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Azura Berlitz Review

Azura Hero Image

Berlitz Rating:

Recommended:
Families With Children
Ship Beam (ft/m):
118.1/36.0
Ship Builder:
Fincantieri (Italy)
Ship Cabins (for one person):
18
Ship Cabins (total):
1,557
Ship Cabins (wheelchair accessible):
25
Ship Cabins (with private balcony):
910
Ship Casino (gaming tables):
Yes
Ship Crew/Passenger Ratio:
2.4
Ship Cruise Line:
P&O Cruises
Ship Elevators:
12
Ship Entered Service:
Apr 2010
Ship Former Names:
none
Ship Hot Tubs (on deck):
6
Ship IMO Number:
9424883
Ship Length (ft/m):
951.4/290.0
Ship Library:
Yes
Ship Onboard currency:
UK£
Ship Passenger Decks:
14
Ship Passenger Space Ratio:
37.2
Ship Passengers (lower beds):
3,096
Ship Propulsion:
diesel-electric (42,000kW)/2
Ship Self-Service Launderette:
Yes
Ship Size:
Large Resort Ship
Ship Size Range (sq ft/m):
134.5–534.0/12.5–49.6
Ship Star Rating:
???+
Ship Swimming Pools (outdoors):
3
Ship Tonnage:
115,055
Ship Total Crew:
1,239
Ship Wheelchair accessibility:
Good
A large resort ship with sedate decor that suits British tastes

P&O Cruises - Azura

Overview: Azurais best suited to families with children and adult couples who are seeking a big-ship environment with comfortable, unstuffy surroundings, lots of options, and a distinctly British flavor.

The Ship: Azura (like its sister ship Ventura) has a flat, upright stern; it looks like a giant hatchback, although its side profile is softer and more balanced. Promenade walking decks are to the port and starboard sides only; it’s also narrow in some places, with deck lounge chairs in the way.There are three main pools: two on the pool deck, one at the stern. There’s not a lot of outdoor deck space – unless you pay extra to go into a covered, adults-only zone called The Retreat, located above the spa. It has a faux-grass floor, private cabanas, and personal waiter service, but it costs a lot extra; it is, however, so much quieter that you may feel it’s worth it. A large open-air movie screen (SeaScreen) is forward of the funnel by the Aqua Pool.Inside, a three-deck atrium, with integral dance floor, is the focal social point, rather like a town center. Four large, three-deck-high black granite archways provide ‘gateways’ to the center. It’s the place to see and be seen – as are the specialty dining venues. Also in the atrium is a smallish open-plan library (that isn’t at all intimate or good for reading in when noisy events are staged in the atrium), including computers for Internet access. There’s also a Java Café for extra-cost coffees, teas, cakes, pastries, and snacks.Other rooms, bars and lounges include a casino; The Exchange, an urban ‘warehouse’ bar; the Blue Bar, the ship’s social hub; Brodies, a ‘traditional’ British pub (named after Brodie McGhie Wilcox, P&O’s co-founder); and the Planet Bar, set high in the ship, featuring a video wall.The upper-deck public room layout means you can’t easily go from one end of the ship to the other without first going down, along, and up. Anyone with mobility problems will need to plan their journey and use the most appropriate of three elevator banks.Gratuities are optional, unless you choose ‘Freedom Dining’, when they are automatically applied to your onboard account. Smoking is permitted only in designated spots on the open decks.Azura is best suited to families with children and adult couples who are seeking a big-ship environment with comfortable, unstuffy surroundings, lots of options, and a distinctly British flavor.

Families: Azurais really child-friendly, with clubs for the under-twos up to 17 years, plus a rock ’n’ roll school. There’s a Night Nursery for under-fives. Youngsters can also enjoy a dedicated Wii room, Scalextric at sea with a Grand Prix-style track, a 3D cinema, and interactive classes. Family shore programs include aqua and ‘theme parks.’

