Wonderful Cruise Hliday
Ward | July 18, 2019 | P&O Cruises | Azura
Our cruise began 24th May 2013 at Southampton.Although we had been advised not to board before 1530, we were down there for 1230, and having someone unload our luggage and take the car for parking,We were soon in the departure lounge and I imagine the whole checking-in experience was over with in less than half an hour with no stress nor queuing whatsoever. On board, we were directed to deck 15 and had an unhurried buffet lunch while waiting for our room to be ready. A very good start. No stress, no crowds, no pushing. Really good, bearing in mind Azura was dealing with a max load of 3000 + passengers
The ship was big, very big, but easy to get around with multiple lifts fore, midships and aft. I was also pleased to note the ship had a similar ( but by no means identical) layout to that of the Grand Princess so we found it very easy to get around. Some people were a bit confused for a couple of days by the layout, but this is all part of the fun after all. Despite being at capacity, the ship was remarkably uncrowded, except, maybe, at the build-up to meal times, where most of the congestion was found around the lift points. However, this has been exactly the same on other cruises we have done.
The Cabin.(C 322). Or to give it it’s full title, The Stateroom with Balcony. This was the best cabin we have ever had on a ship as we usually go for a cheap outside or an even cheaper inside. With Bolsover Cruise Club handling our holiday, we had this beautiful room for as cheap as chips………bear in mind, we booked this cruise within 2 weeks of going………and to say we were delighted would be an understatement. We were extremely well looked after by our Cabin Steward who knew his role well and the room was always kept spotless. Tea and coffee facilities were there, and also a fridge in the room. Ladies, also a hair dryer, so no need to take your own. Flat-screen TV…admittedly limited in channels apart from BBC World News and Sky News, but there were plenty of ships channels and also one could interact with the TV, checking one’s onboard accountl etc, and also there were several films one could watch on demand, costing very little or nothing.
Waiters. The waiters were excellent at our table in the Orient restaurant and went out of their way to make us and our smashing table guests most comfortable for the whole of the cruise. We were on a table for 6. There were other tables there which could accomodate 2, 4, or even 10 guests. No feeling of being hemmed in or cramped. Really very good. The food was truly excellent and diabetic and other needs were taken well into consideration. Food concerns…..well worth mentioning to the Maitre d’……..(the dinner lady/man hehehe).
Elsewhere on the ship, one didn’t have to wait long in any of the bars and show venues for drinks. Even in the massive theatre, The Playhouse, there were no long waits. All drinks were very reasonably priced and an awful lot cheaper than I’d expected so I was well pleased by that.
Entertainment. Normally, this can be much of a muchness on any ship. On the Azura there was the usual reel to reel and Hollywood types of show which were good but no better than any other ship. A bit like One Size Fits All…….when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen the lot. However, on the Azura we were blessed with some fabulous guest artistes. 2 top notch singers….Rob Linacre for one, Peter Cutler….and a comic…..NOT TO BE MISSED…….Mark Walker, who was hilarious. No swearing, although to be honest, that doesn’t bother me one iota, but I know one or two sensitive souls reading this would like to know hehehehehe. Other acts on board were an Elton John tribute act and also a George Michael act. They both worked ther little asses off hehehehe. 2 or 3 good live bands on board as well. It’s a shame they came from mainly eastern European countries. I suspect it’s because they can pay them a lot less than English musos, a sad reflection of where our world has moved to right now. The cruise director seemed to me to have the very least to do throughout the cruise. He simply announced acts on and acts off…………a doddle of a job. Finally, the cocktail pianist? vocalist. This was one weird cookie, this guy. Of French extraction I would say. Very Flowery style but oh my goodness, what song was he playing? He put that many bits and pieces to his tunes it sounded a bit like a musical scrapyard or a piano on blow. It was even worse when he sang. I would describe his voice as being a cross between Al Jolson and a cuckoo. Enough said hehehehe
EXCURSIONS. Here is where the trips ashore are beefed up and sold in a big way. Most of these trips can be done under one’s own steam AND AT A FRACTION OF THE PRICE. However, covert intimidation is employed big-time, listing the many reasons why one should book the trips and not do it alone………FIDDLESTICKS I say. Use your own common sense and save yourself a packet. Let’s face it. Who in their right minds wants to book a WALKING TOUR for goodness sake at mega bucks when it can be done for nothing?
PHOTOS. Another expensive con ( not just on Azura, but on them all). We had some pretty dire ones taken of us and they weren’t worth the paper they were printed on. Advice…..take your own…..they’ll be as good or better than what they produce.
IN CONCLUSION. A magic cruise was had. Norway is always highly reliant on the weather behaving itself. IT DID. The Fjords were delightful, a photographers dream, a sightseers paradise. THE AZURA..Excellent smashing ship To find any thing wrong with this ship, one would have to be a nit-picker supreme or a Dickie-bow Derek. There are 2 formal nights where we all dress as penguins, but no big deal. I coped with it. I don’t like formality very much, but on cruises that’s how it is.
The ride? What ride? This was the north sea and if one didn’t look outside, one would not even know we were moving. Not a sick bag in sight on the entire cruise. No norovirus either. The hygeine measures aboard were superb and to be commended.
Never cruised before? Go on. give it a try. The Azura is as good as any ship to try this adventure. Cheers, playmates, shipmates, Bolsover Cruise Club.
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