Azura 16 April 2017

7 Night European cruise

Southampton, La Rochelle, Bilbao, La Coruna, Guernsey, Southampton 

Our ninth cruise together

Azura of the seas was our ninth cruise to sail the high seas on.

Cabin

R236 – Interior cabin at the aft (front) of the ship.

Royal King Size bed, TV, telephone, minibar, bathroom with shower, vanity area and a hair-dryer.

This cabin even though it was an interior cabin it was quite spacious. It was located near some stairs and lifts.

As we was on deck ….. we had cabins situated above us and below us making this a great quite uninterrupted stateroom.

Our cruise adventure log    

We chose Azura as we have heard so much about her plus we wanted a break a cheap break in April and this one came up.

Night before

Sometimes we love to stay in Southampton the night before so on this occasion we did.  We stayed at the Novotel which is a very clean and reasonably inexpensive hotel to stay at.  Plus it is handy to get to most places in Southampton such as the main shopping hall and cinema. Also a short walk away from the harbour so if you wanted to see which other cruises are in port you can easily do so.

In the evening we decided to eat at Ennios. We have passed this quaint restaurant a number of occasions when we have stayed in Southampton.  So this time we pre-booked a few days ahead so we could eat there.

The table layout inside of the restaurant is quite an odd layout but the tables are smartly dressed with a tablecloth and cutlery making it feel quite romantic.  The staff are all very friendly and welcoming giving it a great atmosphere.

The food though is the main attraction though with Ennios and it certainly did not disappoint.  Jason had scallops for starters followed by his main of pasta with sausage. I had a seafood soup followed on by salmon served on pasta.  All the food was presented beautifully and the food was very tasty and fresh.  I in particular loved the salmon as was so moist and the taste was exceptional.

So if you are looking for somewhere to eat and you love Italian then I highly recommend eating at Ennios. However Ennios is quite popular and so booking is highly recommended to guarantee a table for the night.

As both are starters and mains were quite filling we did not have a dessert tonight. Now that is unlike me as I love my dessert and always regard it as one of the main parts of any meal but I was so full.  So it was back to the hotel to chill and relax and watch some television before drifting off to sleep.

Day 1 – boarding the ship at Southampton

Today was the day we was going to be boarding Azura for the first time.  However we could not board her until gone 3pm as unfortunately that is when we had our time slot for boarding.  So beforehand we went to one of our favourite eateries in Southampton The Pig in the Wall for some lunch.

As usual it did not disappoint with it’s amazing pork dishes.  We had sausage rolls, pork with crackling and sausages served with a mustard sauce.  Each dish was just as good as each other making it hard to choose which dish is the best.

So if you are looking for a pub like restaurant and you love pork then I highly recommend eating at The Pig in the Wall.

The Pig in the Wall does not only serve up amazing food throughout the day but it is also a B&B so you can even book to stay there whilst in Southampton. They also have many other The Pig in the Wall B&B’s dotted around the UK.

After getting our bellies stuffed with pork we then headed onto the harbour to check in.  Whilst waiting in the waiting area there was a balloon man making balloon animals and plants for the children.  He even had a book with his past creations he has made from Lady and the Tramp to Darth Vader.  His balloon creations were amazing in which he created for the kids from crocodiles to dogs.  As I am a big kid I also had to get some balloons made for myself.

Please can I have a balloon animal Mr?

Once on-board Azura and safely putting my balloon hippo and flower in the cabin it was time for the fire drill so on with the fetching orange life jackets and must not forget my cruise Horizon so I can mark down what to do for the rest of the day from quiz’s to theatre shows.

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After the fire drill test it was time to dress in our evening attire.  We then went exploring the ship before dinner time and we came across a display of Easter Eggs as this cruise was sailing over Easter week after all.

Plus I also came across this piece of art. I loved it.

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We decided to make tonight special and eat in the Sindhu.  The food like any other Sindhu we have eaten on-board P&O’s cruises was exceptional from the look to the taste.

Plus we thought whilst we was waiting for our dessert we would have some fun time Easter fun and made ourselves into rabbits with our mobile app.

