Azura to Venice
Jacqueline Arnold | December 17, 2017 | P&O Cruises | Azura
Cruise to Venice on Aura deck 14 balcony cabin?? a shortish review??.
Lovely cruise, lovely ship Azura ( bit busy in places but we avoided the crowds with ease) no drop in standards since auto tipping. Excellent entertainment. Shops still selling the same items they have done for over 10 years?? Spa still expensive.
New Duty Free shop that says it will refund the difference if you find the same thing ashore that you have already purchased for less. Met a couple who did get a refund on drink they brought, saw it cheaper in Gib , that they took a photo and showed the shop that it was cheaper in Gib so it works. They got ?13 back on two bottles they brought.
Deck BBQ and Chocoholics still taking place??.. only went to the BBQ cant comment on the chocy holics as we never go. ( been once in 17 years)
I wont go on about Azura just PM me any questions.
Heres the longer version
16th June??Having stayed overnight in Southampton we arrived fresh and early to check in??
Sailaway was due to be at 4.30 but due to high winds Capt Keith said we would instead sail off at 7.30?? so the sailaway party just faded out !!! quite strange really. But we watched the Independence sail off and was being rocked by the wind !!!!!!! strange as we caught them up later in the cruise and beat them to Gib?? maybe Azura has a better top speed not sure anyway??
Days at sea..
First two sea days were a bit misty but the sun did try to peek out and we did manage to sit out in a sheltered spot??.
For those interested the guest day time speaker was Chris Jones FRGS,, wildlife and wildlife travel talks?? very interesting and packed house every morning ( get there early)
So sea days were room service??.. prom deck walk around??. Morning coffee?? If Java is packed the Glass House does lovely coffee now??. The tables on the left side of Java are now for customers of Java( there is a sign saying this on the tables) only and not those knitting and reading the Peoples Friend. After the talk we would then have lunch in the Meridian dining room which unlike the other MDR now does a light lunch buffet style. Soup of the day ( two soups? We were asked as we arrive !! )?? lovely selection or bread and rolls?? serve yourself ?? Salad ( ham, prawns, beef and chicken)?? carvery?? rolls and wraps?? desserts and cheese and biscuits . Wine waiter for drinks. You are shown to a seat once you have got a plate of food all very civilised.. and a nice option.
After lunch its time to find a sun bed with a book for a read ( snooze) for the afternoon. Quiet deck area is the Terrace Pool .. deck 15 ??plus 17 ..19 quite areas. The Coral Pool ??has very loud background music !!! and Aqua Pool has the sea screen which had footy or tennis on. We never had trouble finding a quiet sun bed.
Best still we were on deck 14 which has a door out onto the Terrace pool from the corridor.
We were Freedom dining which after 17 years of Club was a nice change. We had tried it before on Azura on a 7 nighter but for longer it still worked well. Bill finds now that 8.30 can be too late and we both think 6.30 too early?? Plus often neither of us really finds we want yet another 3-4 course dinner night after night ?? so we enjoyed using the Buffet theme nights. They really make it nice up there .. nice table mats etc and wine waiter plus the a window seat so it too made a nice change. A few times we had large lunches either ashore or on board so a lighter dinner now suits us ( must be age !! ) We eat twice in Sindu and twice in 17 .. trying both menus . We also loved The Glass House which is open for lunch and dinner it??s the same menu We didn??t try the Supper Club as again this was a large dinner !!! but maybe next time… So really each day for us was different which made a lovely change and really added to the feeling of pleasing ourselves what and when we did it.
Evenings were a mixture of Shows?? all excellent . Comdeian Peter Piper?? Magician comedian Mauel ( something) and two young ladies with violins who again I cant remember right now their names ( age)?? anyway all the shows we saw we enjoyed . We also watched a film on the Sea Screen for those who don??t know they put special cushions on the sunbeds that have a pillow attached and hand out fleece blankets to snuggle under?? But for most of the cruise was either showing football or Wimbledon??. Which is nice for those who wanted to see it.
Port days :
Gibralter?? Independence berthed just after us despite us leaving three hours after her.. but getting off Azura is a chore 3000 all trying to get off at once?? so we let the crowds go and then walked into town for the Post Office shopping ( Bill collects the stamp packs from there ) I wanted some smellies??. So after a dash around the shop a quick coffee we walked back in time to leave??. I do wish we could have longer.
22nd June Katakolon?? Here we went for a very long walk along the shops and on to the beach??.. whew when we turned round we had walked further then we thought so we wandered back and stopped for long lunch at one of the many restaurants along the harbour edge.
23rd June Corfu. Here we booked a full day tour?? The Best of Corfu and its to be recommended . We visited The Virgin Mary Monastery followed by the resort of Paleokastritas where we had an ice cream and wander along the sea front. Then on to The Achilleion Palace followed by a traditional Greek lunch with Greek dancing?? the food was excellent and there was as much of it and the wine as you wanted?? We were then taken to Corfu old town for a brief overview then we had a bit of free time so we stopped off for iced coffee?? which was the best ever ??. Then it was time to be taken back to the ship.