Accommodation: There are many, many price grades, but really just six types of accommodation: suite with balcony; family suite with balcony; outside-view twin/queen with balcony; outside-view twin/queen; interior cabin, and solo traveler cabin. Although there are more balconies than aboard Ventura, more than a third of all cabins have no outside view. Some have extra third/fourth berths that fold down from the ceiling.Most welcome are the 18 solo-occupancy cabins, a first for P&O Cruises, located in a small port side section. Also available are spa cabins, with added amenities and direct access to the ship’s spa, and two large suites for large groups.While the suites are very small when compared to those of lines such as Celebrity Cruises or Norwegian Cruise Line, they are intelligently laid out, and feel spacious.Standard in all cabins: bed runners, 10.5 tog duvets, Slumberland 8ins (20cm) sprung mattresses, and Egyptian cotton towels. Tea/coffee-making facilities are adequate, but with UHT, not fresh, milk. Bathrobes are provided only for occupants of certain grades. There are UK three-pin sockets, plus US-style 110-volt sockets for electrical devices.Open closets provide easy access, but the ‘no trust’ attached hangers can bang against the wall when the ship is ‘moving’. Balcony cabins have wooden railings atop glass dividers, green plastic floors, a couple of small chairs and drinks table, and an outside light. Most cabin bathrooms are small, as are the shower enclosures, with amenities by The White Company.Wheelchair-accessible cabins, which have a large, user-friendly shower enclosure, are mostly located in the front section of the ship, but one of the main restaurants is aft. So be prepared for lots of wheeling time, and waiting time at the elevators.There is no room service breakfast on disembarkation day, when you must vacate your cabin early.

Cuisine/Dining: P&O’s marketing blurb claims that there are 10 restaurants. Rubbish! There are five genuine restaurants (Peninsular, Oriental, Meridian, Sindhu, and Seventeen); the others are bistro-style eateries or fast-food joints.The Peninsular, Oriental, and Meridian restaurants share the same menus. Peninsular and Oriental offer fixed seating dining with assigned tables. In the Meridian restaurant, you can dine when you want, with whomever you want, when open – P&O calls it ‘Freedom Dining,’ although at peak times there can be a bit of a wait; it’s not open for breakfast or lunch. Occasionally, special dinners are served in the main dining rooms, one of which is a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs event.Wheelchair users should note that breakfast in the fixed dining restaurants typically ends at 9:30am on sea days and 9am on port days. To take breakfast in the self-serve casual eatery, you may need to wheel across the decks containing the forward and midship pools and a sea of deck chairs – not easy. Alternatively, you can order room service breakfast, although this is for cold items only.Sindhu is an Indian-themed restaurant (reservation-only, extra cost). It is overseen by Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar, whose specialty is British and Indian fusion cuisine. The food is cooked to order, unlike in the three main dining rooms. Table seating includes several alcove-style areas that make it impossible for waiters to serve food correctly without reaching across others at the same table.For the Glass House, TV wine expert Olly Smith has helped create a ‘Select Dining’ restaurant and wine bar. The venue offers seafood and grilled items, paired with wines chosen by Smith. You can also, of course, have a glass of wine, without food, although it’s rather strange that there are no decanters.Seventeen is a reservations-only, extra-charge, à la carte restaurant in a quiet setting, with plenty of space around tables for waiters to serve correctly. The venue also features an outdoor terrace for warm-weather areas.Venezia is the ship’s large, casual, self-serve buffet eatery/food court, open almost around the clock, with a large indoor-outdoor seating area. The buffet layout is confined, and can get congested. On the same deck, adjacent to the forward pool, are a poolside grill and pizzeria. Verona is a family-friendly self-service eatery.In addition, 24-hour room service is available in cabins.

Entertainment: The 800-seat Playhouse theater spans two decks and is located at the front of the ship, and is the venue for shows; with two large video screens on either side of the stage; the sight lines are very good from all seats.The Manhattan Lounge, a multi-function social/entertainment venue, hosts family shows and cabaret acts, and is a late-night disco. Malabar, another night venue, has decor based on the hotels on Marine Drive, Mumbai. Cabaret, live bands, and dancing are featured here. Meanwhile, the Planet Bar, a nightclub and entertainment venue is an activities room by day and a club by night.

Spa/Fitness: The Oasis Spa – located forward, almost atop the ship – has a gymnasium, aerobics room, beauty salon, separate men’s and ladies’ sauna and steam rooms (no charge), and 11 treatment rooms. An internal stairway connects to the deck below, which contains an extra-charge Thermal Suite (there’s a cost per person, per day, or a composite price per cruise).

Berlitz Guide © Apa Publishing 2017

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Azura - Introduction

Azura is one of P&O's most popular family friendly ships featuring The Reef - P&O's FREE Kids Club with specific zones for all ages, she also features adult-only bars and a spa! Take full advantage of the Night Nursery onboard and enjoy a night on your own with fine dining or even meeting new found friends.