After we went and watched a show and played a quiz.

Then we went back to our cabin for the night there was a lovely bunch of flowers in the room from P&O’s staff as an apology for the last cruise with Ventura in which we had as of the lack of the Christmas tree, decoration and festivities.  I was delighted by the colour as I love pink and the flowers certainly did make the room smell lovely.

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Day 2 – at sea

As we was at sea today we went and played some quiz’s and the roulette and blackjack at the casino but also we attended a cookery show.

All the food during the cookery show smelt and looked amazing. Unfortunately we could not taste any though.

For lunchtime we went and had some fish and chips in the Glass House then we went and grabbed some cakes from the buffet area. All so good.

For the evening we ate in the main dining room as it was formal night and usually on formal night the food is much better and classier and we certainly was not disappointed as they had Beef Wellington on the menu our favourite.

Then onto the theatre to watch a comedy show which was being performed by Peter Piper.  He was hilarious.

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Day 3 – La Rochelle

La Rochelle is known as La Ville Blanche (the White City), La Rochelle’s luminous limestone facades glow in the bright coastal sunlight.  It is also a lively, sparkling seaside town with a great reputation for seafood, three urban beaches and the best vieux port on the French Atlantic. You could spend a day in La Rochelle strolling under the arcades of the rue du Palais, exploring the maritime museum or going to the aquarium.

Upon docking the harbour we watched the Captain from the decks giving his orders to his co-pilots.  He spotted us after a few minutes and waved to us which was nice.

However we decided to spend the day on the ship and relax, well testing our brains again the quiz’s on-board.

For lunch we ate in the main dining area.  We both opted for pasta.  It was ok but a bit sticky and luke warm.

For dinner we went and ate in the Beach House. We have eaten in the Beach House on a number of other occasions on board P&O’s other cruises which we have loved so it was a delight to see that the menu has slightly changed with a few new options. So we decided to opt for the new shoulder of lamb. When it came to the table it got carved in front of us making it a entertaining experience.  The lamb was delicious so succulent.  I highly recommend it.

In the evening we went and saw Tom Binns. He is an award-winning and critical acclaimed character comedian who works at International Comedy Festivals and does the UK Stand Up Comedy Circuit.  At the time he also had a new comedy series coming up with BBC 1 called Hospital People.  All the characters he played on the night was from the new show Hospital People.

Before the show started we was told all to write down the name of someone you have lost or your deceased pet’s name on a piece of paper and place in a box.  Then later on when Tom played his psychic character spookilly he pulled out from the box the name Snowy which was Jason’s dead cat so he asked who lost Snowy and Jason put up his hand. He then said to Jason that Snowy was a cat and was white and how he died. How he knew all of that I never know.

Snowy had a message for Jason and it was thus “meow meow”.

Tom was hilarious and even Jason. This show really did end the night on a high.

Day 4 – Bilbao 

Bilbao is known for it staggering architecture and stunning landscape.However Bilbao is most famous for the Guggenheim museum.  So me and Jason decided to go on an excursion to see the museum.

The museum did not disappoint from the outside the structure displayed art sculptures and the famous Jeff Koons puppy.  The puppy is also named ironically “Puppy”. It is 43-foot-tall living plant sculpture of a West Highland terrier.

The famous ‘Puppy’.

Jason trying to recreate a scene with the ‘Puppy’ from the famous James Bond movie as he is a Bond geek.

Can you name which Bond movie this scene is from?

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Once inside though we was a bit disappointed.  However the comedian Peter Piper we watched on stage the other night entertained us with his take on the art within the museum.  Sometimes I don’t understand how some art can make so much money like a big red square?

Afterwards we went and toured the food market La Ribera Market. La Ribera is Bilbao’s most important food market, because it’s the largest indoor food market in Europe. Built in 1929 by the architect Pedro Ispizua, it comprises 110,000 sq ft of space and market stalls. There was so much on offer from pastries to meat.

We also passed the door of the famous composer Juan Crisostomo.

Then we stopped off at the famous Fingerprint sculpture.  This is probably one of the most interesting and unique tourist attractions and landmarks of Bilbao. It is a large wooden sculpture resembling common fingerprints and located on the hills in the northern neighbourhood of the city.

