P&O Cruises

Azura

Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

P&O Cruises
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeSmall

Insider Take

Overview

Currently being built in Italy, Azura Cruise ship will be the newest ship of P&O Cruises that will continue the tradition of providing high quality service in a modern and indulgent ambience. Instead of catering to family and children, Azura cruise ship will primarily target adults and couples who want to experience an exciting and unique cruise towards some of the most beautiful cruise destinations in the world. The design is a mixture of exciting modern luxuries and the traditional P&O Cruises features.Read More

Although the itineraries have not yet been revealed, Azura is expected to make her maiden voyage throughout the Caribbean and Europe. The 116,000 ton, 290 meter long vessel is expected to accommodate up to 3,100 passengers, mostly adults and couples. Scheduled to be launched in April 2010, Azura will feature an adults-only sun deck and single cabins.

Cabins

The ship will have a total of 14 passenger decks, and 900 staterooms that feature private balconies. One of the things Azure can be proud of will be her 18 single staterooms, a first for a P&O ship. In fact, it will be the first ship in the 21st century to feature that many single staterooms. Guests can also stay on a pair of larger suites, also a new feature of P&O cabin choices.

Ship Overview

Almost identical to her fleetmate Ventura, Azura is another large ship in the P&O Cruises fleet, with 14 decks and maximum passenger capacity of almost 3,600. Family-friendly, Azura offers an incredible choice of bars, restaurants, sports and spa facilities and entertainment, plus lots of other exciting and unique features. At the heart of Azura is an atrium, a very social venue that spans three decks, with a café, art gallery, bookshop, library, gym, and shopping.

P&O’s largest ships are also the best choices for families, with huge areas devoted to facilities for children and teens and a dedicated Wii room and a 20-meter plasma video wall. Although they are nearly identical twins, each has some different facilities both inside and out; however, it’s the outside ones that are most noticeable and make a difference in the cruise experience.

Where Ventura has bungee trampolines and a circus skills training area, Azura has the Retreat, an adults-only sundeck area with its own private terrace with cabanas and loungers. Azura has no cover over its mid-ship swimming pool, unlike Ventura. Instead, Azura has a giant Sea Screen suspended at one end of the pool for movies. Inside, the two ships’ public areas are quite similar, with a more contemporary decor than their older fleetmates and some oddities, such as no chairs for reading in the library.

Since 1937, P&O Cruises (originally the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company) has been a force in passenger shipping. Although the company’s suggestion that they invented leisure cruising cannot be proven, P&O is assuredly a pioneer of modern cruising. The company acquired Princess Cruises in 1974. P&O then purchased Sitmar Cruises and merged it with Princess in 1988, and the passenger-cruise business—known as P&O Princess—was spun off in 2000.

P&O Cruises is the oldest cruise in the world and remains Britain’s leading cruise line, sailing the U.K.’s largest and most modern fleet. The ships are equipped with every traditional big-ship amenity, including swimming pools, stylish restaurants, spas, bars, casinos, theaters, and show rooms.

Seven ships in the P&O fleet offer a diverse range of venues for relaxation and entertainment, including cocktail bars, nightclubs, cinemas, games rooms, and cabaret lounges. Enjoy live bands, dramatic musicals, and deck parties, cabaret singers, comedians, specialty acts, classical recitals, and concerts. Theme evenings include tropical, 1960s and ’70s, or Black and White Ball. Other activities include quizzes and panel games, with prizes awarded to winning teams. A select number of itineraries offer the opportunity to spend the evening, or even overnight, in port.

An abundance of balcony and outside cabins on P&O ships ensures that a view to the sea is never far away. Accommodations, from inside cabins to lavish suites, cater to a wide cross section of budgets and tastes. In the interest of passenger health and safety, smoking has been prohibited indoors, including in all cabins and suites and on private balconies. Outdoor smoking venues are published on board.