24th June Dubronik?? Here we had an early departure ?? so as it was expected to be hot there we were up early and off the ship to be in town for 8.30 it was worth it as it was so quiet?? the stall holders were just getting everything ready but many shops and stalls were selling to locals already?? we found Buza ( for location just Google Buza Dubrovnik) ?? now this is a funny story . On our first visit in 2000 we saw a cardboard sign on a back street saying COLD DRINKS and an arrow?? so intrigued we followed it. It took us to to another cardboard sign pointing through an archway in the city walls and on the the cliff side where a small bar was serving just cold drinks . We have since returned to this bar in 2004 and 2008 and in 2008 they upgraded to a varnished wooden sign saying Cold drinks.. and this year they have a board with their name BUZA in the square advertising them. So for cold drinks and the best view across the water??. In a cool breeze follow the signs.
Anyway it was boiling hot over 80 in the back streets so we gave up around 11am and wandered back through what was now packed main streets ?? and got the shuttle back to the ship.
25th June 26th June Venice. What can I say?? the sail was , as expected amazing. We sat on our balcony with breakfast and enjoyed every bit of the view across the early morning mist and hustle and bustle of rush hour in Venice. The shuttle is ?8.00 one way and there were various all day and two day unlimited trips tickets available for it. But we walked across the car park to the mono rail PEOPLE MOVER?? for one EURO ( take coins) its unmanned station and unmanned train?? and in seconds you are whisked into Venice?? well the bus station. Here you can walk to the water bus stop and get a water bus where ever you want to go. We walked over the new bridge and from here its an easy walk to the Rialto Bridge then on to St Marks Square. You just follow the signs its so very easy to do?? From St Marks we walked to the Accadamia and on route stopped for lunch and what Bill is calling Killer Pizza. We ordered Pizza and it was huge !!! but really melt in the mouth ?? bottle of wine and coffee?? we then wandered back to the ship both full to burst ?? stopping for an ice cream and Bellini( drink)on the way back. What was nice was it was an two day visit so we were really late back.. but didn??t have to look at the time?? so I hope they do this again?? we must have got back about 7pm?? exhausted ??..via the People mover again.
Day Two we had a morning trip to Murano and Burano.. Murano .. Off on a tourist motor launch we were taken to see the glass blowers working and into the factory shop?? but there was some very expensive items for sale there was also pendants and smaller items available. Then on to Burano .. really we were taken to see a lace shop with a brief explanation on how they used to make lace here. Most of what was for sale I have seen back home!!! And on many packets of table clothes the contents labels were in English and the Made in ( China) bit was torn off?? Its all quite obvious I think most ladies recognised the items?? Loo roll covers and Christmas table cloths you know the thing??we then sailed on to Burano
Burano was lovely?? brightly painted houses little waterways rather like a mini Venice.. made me think of The Prisoner the old TV show, not the person?? (not sure why) and well worth the visit. Just avoid the Lace bit ?? The ride out to the islands was amazing . seeing another side of Venice and from the waterways. On our sail back one of the Norwegian Cruise lines ships was being tugged in it looked so out of place with all us small boats on the water way coming into Venice and an idea of what Azura must have looked like to those on the shore.
27th June Korcula
Another early departure so it was a mad dash for the tender tickets ?? once ashore we did the walk around the walled town,( its like a mini version of Dubrovnik) which is a delight. You can visit Marco Polos house but as they still cant prove if he really was born here or not we gave it a miss when we saw the queue. We sat and had a coffee over looking the lovely blue water then went off to join the queue to get a tender to get back as we were leaving just after 2pm Shame as if you had wanted lunch ashore there really wasn??t time. We had a lovely drink on the water side caf?? but the service was Mediterranean slow style so lunch would have been out of the question. By the time we were back at the tender so were the trips so there were long queues but they did run 6 tenders but really for the early departure they had to , to get everyone back on time.
30th June Malaga
Another early departure and the arrival was held up due to us trying to dock at an odd angle !!! which they said was a technical fault !! funny when men cant park its technical .. I will say no more?? but this resulted in 3000 people jamming the walkways to get off !! which was pointless as once off they then had to queue in the heat for three shuttle buses??( they were told to wait on board !! ). So we sat in the atrium until the rush went the walked off and got straight on a bus ?? since we last visited there is now a nice covered walk way from the drop off point to the heart of the shopping area. As we only had limited time here we only managed a short walk around coffee then back to yet another long queue to rush back for a early departure.
Southampton??. We sailed back alongside Oceana the night before very close you could see flashes as people were taking photos and we arrived early morning with the others ships realy for the 175th sail out. The atrium was festooned with flags ready to welcome those on board. We berthed along side the Patricia which was getting ready for Princess Anne. We had been told the helicopter would be over head as we arrived and we had heard it buzzing about but the mist would blow down the up again so it had to dodge the mist to get any photos or film. They planned to sell photos of the arrival in the photo shop from 7.30 but we didn??t bother to buy one they are all on the internet anyway.
We had been asked a few days before to tell Reception what time slot we wanted to disembark, We asked for 8.30 that was booked so we went with 8.40 . NO coloured cards as before you get a letter telling you in large letters what room to wait in and the time and everything else you need to know for disembarkation.
To sum up.. Azura is a large ship BUT its easy to avoid the crowds if you want a quiet holiday and if you want to be part of the buzz on board you can do so?? We prefer quiet so opted to sit on the Terrace deck??and Freedom dining meant we could pick which show and evening event to go to .. again to avoid the crowds and could enjoy a drink in the Planet Bar before it got busy there?? I think I would say Azura has something for every one ..If you can get a balcony to get the best from the cruise experience.
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