This was the view from the top.

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Now back at the port and there she is the beautiful Azura.

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For dinner we ate in the main dining area tonight.  The food was ok.

In the evening we went and watched a show with my Strawberry Daiquiri in-hand.

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Day 5 – La Coruna

Today when we got off at the ports harbour to have a wonder around to our delight we came across Segways. We both love Segways so we just had to purchase a ride on them.

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However today was slightly chilly and before we stepped on to make our journey a lovely couple lent us their spare jackets as they could see we were cold already which was very sweet of them.

On the Segway we passed many parks, famous monuments, interesting buildings and beach’s. Plus we came across an aquarium so I just had to go back there after.

Don’t we look fetching in our hats.

So after our journey on the Segway we walked back up the route we came from to go to the Aquarium. On the way we stopped to take some more photos of the monuments and step on the beach.

The Aquarium Finisterrae is an interactive centre of the sciences of marine biology, oceanography, and the sea in general. It tries to promote learning about the ocean and to teach people to be more caring toward marine life.  It truly was interesting.

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I especially loved seeing the octopus and the seal who looked very happy in it’s enclosure.

This sunken toilet within one of the tanks also made me laugh.

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Plus the jellyfish was awe inspiring with their bright colours.  I could not stop watching them.

In the evening we ate in the main dining area. I did not particularly like the prawn starter but the rest of it was ok.

Tonight we went and watched another of Tom Binns show’s as he was so funny last time.

Day 6 – at sea

As this was a sea day we went and played some quiz’s before we went and had lunch in Sindhu.  At lunchtime the food is tapas style but still look’s amazing and tastes great.

Afterwards we went along to a class all about perfume.  It was quite interesting to learn the science behind perfume and how perfume should be applied.  Apparently if you spray on your ankles it lasts longer.  However how would people then smell it if on your ankles?

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There was a raffle after and I won a goody bag.  It contained a t-shirt and a few samples of perfume.

We then played a game of bingo after and we did not win but was fun.

For dinner we ate in the main dining area.

 

Plus as this was the second to last night of the cruise there was a chefs parade that is performed on all ships two nights before disembarking. This is a way for us all to show our appreciation for their service via clapping them in and cheering.

For entertainment tonight we went and watched the ever so funny comedian Peter Piper. Most of his comedy scenes were taken from British television characters such as Basil from Fawlty Towers. He also done some singing as well whilst on stage.  He was hilarious plus Jamie one of the entertainment crew was pushed about by him on stage making it very funny.  Poor Jamie.

Then afterwards as you might of guessed time for a quiz.

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Day 7 – Guernsey

So today was the last day on-board Azura.  So we made use of the on-board facilities and went and had another lunch at the Glass House.  I had a pie and Jason had sausage. My pie was delicious and piping hot.  Jason’s sausage though mmmmm not sure about the presentation of it.

Does the sausage look like a turd?

After we played some quiz’s. Surely you would think we would be geniuses by now but we are not.

We just had to get a photo with Jamie today the entertainment host as he has been a good laugh all throughout the cruise.

In the evening we ate at the Beach House.

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Food great like usual but I don’t recommend the ricotta crepes as I did not like them.

In the evening Jason had to get snapped with the dancers after we watched our last show on Azura. Now time to retreat to the cabin.

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Day 8 – disembarking Southampton

Today was disembarking day so it is the end of our cruise holiday and farewell Azura.

 

Highlights and negatives

Highlights

  • Balloon man in the waiting lounge at Southampton.
  • Tom Binns as he was hilarious.
  • Peter Piper comedian.
  • Bilbao ‘The Puppy’.
  • The Segway at La Coruna.
  • The Aquarium Finisterrae at La Coruna.

Negatives

  • No Juke Box.

Tips

Pre-book any speciality dining restaurants to secure a table as they can get booked quickly.

 

As we took this cruise last year and we was not writing blogs back then we have not got a complete log of our trip and this is written by memory.

Have you sailed on Azura before and what did you think? ?


 

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