Overall a great cruise!
The staff work incredibly hard, and it would be nice if there were tip collection points in place perhaps now that gratuities are no longer in place. Perhaps in reception at the end of the cruise?
There were a few discrepancies in the rules over dress codes, and not all staff seemed to be aware of the rules regarding the drinks package either.
There seemed to be a lot of teenagers on this cruise who virtually took over the jacuzzis and pools meaning nobody else could use them, yet nobody challenged this. The pool attendant at one point simply turned away when one teen decided to start bombing into the pool. MInor issues, but irritating just the same!
5 out of 5
Arrived earlier than expected, but plenty of room in the waiting lounge to have a drink while we waited.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
The staff, as always, were brilliant. Those guys work so hard and always seem to smile! Freedom dining is our preferred style, and we never really had to wait long for a table - even when we did, it is never a problem. Take a buzzer and wander off to the bar or Java for a bit of people watching. We had great table companions on the occasions we shared a table for dinner, although I wish they wouldn't put four on a table meant for eight or nine as it makes things feel a bit awkward.
The Beach House is always good but isn't it time for a menu update in the specialty restaurants? Like another reviewer I found the lack of vegetarian options a bit disappointing here. What I had was lovely, but it would be nice to have a choice. The one downside of the The Beach House is the fact that it is below the kids club and our evening was spoilt a little by the constant and thunderous noise of whatever game was being played above us, despite one of the crew going upstairs to try and calm things down at least three times. Other diners who were seated outside said the same thing about the pool area below them, it's tricky having a relaxing meal when all you can hear is screeching. I can understand that this is a very difficult thing to overcome - everyone is there to enjoy themselves after all.
Sindhu is my absolute favourite speciality restaurant on board P and O ships. Again, not much in the way of vegetarian options - one starter and two mains - but I totally don't care because the food is just gorgeous! There is always so much of it too, can't fault it!
We ate in the Glass House for the first time this cruise, it became our favourite hangout bar this cruise so we decided to give the food a go. Husband was happy with his mini burgers, and I was happy with my vegetarian selection - the cheese polenta chips are especially good. I discovered a fantastic wine there too, but can't seem to get it at home without an extortionate price tag sadly. Might have to book another cruise...
The Glass House
5 out of 5
Really lovely venue, excellent staff, fantastic food, and awesome wine. I've been trying to find the wine I discovered here but unfortunately it is, at £30 a bottle, a bit over my budget!
3 out of 5
Not for me or him really, we prefer to do our own thing. I am not a fan of organised anything to be honest, but each to their own.
1 out of 5
Sorry, but if I want a souvenir photograph of my cruise on Azura, I would like to see some of Azura in it rather than an extreme close up which could have been taken anywhere. Likewise, I don't want a badly composed photograph with random people eating their dinner in the background. Basically, the onboard photographers are not very good. They are also incredibly intrusive, and approach you constantly while you eat!
2 out of 5
The Elton John tribute act was good, the comedian that followed in Manhattan was, sadly, not. I'm afraid we joined the many who walked out. Magic shows and impressionists are not my thing either, so it is rare we find something we both want to see on board. As for the resident bands, maybe I'm missing something..?
Nice to see the Sky Screen has been fixed, but the volume button seems to have got stuck on 11 - it was ridiculously loud!
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Brilliant service all round. The only problem we found was that now gratuities are no longer included, it is very difficult to show appreciation for good service without going broke!
4 out of 5
It is tired, and some areas are a bit whiffy - mainly by Malabar - but it is clean and well maintained, although the balcony side panels could do with a bit of clean.
I have no sense of direction whatsoever, so I will never learn where anything is board - I'm sure it is perfectly logical to everyone else though! I managed to find find coffee all on my own, so that's ok with me.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
No problem with the cabin size, we booked it especially for the large balcony which is great to have. There is plenty of space for two inside, the beds are huge too. The shower is a little on the small size but that is to be expected. Plenty of room for toiletries (even if my husband did steal ALL the shelves!) and a massive mirror to see how fat you've got over the two weeks...
Loads of hanging space for clothes (again, husband stole most of the hangers!) and enough shelving in the cupboard. Glad there is still a kettle etc. in the cabins too.
The majority of the lifts face the same way, so you always turn the same way to find your cabin. I think...or maybe he was just trying to get rid of me?
Love Barcelona, and we had a late night here which was a bonus. We did a hop on hop off bus tour as we have visited the city several times before, and just looked at everything from above - so much to see here. Sagrada Familia is amazing - book tickets online at home before you leave. If you like things a bit different and you have time, try Opera Samfaina for an absolutely fantastic experience!
We did the Florence on your own excursion. It would be pretty easy to do this on your own via train, as the station is in the main part of Florence. Our guide on the coach was very entertaining and made the journey more interesting. Once in the town square where we were to be picked up, we had several hours to wander around. As we were there fairly early (market traders were still setting up) we had a good chance to view the alternative statue of David before the crowds arrived. We walked around for a very long time, and eventually decided to stop at a restaurant in a side street for a leisurely lunch before heading back to meet the group. It was extremely hot, without much shade in the town so take plenty of water.
A very impressive port with easy and quick access to the town. Plenty of bars and restaurants to visit, and a fair amount of shops. Roman amphitheatre and ruins towards the top of the town are worth a look, as is the cable car to get you there.
4 out of 5
We were delayed due to a medical emergency on board resulting in a detour to Vigo, so we were slightly later into Southampton than we should have been. However, this was managed extremely well and we actually ended up back in Kent earlier than we had anticipated originally.
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