Please note: This topic is for discussions about sponsored events Mumsnet are recruiting for. It's not the place for promoting other events. If you do that here, we may well delete your thread. If you'd like to discuss hosting an event with Mumsnet, please feel free to mail us at insight@mumsnet.com.

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

LadyMilfordHaven Sun 01-Sep-13 22:12:58

i was selected, but i emailed my apologies about 10 days ago and rather rudely never got a reply so fuck off you lot

Willemdefoeismine Mon 02-Sep-13 10:06:02

hmm.

dahville Mon 02-Sep-13 10:55:48

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?

We'd love a cruise of the West Cost of Scotland, England, & Wales - there are plenty of wonderful ports of call.

I would like a mix of activities for my toddler - both parent led ones, e.g. an area for arts & crafts where all the supplies are there but we play along with him and instructor led, e.g. learn how to swim in a kid only pool. I think an instructor led cooking course for children and parents would be fun as well.

I'd love a lazy river on board, it wouldn't have to be that big and it could just be geared to the younger set wink. A soft play area would be good as well as messy play. We'd love CRB checked nursery nurses so we could maybe catch a romantic brunch by ourselves without worrying about the boys for an hour or so.

My perfect cruise would be one where the tours or taxis from each port were priced reasonably.

I have been on a few cruises, and as a couple you can head away from the ship and into the local town to pick up a cab without being ripped off by the ones that park at the ship.

When you have small kids that option isn't so easily possible and you are consequently ripped off and often considerably. The tours also were substantially more than they need to be.

We have done a cruise once with children (they were 3months and 2yrs) and though our children are now 6, 4 and 1, we would probably not do another one for the reason I have given.

For me that is the most important factor, as with kids you DO need to get off the boat. It is horrible to feel utterly conned and stressed about the cost every day of your holiday.

I would happily pay extra for my holiday for a guaranteed free bus to somewhere at each port of call. I understand trips to sights might have entrance fees, but surely it could be easy enough to arrange just ONE free bus to a local beach/park at each stop.

My ideal cruise would be to see the Northern Lights. There would be plenty of activities to keep DD occupied too. But the main thing for me would be great scenery and fantastic food, plus a good gym and organised exercise periods to help work off some of the calories.

I would love to go on a cruise, hopefully one day it will happen.

I have considered a cruise on several occasions The Disney type when the dcs were small and visiting the Northern Lights now they are closer to grown up. I love the sea am the sort of person who can sit for hours just watching the sea and to experience that plus sight seeing, first class food etc would be great. However the one thing that puts me off is all the stuff you read of nightmare experiences caused by tummy bugs spreading like wildfire, people being confined to cabin etc whilst I realise these are usually in the tabloids and possibly exaggerated it has always for me been the deciding factor in not going.

Manchesterhistorygirl Mon 02-Sep-13 11:50:47

As you all know thanks to my constant witterings on the previous thread, we've only sailed on Cunard. We've done two round Britain's, a med, Caribbean twice and several transatlantics.

What we love is that the nursery are staffed by qualified staff who seem to genuinely adore their charges. The staff in our last trip said they'd all gone to work at sea because they could spend all their time playing and enjoying being with the children rather than the continual paperwork they had in the UK. Our boys in return adored them and their time in the nursery.

I would just like to guarantee a place in the nursery, but in our transatlantic in July a member of staff had gone off very ill and they had to restrict numbers.

I like that the nursery is open pretty much all hours and included in the fare! We get a pager and off we go! For that alone we keep coming back, I love being able to enjoy our evenings just me and dh all dressed up and with little fingers in food, moaning, etc. I love that their are special meal times for the kids in the evening and if we do eat in the main restaurant the staff will still bring children's menu food from the children's tea menu at lunch for example.

What I would like is more choice of four berth cabins on Cunard ships (P&O and Cunard are sister lines, so I hope you will feed this back), there are four berth insides and then it jumps to grill cabins with nothing inbetween! The new fare structure makes it a gamble to book two cabins late on, although this did work out for our transatlantic and I would book the getaway fare again because it was so much cheaper than the vantage fares.

We've never felt ripped off by travelling as a family, we just do research before we leave and see what's the best option for us. I would also recommend that anyone worried about port transport looks at the cruise line they use too. Cunard, if docked at an awkward port such as Greenock, Livorno, Bergen, run free buses into the city/town centre, but other lines can charge for these!

