How things change
Dr David West | August 10, 2018 | P&O Cruises | Azura
After 25 years we took another cruise with P&O. Things change in 25 years, so keep this in mind when reading my review. It was not the P&O that we once knew. The death of a thousand cuts expresses it best.
Cost savings have reduced the experience to ordinary at best. The loo in the cabin smelled. Gone were the lovely menu cards, the crew show, the welcome into dinner by waiters in the traditional dress when we could have a photo and drop a tenner to them discretely. Gone was the feeling of being welcomed (back) into the family. Passengers are now selling opportunities. Gone were the ever smiling faces, replaced by sullen deck hands and bored shop assistants. The photo team were clearly cheesed off with life and their system worked badly. Gone were the free coffees and ice creams on the promenade. You pay for everything. Gone was the classical music. The food was ordinary. The steaks not the best cuts, the vegetables hit and miss, the liver a disaster. The ship is not passenger friendly. Getting around it is difficult. Many passengers got lost, many of them disabled. There are few private areas. An attempt to relax in a lounge was likely to be interrupted by a speaker addressing an audience of six on diamonds. The talks on the ports are no longer delivered by experts but by a crew member more interested in selling excursions. There is no promenade deck to speak of. Gone are the loungers because the deck is too narrow. One cannot walk a circuit of the deck anyway which makes its name no longer accurate. There are some good points. The wine list was good and the prices OK.
The planet bar which replaces the Crow’s Nest of fond memory was fine, if at the stern rather the bow. The waiter and bar stewards were perhaps less skilled and too few in number but once money changed hands they could not be faulted. Cabin attendants were lovely. Officers were however invisible. I did not notice any Bolsover reps. By the way, gone was the band on the quay and gone their rendition of “we are sailing” – and the streamers. I am sorry to have to report all this but there is no point in glossing it over. We were OK. Celebrating a golden wedding with the whole family was wonderful anyway. We might try another cruise line in the future and will certainly avoid Azura. Madeira is a great visit and worth a separate holiday. La Palma is a little jewel. Lanzarote was surprisingly lovely. Lisbon remains great but Vigo has declined. Gone are the ladies shucking oysters and the friendliness of the restaurants around them. Hey ho. Such, one surmises, is modern life. Never mind. The CEO of Carnival Cruises who own P&O and many other cruise lines was paid $13,046,075 last year.
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