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P&O Cruises VIP day feedback thread. Non-attendees: tell P&O Cruises about your ideal cruise - £250 voucher prize draw! NOW CLOSED

(133 Posts)
MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 30-Aug-13 16:27:04

This thread is for the 6 Mumsnetters who attended the VIP day on P&O Cruises' family friendly ship, Azura. Hope you all had a wonderful time!

If you didn't attend the VIP day you can still get involved by telling P&O Cruises about your perfect family friendly cruise holiday. Where in the world would you sail? What facilities would you like to see on board? What activities would you, and your DCs, like to be able to get involved in while on board?

Everyone who shares their thoughts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £250 Love2Shop voucher.

VIP attendees:

We have a few questions we'd like you to answer, but please add any other comments you may have.

- What was your and your family's, overall experience of your day on-board Azura?

- Were you surprised by anything you found, or didn't find, on board?

- What were your/your DCs highlights of the day?

- What did your DCs think of the facilities on-board?

- After your experience on Azura, would you consider going on a cruise for a family holiday? If so, why? If not, why not?

- Overall, if it came up in conversation, would you recommend going on a cruise to your friends and family? If so, why? If not, why not?

If you have any photos you took on the day please do upload them onto this thread, we'd love to see them! Please note that P&O Cruises may use these pictures on their facebook page, website or any other marketing material.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

MNHQ

Bubbles85 Fri 30-Aug-13 20:00:08

I didn't attend the VIP day but my perfect family friendly cruise holiday would be a cruise where the kids are kept entertained all day while I get to relax a little and have a break from day to day life at home. I would love to sail to America, although not having sailed on a cruise before i would probably pick somewhere in Europe first. Facilities should include lots of nice places to eat, places for the kids to play, a cinema, and perhaps a swimming pool too! I would like to see kids clubs and kids films.

Willemdefoeismine Sat 31-Aug-13 16:01:59

If you didn't attend the VIP day you can still get involved by telling P&O Cruises about your perfect family friendly cruise holiday. Where in the world would you sail? What facilities would you like to see on board? What activities would you, and your DCs, like to be able to get involved in while on board?

A perfect family friendly cruise holiday for us would be one that was around the UK and didn't require us to have passports. It adds a lot to have to buy and replace a family's worth of passports for one holiday!

Also the UK is so fantastically diverse that a five to seven day cruise would enable us to get varied scenery, climate and city/countryside experiences within a time-frame which would suit travelling with children (we would all enjoy that length of cruise and the new opportunities it would afford without the 'tween' family members having time to get bored!). I also think that it would provide a whistle-stop tour of what is available to enjoy in the UK: it would take considerably longer to undertake such a holiday with any degree of pleasure in any other way!

On board I would like to see a good range of swimming/lounging/exercise options, entertain and activities for under and over 10s as distinct groups, cinema (current releases and family favourites), family quiz/karaoke nights, bowling, opportunities for parents to have some enjoyable couple time without the children (but safe in the knowledge that the children are doing something enjoyable themselves) etc... Possibly activities on-ship related to the places one will visit - cultural activities???

Hope the families chosen enjoyed their fab day out. We were most envious!

HeySoulSister Sat 31-Aug-13 16:05:35

perfect family cruise for me would mean some cool things for my teens! teens often feel left out,especially where everything on holiday revolves round small children or food!

they would love some edgy activities. sports etc.

We went on the VIP day today and had a fantastic time. The only shame was that only half of the MNer's picked made it, you missed a good day. We were given an extensive tour of the boat and cabins, the kids got some time to play in the kids area and then a lovely 3 course lunch with wine. The food was beautiful, especially the spiced chocolate fondant. When we left the kids were given a bag of gifts, which depended on age but the DS's got a lunchbag, beach towel, toys, colouring set and jumper between them which was fantastic. We got 2 nice bottles of wine and a travel set of toiletries from the White Company which was nice

What was your and your family's, overall experience of your day on-board Azura?

We really enjoyed having a look around the ship. We have cruised before, and with P&O so knew roughly what we would find, but I was really impressed with the design and layout of this ship. It's very easy, as ships are getting larger, for it to become too large, and start to feel like a large ferry as the facilities like the buffet get bigger, but this has avoided that. There are a number of bars and restaurants, all of which were very different and had their own feel. All of it looked well designed and I could imagine having a very different evening depending on where you went, it wouldn't feel like you were in the same place each night.

- Were you surprised by anything you found, or didn't find, on board?

The only thing I didn't like was that the casino seems to have got bigger, and I really didn't like the way it took up half of the pub, with no barrier or separation between.

I loved the spa and spa pool, the treatment list looked really extensive.

