My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise. We were on P & O Azura for 15 nights from Southampton to Barbados. We had a great time definitely one of our best holidays. From the moment we arrived at the Southampton cruise terminal we were greeted by a genuinely cheery porter who took our suitcases and directed us into the terminal. We arrived earlier than our allotted time slot so expected to sit and wait but there was no queue and they were more than happy to allow us to board. Our outside cabin was lovely and clean our cabin steward, Sailesh, could not be more attentive if he had tried. We were close to the Art gallery which we thought was a great location it was quiet but close to the amenities. We were allocated second sitting for dinner, which was 20.30 hours most nights, this suited us. Our table was for 10 people however there was only ever 6 of us for dinner. We had a great table and really enjoyed the company so much so that only ever dined in the Peninsular despite initially thinking we would try the specialty restaurants. The crossing over the Atlantic was a little rough I found it added to the excitement but a few on board found it difficult. We were a little concerned we would find the sea days hard going, but no we had a great time. I attended the Art classes each morning ran by Alex Davidson. This was great having never painted, apart from at school, Alex had us all, as he promised, painting by the end of the sea days. Thank you Alex and the others on the course who made it such fun a really did have fun. We both went to the social whist in the afternoon, again we were new to this and I was a little apprehensive, but there was no need again the people were lovely very welcoming. Our first Port of call was the Azores we had booked a P & O trip to the Crater lakes. This was really disappointing the cloud obscured all the views so was pointless. Other passengers jumped on the local train/tourist bus or horse and cart around the town for only 5 Euros each much better value, never mind. Our second port of call was St Maartin. I had booked a 2 tank dive with Cruise excursions as we are both Padi divers. This was paid up front in English at a cost of just under £150 for both of us. I was a little worried as we didn’t get into Port until 0830 which is the time we were supposed to be a the Little Divi Bay Resort. We arrived at 0915 at the resort but this wasn’t a problem. We were on a dive boat with 4 other divers, a captain and guide diver. This was great, the sea was a little rough and the currents strong but we saw a reef shark, turtle, lobsters and of course plenty of fish all around ship wrecks it was great. Our third Port was St Kitts. We had booked to do a 4 x 4 off road with a rainforest hike with Greg Safaris. This was booked online but we didn’t have to pay anything until the end of the trip US$ 65 each. Unfortunately there was a little mix up and Greg said he couldn’t honor the trip until the afternoon as we were the only people that had booked it. This wasn’t too much of a problem we ended up taking a local bus to Brimstone Hill Fort which cost US$5 for both each way, although the walk up to the Fort from the bus stop is not for the faint hearted it’s a steep hill and takes about 20-30 minutes in the Caribbean heat!. We then went on our Tour into the Rainforest in the afternoon. This was fantastic we had our own guide who really knew about the forest it was hard work but we needed to burn some calories from all the food we had eaten. Fourth Port, Antigua. We hadn’t booked anything so we took a local bus from the bus depot costing US$5 each way per couple along with another couple from our dining table. We went to Darkwood beach which is a beautiful Caribbean beach on the Caribbean side of the island. We were greeted by a male calling himself “Too Tall”. It costs US$25 for 2 sunbeds, an umbrella and an ice cold bucket of 6 beers. The bus back was great fun very crowded but the locals were really cheery and kept asking if we were all okay they seemed to have a great sense of responsibility to all the tourists. Fifth port was St Lucia. We had booked another island tour following online recommendations with Cosol Tours again the cost of US$75 each was not payable until end of the tour. This really was a full day tour, great value for money. We had a great time seeing the Pitons, volcano, waterfall, banana plantation, beach via speed boat. Several pit stops including a wonderful local feast for late breakfast, hot bread with cheese for late lunch, also stops with a mobile bar offering rum punch, beer and soft drinks. This really was a fun day out. Last port was Barbados. We went to the beach again with our dinning companions this time we took a taxi to The Boatyard for US$5 each. This was a really lively beach with the softest of sand. The entrance cost was US$15 each which included sunbed, umbrellas, a free rum punch, and taxi ride back to ship. This really was a party beach most of the crew were there. They had a rope swing from the pier into the sea – great fun. This was our only night in a port so after our final dinner our whole table decided to go out into town for the night. We went to The Harbour Lights which was an outside nightclub costing US$20 each which included all drinks until 3AM!!!! Again lots of crew could be spotted. Taxi was US$5 per person each way I haven’t really mentioned the food onboard we thought it was fantastic the service was always good and the choice excellent. If you didn’t like the evening choices you could always have steak or chicken breast. Drinks were inexpensive UK pub prices and P & O were happy for passengers to take drink on board at all ports to be consumed in your cabin. Our only criticism of the cruise was that the gym was not open until 0800 hours which meant there was a queue. This should have been at least 0700 bearing in mind the clocks went back several times whilst crossing the Atlantic. There were several machines out of order and if you went to use the machines whilst they had a yoga class you were not allowed to use half of the machines. Maybe they should find another room for the yoga classes. The Entertainment was good I liked the tribute Acts Neil Diamond, Queen and Tom Jones there were also some comedians one was not very good but the other 2 were great. Thank you P&O for a wonderful holiday your staff are amazing you should be proud and a big thank you to all the wonderful people we met and who made our holiday.  