To offer passengers a variety of choices, P&O has adapted their fleet to match the preferences of their primary markets. Although most of the ships cater to families as well as couples and singles of all ages, Arcadia, Adonia, andOriana are adults-only ships. The Aurora, Azura, Oceana, and Ventura complete the P&O armada and welcome both adults and children. Following customer feedback, P&O announced major refurbishments for the Ventura, Oceana, and Arcadia in 2013.

  • 15 passenger decks (Ventura); 14 (Azura)
  • 5 restaurants, 3 specialty restaurants (4 on Azura)
  • 3 dining rooms
  • buffet
  • café
  • ice cream parlor
  • pizzeria
  • Internet
  • Wi-Fi
  • safe
  • DVD
  • 4 pools
  • children’s pool
  • Fitness classes
  • gym
  • hot tubs
  • sauna
  • spa
  • steam room
  • 12 bars
  • casino
  • dance club
  • library
  • Children’s programs
  • Dry-cleaning
  • laundry facilities
  • laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • No-smoking cabins

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
Ventura is particularly family-friendly with play areas, character breakfasts, and a children’s club with circus school
The Oasis Spa has an excellent thermal suite and “endless” current pool
Each ship has 18 single cabins
These are large ships with a high number of passengers and will feel crowded at maximum capacity
There are extra fees to use the many premium facilities and services
There’s a particularly high demand for single rooms requiring major advance booking

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Cabins
Suites
Accessibility

Accommodations are a bit on the small side. Standard staterooms have ample storage, a vanity desk, TV, safe, hair dryer, tea/coffeemaker, and refrigerator. Balcony cabins have a small seating area with chair and table, but only Superior Deluxe Balcony categories (and above) have a decent-size seating area with sofa and complimentary slippers, bathrobe, atlas, and binoculars for use during the cruise. Cabins have mineral water and a packet of toiletry essentials on arrival, and Superior Deluxe Balcony cabins also receive a fruit bowl, flowers, champagne and chocolates, as well as canapés once a week. Standard inside cabins have a shower only; all others have a bathtub. On Azura only 18 cabins are designated single-occupancy.

Suite guests receive mineral water, fruit basket, flowers, champagne, and chocolates on arrival; canapés are delivered daily. A bathrobe, slippers, atlas, and binoculars for use during the cruise are provided. Walk-in closets provide ample storage. Bathrooms have whirlpool tubs and separate shower, except for the two-bedroom family suites on Ventura, which have two bathrooms—one with a tub and the other with shower only. All have a coffeemaker, an iron and ironing board and the added services of a butler.

Twenty-five staterooms are wheelchair accessible.

Food & Drink

Food

Three dining rooms serve open seating breakfast and lunch; dinner is either in two assigned seatings or open seating. On Azura, three specialty restaurants require reservations and cover charges serving Indian cuisine, steaks and seafood, and “fine dining.” Ventura’s three specialty restaurants serve Italian, Asian, and Spanish cuisines. The buffets serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are also a coffee bar, poolside grill, a pizzeria, and an ice-cream bar. Balcony dining is available at an extra charge, and there is a charge for room service.

Entertainment

On the Azura, Brodie’s Pub and the Planet Bar with its plasma video wall are popular watering holes; the three-deck atrium, which has a dance floor, offers dancing into the wee hours. On Ventura, head to the Exchange English Pub, Red Bar, and urban-oriented Metropolis lounge. Deck bars and poolside terraces add to the many public spaces dedicated for quiet reflection or inspired conversation with fellow shipmates and crew.

Spa & Fitness

A rejuvenating sanctuary awaits passengers on both the Azura and Ventura with the full-service Oasis Spa. Services include acupuncture. The thermal suite offers mild sauna and steam “grottoes,” showers, and a hydrotherapeutic pool. Private, child-free cabanas, fitness facilities, and an exciting menu of over 100 beautifying treatments are designed for maximum relaxation. Azura can buy a pass to the spa facilities and upgraded amenities.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2010
Number of Cabins
1,557
Passenger Capacity
3,597
Crew Members
1,226
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.93
Gross Tons
115000
Width
118 feet
Length
951 feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
0845/374–0111

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