Cruise - Ocean Cruise
Azura Day Visit
160 people found this review helpful
It was in 2008 that P&O broke with tradition and launched their first resort style ship, the Ventura. This was followed 2 years later with the addition of Azura. Weighing in at 115,000 tonnes this ship even compared with the latest mega offerings is big. The advantage is that big ships offer a variety of eating, drinking and entertainment venues and Azura certainly does that.
Starting with the upper most decks you will find the main swimming pool. Having its own bar area, Breakers Bar makes it a great place to relax on a comfortable lounger with a cooling drink nearby. This is a family friendly ship so there are possibly times when adults wish to escape from children and relax in more tranquil surroundings. The Retreat was designed for this very purpose and is described as ‘An Inner Sanctuary Outside’. Situated at the front of the ship there is an area for relaxing on sumptuous loungers as well as a cabaña set aside for that all relaxing massage. With its own ‘Oasis Pool’ this is truly the way to forget the strain and stresses of the real world.
The number of venues to indulge in food if you want a break from the main dining room is impressive. The Glasshouse’, is a venue operated by wine expert Olly Smith and it shows, with glass cabinets adorning the area displaying many good quality wines at reasonable prices and it has to be remembered that on P&O drinks do not attract the dreaded 15% gratuity that is imposed by many other lines. Steaks and seafood are served here at a supplement but that supplement is low and according to people I have spoken with is ‘Worth Every Penny’. Fancy something different? Then try Sindhu, an Indian Restaurant operated by the Michelin Star chef Atul Kotchhar. Again there is a supplement and it is necessary to book in advance so popular is this venue. As one person told me ‘The best Indian food I have ever tasted’.
Moving towards the back of this huge ship you find yourself at the entrance of ‘Seventeen’ another speciality restaurant in which you can dine ‘Inside’ or ‘Al Fresco’. The décor here exudes elegance with tables of various sizes and several in alcoves. Pristine white table cloths, sparkling glasses and cutlery accompanied by beautiful crockery, this is the place for that intimate dinner. Finally if you don’t want anything so grand but just a snack, meal or dining in a relaxed atmosphere there is always Venezia, the buffet area with its large selection of dishes. Situated at the rear of Lido Deck part of this area is turned into Trattoria, yet another dining venue in the evening.
Cabins as on all ships vary in size according to the grade. What I personally like on Azura and indeed Ventura the sister ship is the open wardrobe area which also acts as a dressing area. This design gives a lot of welcomed space and even the lowest grade is 164 sq. ft. which is above that of many other modern cruise ships. All cabins, even the cheapest, are well equipped with Interactive TV, radio and telephone, hairdryer, refrigerator and safe, tea/coffee making facilities. All cabins are air conditioned. P&O are also one of the surviving cruise lines that still provide a variety of toiletries in the bathroom and bottles of water on arrival that are free. Whether you chose a basic inside no view cabin or a top of the range suite you will not be disappointed. Whilst on board I had an opportunity to visit one of the cabins specially designed for people with disabilities. They are spacious with no door lips so that wheel chairs can move in and out easily. The bathroom is a ‘wet room’ and again no door lip so wheelchairs can access with ease.
Entertainment lounges are in abundance. On deck 18 is the Planet Bar featuring an audio visual wall from floor to ceiling that depicts constantly changing scenes from around the world. A Duo play in here at night and it’s a great place to have that last drink before retiring to bed. On the Prom Deck are housed Malabar, Blue Bar, Manhattan and Azura’s main theatre, The Playhouse Theatre. The Playhouse is spread over 2 decks and has seating for 800 people. Fitted out with the latest is moving stages, lighting and pyrotechnics, just sit back in one of the plush red velour seats and enjoy the show. P&O shows really are excellent with the participants all being members of the Headliners Theatre Company. The other venues will play host to comedians, tribute acts, musicians and much else. One thing is for sure, you will not be bored on this ship.
It cannot be denied that this is a large ship and away from the traditional size ships of P&O. It is however a very popular ship and quickly building a loyal following. Aimed at the British market it is what P&O believe the British cruiser wants. Azura certainly offers a variety of everything so that there is something to suit all tastes and pockets. Gratuities are one of the lowest if not the lowest in the cruise industry. P&O allow you to bring alcohol on board for consumption in your cabin. Unlike most cruise lines there is are tea/coffee making facilities in your cabin so that you can have that British tradition of an early morning ‘Cuppa’ without leaving your cabin. There is the ‘Seascreen’ which is an open air cinema. A Spa area and for those who want to keep up the British tradition of a Sunday lunch time pint there is BRODIES, the on-board pub. This is a ship which should appeal to most people and which sails to some beautiful ports.
160 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.