First time on a cruise

Azura Cruise Review by caul1234

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2014
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Outside Stateroom
My husband and I have just returned from our first cruise. We were on P & O Azura for 15 nights from Southampton to Barbados. We had a great time definitely one of our best holidays.
From the moment we arrived at the Southampton cruise terminal we were greeted by a genuinely cheery porter who took our suitcases and directed us into the terminal. We arrived earlier than our allotted time slot so expected to sit and wait but there was no queue and they were more than happy to allow us to board.
Our outside cabin was lovely and clean our cabin steward, Sailesh, could not be more attentive if he had tried. We were close to the Art gallery which we thought was a great location it was quiet but close to the amenities.
We were allocated second sitting for dinner, which was 20.30 hours most nights, this suited us. Our table was for 10 people however there was only ever 6 of us for dinner. We had a great table and really enjoyed the company so much so that only ever dined in the Peninsular despite initially thinking we would try the specialty restaurants.
The crossing over the Atlantic was a little rough I found it added to the excitement but a few on board found it difficult. We were a little concerned we would find the sea days hard going, but no we had a great time. I attended the Art classes each morning ran by Alex Davidson. This was great having never painted, apart from at school, Alex had us all, as he promised, painting by the end of the sea days. Thank you Alex and the others on the course who made it such fun a really did have fun. We both went to the social whist in the afternoon, again we were new to this and I was a little apprehensive, but there was no need again the people were lovely very welcoming.
Our first Port of call was the Azores we had booked a P & O trip to the Crater lakes. This was really disappointing the cloud obscured all the views so was pointless. Other passengers jumped on the local train/tourist bus or horse and cart around the town for only 5 Euros each much better value, never mind.
Our second port of call was St Maartin. I had booked a 2 tank dive with Cruise excursions as we are both Padi divers. This was paid up front in English at a cost of just under £150 for both of us. I was a little worried as we didn’t get into Port until 0830 which is the time we were supposed to be a the Little Divi Bay Resort. We arrived at 0915 at the resort but this wasn’t a problem. We were on a dive boat with 4 other divers, a captain and guide diver. This was great, the sea was a little rough and the currents strong but we saw a reef shark, turtle, lobsters and of course plenty of fish all around ship wrecks it was great.
Our third Port was St Kitts. We had booked to do a 4 x 4 off road with a rainforest hike with Greg Safaris. This was booked online but we didn’t have to pay anything until the end of the trip US$ 65 each. Unfortunately there was a little mix up and Greg said he couldn’t honor the trip until the afternoon as we were the only people that had booked it. This wasn’t too much of a problem we ended up taking a local bus to Brimstone Hill Fort which cost US$5 for both each way, although the walk up to the Fort from the bus stop is not for the faint hearted it’s a steep hill and takes about 20-30 minutes in the Caribbean heat!. We then went on our Tour into the Rainforest in the afternoon. This was fantastic we had our own guide who really knew about the forest it was hard work but we needed to burn some calories from all the food we had eaten.
Fourth Port, Antigua. We hadn’t booked anything so we took a local bus from the bus depot costing US$5 each way per couple along with another couple from our dining table. We went to Darkwood beach which is a beautiful Caribbean beach on the Caribbean side of the island. We were greeted by a male calling himself “Too Tall”. It costs US$25 for 2 sunbeds, an umbrella and an ice cold bucket of 6 beers. The bus back was great fun very crowded but the locals were really cheery and kept asking if we were all okay they seemed to have a great sense of responsibility to all the tourists.
Fifth port was St Lucia. We had booked another island tour following online recommendations with Cosol Tours again the cost of US$75 each was not payable until end of the tour. This really was a full day tour, great value for money. We had a great time seeing the Pitons, volcano, waterfall, banana plantation, beach via speed boat. Several pit stops including a wonderful local feast for late breakfast, hot bread with cheese for late lunch, also stops with a mobile bar offering rum punch, beer and soft drinks. This really was a fun day out.
Last port was Barbados. We went to the beach again with our dinning companions this time we took a taxi to The Boatyard for US$5 each. This was a really lively beach with the softest of sand. The entrance cost was US$15 each which included sunbed, umbrellas, a free rum punch, and taxi ride back to ship. This really was a party beach most of the crew were there. They had a rope swing from the pier into the sea – great fun.
This was our only night in a port so after our final dinner our whole table decided to go out into town for the night. We went to The Harbour Lights which was an outside nightclub costing US$20 each which included all drinks until 3AM!!!! Again lots of crew could be spotted. Taxi was US$5 per person each way
I haven’t really mentioned the food onboard we thought it was fantastic the service was always good and the choice excellent. If you didn’t like the evening choices you could always have steak or chicken breast. Drinks were inexpensive UK pub prices and P & O were happy for passengers to take drink on board at all ports to be consumed in your cabin.
