Escape the Winter for the Warmth of the Caribbean

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Review Details

Views:
468
Overall Rating:
Cruise Line:
P&O Cruises
Cruise Ship:
Azura
Destination:
Caribbean

Review Profile

Times cruised before:
10+
Age:
46 - 55
Sailed:
December, 2021
Cabin:
Balcony
Occasion:
Family holiday

Cruise Elements:

Quality of Food:
Entertainment:
Shore Excursions:
The best bit of a cruise is the opportunity to explore / see the world. Cat Caribe in Barbados Great as was whale watching by Rib in Dominica. Segway in Aruba good but take some antibac wipes - as the machines were not cleaned inbetween riders We got a golf cart in Bonaire to see the whole Island - Island Cruisers - brilliant
Staff:
Joseph - Great Cabin Steward.
Onboard Activities:
Sure the Jazuzzis not working just teething trouble and they will pack on the sports gear for future cruises
Cabins:
Riveria Forward Balconies great. Cabins great after refit, loved the reclining balcony chairs, only one mark being deducted for the shower curtain and the horrid flowery shower gel and shampoo (take your own!)
Azura's first Caribbean Cruise post Covid. We were perhaps lucky that we left before the huge surge of new Omicron cases
A lot of paperwork, tests, espensive insurance and forms to get on board - but it is worth it!
Much less restrictions in the Caribbean than we thought - many ports of call you could come and go freely.

Winter sunshine is great. Esacaping the winter – better! Ports of call great, Watching Dolphins from your balcony magical. Steel band and rum punch...

On our cruise the Cat Caribe excursion (Barbados) and Whale Watching by Rib (Dominica) absolutely made the holiday.
With easy transfers and flights included this is a great value way too see the Caribbean

If your reading this now thinking about whether to make a last minute booking - go for it! 

P&O's testing is done at the APH car park at Gatwick - efficient (especially if you park there!)
Generally P&O communication was good before cruise (accepting that things are fluid ATM) 
Flight was good with TUI. Some people paid to reserve seats to avoid being separated from their party - but not needed whilst flights are not fully booked (save that for some great shore excursions!) 

Although we flew back on Christmas Day (others Christmas Eve) this was classified as a Christmas cruise - I'd have been happy with the canned Christmas music playing week 2 - but was a bit overkill (IMO)  on all 14 days! The Ship was nicely decorated but think in future I might prefer a new years cruise rather than Christmas. 

Ship was only 1/3 full - great for deck space, lack of queues etc but did sometimes reduce evening atmosphere. (I.e. great band Steele often playing to a handful of people)

On one of the Sailaways where the whether was a bit 'inclement' P&O decided to cancel when other ships did not - a shame to be leaving a port listening to music on other ships!

Azura after her refit looks fresh and clean. New carpets etc meant that Cabins look smart once again. Our Balcony Cabin was on R deck (14) forward and was a great location. The forward balconies  (forward of the forward lifts) are not shadowed by the overhang of the middle of the ship. Given the amount of Smoke Azura produces I'd perhaps not be so keen on an aft Balcony if I had the choice
I liked the fact the balcony chairs recline, I hate shower curtains (perhaps these will be replaced in the next refit) 
Cabin steward Joseph was Brilliant
There were a few 'teething' issues - no Jacuzzi’s for the first week, bringing staff up to speed,  but was improving and P&O did a pretty good job given it was the first cruise.

Azura is not 'flashy' there is no huge Atrium, the MDR restaurants are a little bland and the food was traditional British and perhaps lacking a bit of 'finesse'. 4 formal nights and almost all guests made the effort to dress up - just such a shame no photography on board to capture it.
Drinks prices reasonable, although I think it would have been good to have a cocktail hour etc. In the heat an iced coffee would have been great but that proved impossible.
We did in the second half of the cruise find a great table and waiter and were able to go there each evening (there was only free style dining)  - it does make a great difference.
Extra cost Beach House was a nice change from the MDR but shame its extra cost - however the service there was great and nice to eat outside under the stars in the warm climate
Perhaps because of the Sindu restaurant I thought there were less curries on the MDR menu, a shame given the P&O heritage

Younger guests will be disappointed that the P&O social media internet package does not include Snapchat but was fine for us using Facebook and Whatssapp on sea days and in ports we just used Vodafone at £6 a day. [Even better would be to switch it all off but not possible for all] 
Two cancelled ports of call but not P&Os fault and they were replaced. At this time you have to be a bit relaxed with regards to exact itinerary.
Importantly we felt really safe the Protocols from P&O were excellent and reassuring knowing that the Ship would not go anywhere on a British red list and that all the passengers were 'in it together' - nice camaraderie.
In fact we felt safer on board than we would have staying at home .
Caribbean again – I hope so!
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