Sarah | August 3, 2016 | P&O Cruises | Azura
Myself and family were so excited to travel onboard this beautiful ship. My little party consisted of my husband and two children aged 2 and 6.
We travelled down to Southampton by car and parked using Cruise and Passenger services car parking which operates a valet service from the cruise terminal.
It was so easy. We just drove to the terminal where our car was taken from us and our luggage was swiftly taken by the porters. We did not see the luggage again until we arrived at our cabin.
We did not have to wait long in the departure lounge before we were called to check in for our sailing. As we walked to the ship a quick picture was taken which we kept as a lovely keep sake.
We arrived at our cabin which was a 4 birth inside. The children were really excited with the bunk beds which are pulled down from the wall at night and then back up again in the day for extra space in the cabin.
The cabin was lovely and clean and had White Company toiletries ready for us to use. In the cabin waiting for us were welcome balloons for the children and jelly beans. There was also our daily ship activity programme as well as the children??s club registration form and programme of events.
This is an amazing ship for families of all ages. Our cabin was at the aft of the ship so was perfectly placed for the children??s club and buffet restaurants.
We registered the children with the children??s clubs. They were in different rooms because of their ages. It was the choice of our children if they wanted to use the clubs but after a couple of sessions they could not wait to go every day. The clubs were open from 9am to 1pm then from 2pm to 5pm then 6pm to 12am. They entertained them wonderfully and the staff were so friendly and interested in the children. They had theme days for example Pirate day where they all had their faces painted and went to the show lounge for a Pirate show and party. They did craft, cooking and the facilities in both rooms were excellent with soft play areas, comfy area with bean bags for watching films and activity areas. There was also a small paddling pool accessed from both these rooms.
Although I had younger children I noticed the older age groups and teens had excellent rooms and all looked like they were having a wonderful time.
We used the children??s tea most days which was at 5pm. This was offered in the buffet restaurant and featured all the food that children love. This also gave us the opportunity to dine in the main restaurants later in the evening without the children as they could then go to the clubs.
Our itinerary was Stavanger, Olden, Skjolden & Bergen. The weather was fantastic even for August. Which meant we were on deck and in the pools every day. The Lido deck is a great place in the day with 2 pools, bars and a variety of places to eat including the buffet, grills with burgers etc. and freshly made Pizza’s.
Norway is such a relaxing itinerary and all the ports are so breath-taking. Stavanger is a busy town with lots of shops and things to do. Olden is really pretty and many people do the shore excursion to the glacier from here. We took an open top bus trip that left from the port side. The journey to a beautiful lake takes in views of waterfalls and glaciers.
Bergen is the capital of the fjords and there is so much to see. We took a road train tour to the top of Bergen to see amazing views. You can also take the cable cars or funicular to the top of the city. Another must is a visit to the fish market which is more like visiting an aquarium.
The ship caters for all ages and has a diverse variety of entertainment. We really enjoyed the big show productions in the main theatre. They always have two showings to make sure both of the dining times can get to the shows. We really enjoyed the Planet Bar. This is like a crow??s nest bar and has wonderful views out to sea. This is all the better at night with a cocktail. They had an excellent singer in this bar which created a sophisticated atmosphere. We also went to the Sea Screen on deck to watch films. In the evening when it??s a little cooler outside there are plenty of blankets provided. You can also order popcorn and drinks.
The food was always to a good standard. We opted for Freedom dining to give us flexibility with the children. We did sometimes go to the restaurant at the busiest time so needed a pager to call us when our table was ready.
My regrets are we ran out of days so did not get chance to eat in any of the speciality restaurants or spend any time in the Retreat.
Although it would have been nice to have the option to just purchase a day pass to use the retreat rather than having to book a complete spa package which was over ?200.We did use the adult only pool and sauna though one day which are free of charge.
The general feel of the ship is luxurious but friendly and it definitely caters for all types of people.
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