Our only criticism of the cruise was that the gym was not open until 0800 hours which meant there was a queue. This should have been at least 0700 bearing in mind the clocks went back several times whilst crossing the Atlantic. There were several machines out of order and if you went to use the machines whilst they had a yoga class you were not allowed to use half of the machines. Maybe they should find another room for the yoga classes.
The Entertainment was good I liked the tribute Acts Neil Diamond, Queen and Tom Jones there were also some comedians one was not very good but the other 2 were great.
Thank you P&O for a wonderful holiday your staff are amazing you should be proud and a big thank you to all the wonderful people we met and who made our holiday.
 
caul1234’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Outside Stateroom
Cabin LC P327
This was a great cabin size was good. The bed was a little hard. Great location as your near the Atrium on the lower floor.
  Azura Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Antigua
    Fourth Port, Antigua. We hadn’t booked anything so we took a local bus from the bus depot costing US$5 each way per couple along with another couple from our dining table. We went to Darkwood beach which is a beautiful Caribbean beach on the Caribbean side of the island. We were greeted by a male calling himself “Too Tall”. It costs US$25 for 2 sunbeds, an umbrella and an ice cold bucket of 6 beers. The bus back was great fun very crowded but the locals were really cheery and kept asking if we were all okay they seemed to have a great sense of responsibility to all the tourists.All the locals will point you towards the bus station even the taxi drivers once they know you are definitely not going in a taxi the locals really are friendly. the bus driver will tell you when to get off if you ask.
    View All 1,546 Antigua Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Antigua Cruise Port Review
  • Barbados
    Last port was Barbados. We went to the beach again with our dinning companions this time we took a taxi to The Boatyard for US$5 each. This was a really lively beach with the softest of sand. The entrance cost was US$15 each which included sunbed, umbrellas, a free rum punch, and taxi ride back to ship. This really was a party beach most of the crew were there. They had a rope swing from the pier into the sea – great fun.This was our only night in a port so after our final dinner our whole table decided to go out into town for the night. We went to The Harbour Lights which was an outside nightclub costing US$20 each which included all drinks until 3AM!!!! Again lots of crew could be spotted. Taxi was US$5 per person each way
    View All 1,520 Barbados Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Barbados Cruise Port Review
  • Ponta Delgada
    Our first Port of call was the Azores we had booked a P & O trip to the Crater lakes. This was really disappointing the cloud obscured all the views so was pointless. Other passengers jumped on the local train/tourist bus or horse and cart around the town for only 5 Euros each much better value, never mind.We bought some good sparkling wine from Portugal approx £6 a bottle
    View All 204 Ponta Delgada Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Ponta Delgada Cruise Port Review
  • Rainforest Tour
    Our third Port was St Kitts. We had booked to do a 4 x 4 off road with a rainforest hike with Greg Safaris. This was booked online but we didn’t have to pay anything until the end of the trip US$ 65 each. Unfortunately there was a little mix up and Greg said he couldn’t honor the trip until the afternoon as we were the only people that had booked it. This wasn’t too much of a problem we ended up taking a local bus to Brimstone Hill Fort which cost US$5 for both each way, although the walk up to the Fort from the bus stop is not for the faint hearted it’s a steep hill and takes about 20-30 minutes in the Caribbean heat!. We then went on our Tour into the Rainforest in the afternoon. This was fantastic we had our own guide who really knew about the forest it was hard work but we needed to burn some calories from all the food we had eaten.All the locals will point you towards the bus station even the taxi drivers once they know you are definitely not going in a taxi the locals really are friendly. the bus driver will tell you when to get off if you ask.
    View All 39 Rainforest Tour Reviews
  • Island Tour
    Fifth port was St Lucia. We had booked another island tour following online recommendations with Cosol Tours again the cost of US$75 each was not payable until end of the tour. This really was a full day tour, great value for money. We had a great time seeing the Pitons, volcano, waterfall, banana plantation, beach via speed boat. Several pit stops including a wonderful local feast for late breakfast, hot bread with cheese for late lunch, also stops with a mobile bar offering rum punch, beer and soft drinks. This really was a fun day out.
    View All 250 Island Tour Reviews
  • St. Maarten
    Our second port of call was St Maartin. I had booked a 2 tank dive with Cruise excursions as we are both Padi divers. This was paid up front in English at a cost of just under £150 for both of us. I was a little worried as we didn’t get into Port until 0830 which is the time we were supposed to be a the Little Divi Bay Resort. We had to get a taxi to the resort I think this was $10. We arrived at 0915 at the resort but this wasn’t a problem. We were on a dive boat with 4 other divers, a captain and guide diver. This was great, the sea was a little rough and the currents strong but we saw a reef shark, turtle, lobsters and of course plenty of fish all around ship wrecks it was great.We stayed at the resort on the beach for a short while then got a taxi downtown can't remember how much that was. We then walked back to the ship about 20 mins walk past a big cash and carry so we bought some beer!
    View All 4,728 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Maarten Cruise Port Review