I liked the fact that there are 4 pools and a kids splash pool as they all seem to have a different feel to them. I would spend all of my time round the pool on the back though, that's my favourite spot.

I was surprised at the size of the theatre, it's a really professional proper theatre, but with waiter service at the seats. I like that.

I also loved the large screen above one of the outdoor pools, I can imagine curling up on a lounger and watching a film under the stars.

One thing that always surprises me about P&O is the night nursery, they turn the kids club areas into a nursery at 7 pm and you can drop your child off there to sleep in a cot/bed and pick them up anytime before 3 a.m. You have a pager in case they need you but otherwise you are freeeeeeeeeeeee!

- What were your/your DCs highlights of the day?

Running around like a loon and playing in the Chicco Cars in the kids club. I don't think we'd ever see him, we could just leave him in one of those cars with some lunch. It's nice there is a guaranteed place for the kids in the kids club and that the area given over to it seemed pretty big.

- What did your DCs think of the facilities on-board?

DS loved the cars, the food, the fact that his ketchup was served on a platter, the cars, the castle, the dolls house, the soft play, the cars, the pool, playing with his new friend (met on board) the football/tennis/gofl area and the cars

- After your experience on Azura, would you consider going on a cruise for a family holiday? If so, why? If not, why not?

Definitely, the set up seems to suit us and the DC. DS2 is too young to be left in the kids club (he's only 5 months) but that would be the case anywhere we went. The fact that the kids club runs all day, and that you know they are on the ship somewhere and can always be found/find you is very reassuring. They also seem to do loads of different activities with them.

- Overall, if it came up in conversation, would you recommend going on a cruise to your friends and family? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes, for the reasons above. And also for the quality of food/wine and entertainment that we experienced and saw available on board. I think most people would find something that suited them.

All the photos we took were on the cameras/flipcam they gave us so none to share I'm afraid, sorry.

StillSlightlyCrumpled Sat 31-Aug-13 20:32:14

We attended today and had a fabulous day, really worth the 3 hr drive.
I will post my full review tomorrow as iPad about to run out of battery, we had a great time though grin.

<waves hello to the lovely SkiingGardener was really good to meet you all.>

StillSlightlyCrumpled Sat 31-Aug-13 20:33:46

Meant to say a big hello to the SkiingGardener, was lovely to meet you all. Hope my youngest' tantrum didn't deafen you allblushgrin!

It's disappointing to hear that half the people didn't turn up, we would have loved to go!

That is infuriating that people didn't bother to come. We were gutted when we weren't chosen, what a waste.

ooo do they do open days often? - I would love to go and have a neb round one as often we debate a cruise .

I was surprised at the number of people also on day tours. Apparently you can pay to do them but I don't know if you have to be part of their loyalty club.

<Waves to StillSlightlyCrumpled> Your boys were lovely, and if you can't have a tantrum when you're that size when can you? On another day it would have been my DS instead of yours!

that said the big ones probs never ever come to our neck of woods up north!

<waves at SSC and skiing>

Non-attenders - Did you mean to be so rude? Hope it was nothing serious that stopped you attending, it was really good fun.

DS's highlight was becoming BFF's with skiings DS1, but aside from that... grin

What was your and your family's, overall experience of your day on-board Azura?

I had a lovely day, it was brilliant that it was sunny.

- Were you surprised by anything you found, or didn't find, on board?

I was surprised by the shops. I get that they are duty free, but they just looked like boring airport shops to me. I was surprised by the gym and the spa bit - really well fitted out, bigger than I expected they would be.

- What were your/your DCs highlights of the day?
Seeing the balconies and the sports facilities, basically all the outside stuff. He liked the kids club and really wanted to go in the pool.

- What did your DCs think of the facilities on-board?
He was amazed that we were on a boat. I think he quite liked the kids club, but I would worry he would spend a lot of time staring at a screen given the chance.

- After your experience on Azura, would you consider going on a cruise for a family holiday? If so, why? If not, why not?
I had a lovely day, but I don't think cruising's for me. Great to find that out before booking one though!

- Overall, if it came up in conversation, would you recommend going on a cruise to your friends and family? If so, why? If not, why not?
For friends who currently enjoy all inclusive type holidays, and for those looking to have everything planned out for them, I would definitely recommend a cruise holiday.

Anthracite Sat 31-Aug-13 21:33:02

Not impressed that the selected mumsnetters did not turn up. We were very disappointed not to be chosen.

We did a Thomson cruise this year and loved it. I can't really think of anything they could have done on board to make it better for our family. The food choices were great for our children and they were never tempted to ask to go the the burger/pizza bar. They had their own drinks cards, so loved ordering their own whenever they wanted. The kids club was great (DD insisted on going even if it meant DH leaving dinner for a few moments to take her). The teen ice-breaking events were good.

