Last trip before refurb
Norman Terry | February 7, 2015 | P&O Cruises | Azura
My wife and I flew from Manchester with Thomson on one of their new Boeing 787 Dreamliners to Barbados on the 20th March. With my wife wheelchair bound, as she is awaiting a replacement knee joint very soon, we landed at Grantley Adams airport in driving rain! After all fit aircraft passengers were taken to the port in mini vans and coaches, the disabled passengers were taken off the plane via a special lorry which backed up to the right hand front aircraft door and each of these people were lowered via a lift to the tarmac.There they were given either their own wheelchairs from the hold or borrowed ones. Each disabled passenger and partner/carer was then wheeled to taxi cars and taken to the port.There we were pushed to the front of the queues to have special check ins and within 10 minutes we were aboard the MV Azura. The ship is very ready to be dry docked in Hamburg where everything that needs replacing will be dealt with .Our cabin stewardess said that they will be very busy changing mattresses,the dining staff would have to shift tables and chairs as all carpeting will be replaced in the dining rooms.Some large tables for eight would be reduced in size to take only six people!
Anyway the ship sailed on the Saturday evening after the usual emergency drill at six pm and we were in St Lucia next day.Docked at the other side of the bay so a long walk to town or take the little ferry across!We were confined to cabin for this cruise so we didn’t get off at all at any of the five islands visited .Those being Barbados,St Lucia, Antigua,St Maarten and Ponta Delgada in the Azores.Didn’t bother us too much as we only came for the sun on the balcony (B deck) and the trans Atlantic ride back to Southampton as the islands are very familiar to us as we’ve been there quite a few times for our winter breaks.The cabin was a reasonable size and the balcony also .The carpet was dirty in places and was definitely in need of replacing.The mattress was still comfy enough even after five years of continuous use. Sealy is a good brand!!
We tried the Italian restaurant on deck 15 and noticed it had a charge of ?5 entry but the fillet steak on hot stone was slightly reduced in price to compensate for it! We managed to get a table for two in the main dining room for freedom diners at 6 pm a few times that fortnight , and the sirloin steaks were excellent as was all the meals taken there.The usual Headliners shows in the theatre were still very good but it is about time they rehearsed a new set . The Brittannia apparently already have new shows performances . I mention the fact to Chris the entertainment host that the shows were getting stale and he said that they cost ?5 million to arrange performances and costumes and sets!!
At St Marten the Azura took on bunker oil for the trip home and was joined closeby with the MV Adonia and also a Costa ship and an MSC ship and also a Norwegian vessel so the harbour was quite full! We noticed that the Adonia needed a paint touch up as the rust was evident in a few places, especially the anchor portway! A couple of deckhands and a couple of gallons of white paint would have made a big difference whilst in port!
We left St Martin in the early evening and sailed North East for the next five days til we docked at the Azores where it was quite cool
and cloudy.Every other day we had to put clocks on an hour so by the time we landed at Southampton the clocks had been put on by five hours!!After another three days sailing during the final morning as we came up the channel passed the Isle of Wight we were awakened by the ship’s fog horn every few minutes as the mist and fog was quite dense in the night. The ship tied up at about 0330 and all passengers would be off by about 1130. We had to make our way to the shore hangar to claim suitcases and find our transfer coach to Manchester airport with the aid of a porter and his barrow as our car was parked at a hotel there! The journey was a pain and it took 6 hours to get there due to everybody being on the road in the rain that Good Friday for some reason. The motorways
were stop and start .We said we would not endure that trek again in the future and would fly there AND back next time!!
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