Last week I was on-board P&O Azura on a 7 night cruise from Southampton to the stunning Norwegian Fjords. If you haven’t cruised from the UK before I want to tell you how easy it is- we had booked our car parking and just drove up to the ship. Our luggage was taken from us at the car and taken straight to our cabin- not worries about liquid items/hand luggage/restrictions on amount of luggage ( this meant I could take 3 pairs of shoes per day instead of 2 as well as ‘just in case’ outfits 😉 ! Half an hour from the car to a glass of wine on the ship – perfect!
The first day was at sea; there was a huge range of activities to keep us amused, we chose to improve on our ballroom dancing skills followed by a pub quiz.
The next few days saw us sailing through the majestic Fjords. We took the famous train in Flam, this took us high into the snow capped mountains, we then cycled back down past waterfalls and stunning scenery. Another excursion in Olden took us on troll cars up to a glacier- wow what an impressive sight! We wandered round the UNESCO World Heritage protected port of Bergen ,the wonky buildings’ stairs were very amusing with sea legs!
Our last day back at sea gave us an opportunity to book a tour through the galley to get an insight into what happens behind the scenes. The team on-board cater for over 3000 passengers and 1000 crew daily-the scale of their cooking is incredible! On an average 14 day cruise Azura’s passengers and crew will consume 20 tons of meat; over 86000 eggs;16000 bread rolls;14500 bottles of wine and 12600 litres of bottled water! (source P&O) Following the tour we enjoyed a 3 course brunch.
The food on-board is excellent, we prefer the ‘anytime dining’ concept where we can choose to eat at whatever time suits us, many passengers prefer the more traditional fixed dining times. As well as the main restaurant we ate in some of the speciality restaurants Epicurean (fine dining £25 supplement) Sindhu (Atul Kochar Indian restaurant £20 supplement) The Beach House ( steaks, grills, ribs a la carte approx. £10 supplement depending on your choices)
There is a full entertainment programme every day, a newspaper is delivered to your cabin daily to let you know what’s on. (copy on photos)Talking of the cabin; the cabin steward cleans your cabin twice a day, its like having a fairy Jose just did it when we were out, just wish I had one at home!
Prices onboard are very reasonable and in sterling so no need to worry about exchange rates. Tips are added to your onboard account (£7per person per day, of you want to remove these and tip individually that’s ok just go to the reception desk) See the photos for bar menus
Our comfortable cabin was equipped with minibar, fridge, safe, hairdryer, tv. We chose an inside cabin, others have windows or balconies, which was absolutely fine for us.
There were two formal nights during our 7 night cruise, a great opportunity to don your sparkly dresses and dinner suits. If you don’t want to dress up that’s fine, you can eat in other restaurants onboard.
On the last night you leave your suitcases outside your cabin before retiring to bed. The cases are taken off the ship and you collect from a given area after disembarkation. Disembarkation time is allocated to alleviate congestion and works well. We simply collected our case and walked across to the car park to collect our car-very easy! A top tip is to take an overnight bag with you to put all your toiletries and nightwear in – I’ve forgotten this on previous cruises and ended up walking off with bits hanging out of my handbag!
The weather in Norway was expected- sunny but cool at times with rain showers. Up at the glacier was cold (well it would be!!) so you need to dress suitably for the trip, layers and a waterproof are the best options.