The one improvement I would suggest is to have more family-friendly shore excursions. We had good ports, so DIY was no problem, but we might have considered a wider variety of excursions.

We travelled as a family of five so had two cabins. Adjacent (or even adjoining cabins would have been nice). Perfect would be a two bedroom suite.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 31-Aug-13 21:33:48

Snap - I was dead keen to see a cruise ship first hand without obligation. DH wasn't so I was planning in taking our ds's by myself.

Hope the ones that didn't make it are ok and didn't have any major catastrophes en route.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sat 31-Aug-13 21:35:38

Meant to say, if we were to consider a cruise I would want guaranteed sunshine and air conditioned cabins.

I would also need to know that the ship is stable and sea conditions would be good as I suffer dreadfully from sea sickness.

Faithless12 Sat 31-Aug-13 21:37:24

TheSkiingGardener - Can your DS2 go on a cruise at 5 months? I thought they had an age limit.

Perfect Cruise would have lots for DS to do, stops at interesting places and things for us (the adults to do). I quite like the UK idea from Willemdefoeismine but would equally love a Caribbean cruise that stops at Barbados, St Lucia & St Kitts anywhere else is a bonus.

Faithless12 Sat 31-Aug-13 21:42:18

IwishIwasmoreorganised - I've only ever been on a cruise round the Caribbean but the cabins were air conditioned and the ships are rather stable. I only noticed the ship moved when I was off the ship strangely and there was a huge storm one night, I only know about the storm because I woke up and decided to take a walk on the deck and the waves were huge. It does depend on the size of the ship though, I was on a huge cruise ship.

Anthracite Sat 31-Aug-13 21:47:19

Overall, if it came up in conversation, would you recommend going on a cruise to your friends and family? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes, I would recommend a cruise.

As with any AI holiday, you have a good idea of your budget. There aren't really any nasty surprises if you travel with a British cruise line.

It's quite an institutionalised existence - you have your meals at a certain time (although you can eat 24/7) you go ashore, you go to the shows and other evening entertainment. On your sea day(s) you fight for sun beds or take part in relatively cheesy daytime entertainment. I think I would personally struggle with more than a week to ten days of this, but it's great for kids and not unlike any other resort-based holiday.

The best thing, obviously, is being in a fantastic new place every day. You can experience this without the constant packing/unpacking that you would have on a car-based touring holiday. Plus, your travelling takes place when you are asleep.

CMOTDibbler Sat 31-Aug-13 21:56:43

I'm always in two minds about whether we'd like a cruise - we don't do 'sun' holidays, so the at sea days would need a lot going on to stop dh and I getting twitchy. And I wouldn't want ds to be in a kids club lots, so plenty of things to do with him would be what we want.
Area wise, it would need to be either Norway or Egypt/Jordan

Trills Sat 31-Aug-13 22:03:17

My ideal cruise would be not on a boat, as I get seasick. sad

My aunt's ideal cruise would be one where the wheelchair-friendly-ness of every stop and day trip was clearly advertised ahead of time.

Faithless DS2 is 6 months old in 4 days, and he could go from then. I think you can only leave them in kids club without you from 2, but you can use the facilities with them before then.

My DH and MIL have cruised lots, and the thing they always emphasise is the variation in cruise lines. Some are better at food, some at entertainment, some at kids stuff. Your lower budget end does tend to have Butlins style daytime entertainment round the pool, higher cost lines don't. On P&O we've done wine tastings, lectures, and quizzes as daytime entertainment and never had a problem getting a sun lounger.

If you are new to cruising websites like Cruisecritic can help decide which line is for you or going through an agent like Bolsover Cruise Club or iglucruise can mean you can have that conversation with people that know the difference.

P&O suit us very well because of the Night Nursery, and the fact that we like dressing up for formal nights sometimes. The food is good and the entertainment is our sort of thing.

Trills, I get hideously, horrendously bed-ridden sea sick. Last month I did 14 days on the Atlantic without a murmur. Medication is a wonderful thing!

Ok if I went on a cruise which I won't now because I didn't get picked to go on the open day even though I would have turned up I would like to go round the Caribbean or somewhere far away. I would hate the sunbed area to be over crowded. I would like somewhere for ds to play (9mo) so something like soft play for babies. Dd would like somewhere with painting! If there was a children's club I wouldn't want it to have a tv. Oh and I'd like decent children's food not sausage and mash or pizza etc

wibblyjelly Sun 01-Sep-13 22:07:09

My ideal cruise would be one that had plenty to entertain ds, and lovely food. I'd love to travel round the Med, and have plenty of time to go exploring the places we visit.

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