Cruising with P&O on the Azura around the Caribbean
The Azura cruise ship is very tired looking, and you can see that in plenty of areas.
However, as a retired couple you can easily overcome that in your mind, and being of a nature of put up with things.
But the day to day things that you can’t put up with are;
The quality of the buffet food, breakfast and lunchtime is now very poor.
Items of food are allowed to continue to be cooked under heating lights above the storage compartments.
Toast for instance is like trying to eat concrete, and when asking for toast that isn’t in that state is met with looks of disbelief and results in one of the staff searching through 20 plus slices that feels a bit softer than concrete.
At lunchtime there are constant choices of curry dishes, and not very good choices of roasts, sometimes none at all for the English market. One can only presume that curries are the predominant choice, as a cost factor.
We only went to the buffet once at night, and there was 3 choices of curry to one roast, of lamb. If you don’t want to eat curry as your preferred choice, it is a case of having to put up with it.
They even run out of mushrooms after about day 5, and was hardly ever seen again.
The amount of fresh fruit being offered is also less than before in past P&O cruises.
One bbq buffet on the ship during the daytime on cruising days at see is very poor.
The food served in the dinning rooms was acceptable, but no where near as good as in the past.
Breakfast served in the dining rooms, was very time consuming, and sighs of exasperation from some of the waiters was the result if you asked for additional items.
At night time eating in the peninsular restaurant was very slow, and even after complaining to the desk nothing changed. One night in this restaurant we ate at a table for 8, and it took over 2 hours to complete the meal.
The entertainment was almost unacceptable for a cruise ship.
Apart from 3 or 4 acts, the quality was very poor.
The day time band was very mediocre and could just about warble a few notes, this same band was being used the night we used the buffet for the one time only, and they had a captive audience of 13 people.
The only way you could describe the entertainment manager was, like a slug eating a lettuce leaf, with the personality of a floating stick.
One night he couldn’t even remember the name of the act that had been on stage, for the audience to applaud, and had to go back and get a piece of paper to see who they had been, only for the
Entertainment manager to laugh at himself, apologising that he’d forgotten what they were called. Think everyone in that theatre cringed at him!
One day in St Martin, we mingled with passengers off the Britannia, and they said the same, that the quality now is of a lesser standard than a couple of years ago, as the same acts rotate ship to ship.
We were on the Britannia 3 years ago, and the entertainment was good, but the entertainment now is ………..again cost saving is in your mind.
Don’t get it wrong, there were about 3 or 4 acts that were good but out of 14 nights this is way below standard, and the majority of the rest was done by their in house crew, who at times would struggle as a good pub/working men’s club acts.
One night of the 4 decent acts, Tina Turner, there was a drunken women on the dance floor, with a very young child in one arm, and a glass in her other arm trying to dance while the act was on, and in full flow.
The audience was shouting off, off, off, she just started to swear at the audience to F off.
But the worse thing about it P&O did nothing about it, and just allowed it to carry on, spoiling it for everyone else.
The same applies to bathing around the main swimming pools, it was spoilt by continued acts of families having no regards for anyone else. When you complain, all you got was a shrug of the shoulders, and this was from P&O staff with pips on their shoulders.
Around the main swimming pool areas on one side of the ship is grossly unpleasant to anyone who doesn’t smoke.
How can this be allowed, as almost everywhere you go in the world today, smoking in public areas is not allowed???
Some people on the other side of the ship mingle in with non smokers, and just vape with e cigarettes, and are ignored by P&O staff.
The sail away parties were non existent, again organised by the brilliant entertainment manager, excuses were made because a couple of times it was spitting of rain, it’s not as if we’re made of sugar. There was a crowd waiting to be entertained whilst sailing away from a Caribbean island….the atmosphere was hopeless, no Bob Marley, no steel drums to enhance the atmosphere of leaving one Caribbean island to go to another.
A few times we were asked to be back on board ship by 16.00 hours, never understood this at all.
When in an obscure island in the Turks and Cacoise, we were allied to board at 18.30, presumably because this was a terminal owned by P&O and more purchased items resulted in more profits.
There are undoubtedly some stunning islands in this group, but this obviously wasn’t one of them, it was a refuelling station, having spent a day getting there and a day sailing away from it. Just a cheap excursion for a cruise liner.
All in all P&O have gone downhill, and are offering cheap and not so cheerful cruises.
This review is by no means directing a complaint against Bolsovercruiseclub, as we both find the staff there very good, and very efficient at what they do, and probably, like all other small operators need the custom of P&O
We can only review the experience of how we found it, and hope it opens the eyes of people new to cruising, as what expect these days from P&O.
Food, Entertainment and Relaxation are a main thing on a cruise ship, none of these were much in abundance on this cruise ship.
Again to reiterate we are both a retired couple, who have the attitude of having to put up with it, otherwise it will get to you, and ruin your holiday.
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