed on the weather, but there were no new films like on other ships, so nothing we could watch anyway. Toilets out of order on board and very smelly. smelly lifts and corridors. The breakfasts were very poor so we didn't bother to attend breakfast. The Buffet was the same every day and not a lot of choice neither in the restaurant in the evenings. Menu seemed to be the same daily. We missed a Port in Spain and were very upset as we really wanted to visit there. Money was taken from our account without our permission which distressed us further and items were added on our account for things we did not purchase or drink at various bars as we don't drink alcohol. Our beautiful clothes on a rail by the toilet with no doors. Grey unsightly towels we had to complain and asked stewardess for soft white towels, she replied they don't really have them. I was appalled. What a disgrace. the list goes on.C250 Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We liked the ports of call Lisbon, Cadiz. Barcelona, Ibitha and Gibralter as some we had never been to before. Embarkation was fast and well organised, the ship was beautiful, very clean and staff very helpful. been on lots of other ... Read More
We liked the ports of call Lisbon, Cadiz. Barcelona, Ibitha and Gibralter as some we had never been to before. Embarkation was fast and well organised, the ship was beautiful, very clean and staff very helpful. been on lots of other cruises waiting staff good but never smiled, they were from india and pakistan area. Food good with plenty of choice, never had to queue at any meals. Shore excursions we thought were expensive, worst of all we had to pay for transfers from ship to towns and these were £4pp each way which we thought was a rip off!. Our room was always cold the air conditioning didn't seen to alter. Also the playhouse and the evening entertainment venues were also very cold. Entertainment was excellent except the group Pulse often sang off key and screeched a lot. Sorry the area for dancing was not bigger as this was done in the atrium and always too many people to dance in the small area. Overall we had a fantastic time and would certainly choose this ship again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise for a week of relaxation and good food and to see places we hadn’t seen before. We badly needed this holiday. We could not see Viga due to bad weather! It was horrible.... noisy crowded and our cabin dirty. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a week of relaxation and good food and to see places we hadn’t seen before. We badly needed this holiday. We could not see Viga due to bad weather! It was horrible.... noisy crowded and our cabin dirty. Butlins would have been better. The food was bland and often cold . The cabin was awful. We paid £2600 plus for a super delux cabin. Money we worked hard for wasted. There was chocolate and peants on the floor.., past horizon mags from previous guests shuffed In the pocket. The phone was dirty and sticky. Coffee cup stains on the side board. The carpet was wet by the entrance.. A towel remained on the floor for three days and stank the cabin out. The deck manager came to see us twice. Said they couldn’t move us as only inside cabins and cabins at a higher grade! We were offered a bottle of p and o house wine as compensation. The whole experience was horrible. Will never ever go p and o again! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We were looking forward to visiting the 4 locations, first one (Vigo) had to be missed because of bad weather which was unfortunate. We had travelled with Cunard before and as P&O are the same firm we expected similar high standards ... Read More
We were looking forward to visiting the 4 locations, first one (Vigo) had to be missed because of bad weather which was unfortunate. We had travelled with Cunard before and as P&O are the same firm we expected similar high standards but were disappointed with the facilities and entertainment. The public spaces and bars were crowded. The buffet was more like a scrum than a dining area, finding seats was difficult, you had to take it in turns to get your snack or meal. It was also almost impossible to get a seat in the bars. The entertainment in the theatre was limited to a single 45 minute act, i.e. comedian or ventriloquist or dance group, we would have preferred shorter acts but more variety; the actual acts were good. Meals and service in restaurants were good but afternoon tea a bit hurried. See separate comments regarding cabin, reasonable size but poor options and signal for TV, announcements not relayed to cabin. Public toilets were often out of service and not easy to find. 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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