My most important wish is the following - PLEASE CAN WE HAVE CUNARD CRUISES DEPARTING FROM LIVERPOOL! WE DON'T ALL LIVE DOWN SOUTH AND THEIR IS A HUGE MARKET UP HERE AS YOU VERY WELL KNOW! Rant over. grin

What she said ^^

Except for the Liverpool nonsense wink. Southampton is fine and dandy from Surrey grin

MichelleMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 02-Sep-13 13:25:55

Just to clarify that a couple of the confirmed MNers were sadly unable to attend at the very last minute but they did let us know. The reasons were due to a family emergency and sickness. They very much regretted being unable to attend.

StillSlightlyCrumpled Mon 02-Sep-13 13:34:16

Coming back to leave my review of what was a fab day, such a shame not everyone was able to attend.

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

We were very well looked after and given an extensive tour, which was great, it was fun to see some of the suites we would never be able to afford! The lunch was delicious and the waiter looking after us was very friendly, especially to the children.

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

We were surprised by its enormity to begin with, we all had a sharp intake of breath when we pulled up at the dock and saw the ship. I was also pleasantly surprised by how I didn't feel closed in. Myself and DH both thought that although the ship can have over 3000 passengers none of the restaurants felt huge or canteen like. Very cleverly done.
The spa looked great and I could have happily had a sunbathe on one of those loungers with a glass of wine in hand. DH was surprised by the size and equipment in the gym, he thought it was great.
We really liked the kids club and thought it really well equipped with in and outside activities.

What were your/your DCs highlights of the day?

DS1 (12) thought the sports court was great, he was fairly neutral about the kids club for him but I believe the wii wasn't in action! He thoroughly enjoyed his meal and easily ate as much as DH and myself.

DS2 (9) has some special needs, including hearing and speech impairment and he loved all of it! I could see that he would enjoy the routine of knowing when he could attend the kids club etc and we would be able to feel secure and have time to relax. His highlight was again the sports court and the visit from Mr Bump

DS3 (3) had a fab time in the kids club and was beyond desperate to get in the pools.

All 3 thoroughly enjoyed the day and would find it tricky to pick one particular point. It is impressive to see and they were all shocked to see just how high up we were at one point. It was a long way down!

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

My parents cruise 3 or 4 times a year and have been trying to persuade us to join them for years. They have booked for us to go with them and my DB and his family next year on Azura, so this was a timely visit. I confess my husband in particular had some reservations but no more. We both loved it. You could eat in different restaurants if you pleased and likewise with the bars. I like the thought of dressing up for dinner while my youngest child is tucked up in the nursery asleep.
The cabins (the one we would be in anyway!) are tight for space but actually had plenty of clothes / hanging space which is good.
The thought of waking up somewhere different is very appealing.

For us, having children of differing ages and needs I think it will be a great family holiday. DS2 can be very high maintenance, (whilst very lovely) and to get a holiday where we can all relax and enjoy ourselves will be great. The staff seemed very accommodating when I asked about him for the kids clubs etc.

Our cruise is for Norway and it isn't a place we could afford to visit under normal circumstances simply because everything so pricey there. A cruise will solve that for us, and the boys get to see a part of the world they wouldn't on a normal holiday. I can't see us using the kids clubs too much in the day, unless the older two insist on going, but almost certainly will in the evenings. I shall look forward to seeing what the entertainment is like.

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?

I would recommend a cruise to friends / family, but obviously it is not a holiday for free roamers. If you prefer to just get up and see where the day takes you it is probably not for you, but I can totally see we are going to have a great time.

Finally, and this is a huge selling point for me, there is no flying! I hate it, I go because I love the holiday the other end, but the check in area didn't feel anything like as stressful as an airport. I like the thought of just walking onboard and thats it - you're on holiday!

Manchesterhistorygirl Mon 02-Sep-13 13:45:03

Crumpled where in Norway? If you're going to Ålesund I highly recommend the aquarium, the aquarium shuttle bus from the dockside is your best value way to get there and enter.

In Bergen the Floibanen is great, even in the cloying fog we had. It's easy to walk to from the town centre, where the shuttle bus drops you, do not do the ships tour!

Oh and Gwendoline you know Liverpool is the future. wink

Puppypoppet Mon 02-Sep-13 13:51:36

I wasn't selected sad.
Where in the world would you sail? I would either pick the Caribbean or Mediterranean.
What facilities would you like to see on board? On board definitely a spa, a selection of swimming pools, cinema, a few shops, play area and a gym.
What activities would you, and your DCs, like to be able to get involved in while on board? I would like to get involved in short taster classes such as ballroom dancing and cookery, my daughter would like anything crafty and DH probably sporty such as archery, bowls etc.

LadyMilfordHaven Mon 02-Sep-13 13:56:08

Sorry Michele. Didn't realise mail was from you, thought was from the cruise folk.

SlightlyCrumpled I've just remembered your DS2's face when he found out one of the restaurants served pizza. grin

And yes, there was so much wardrobe space in the cabins! I think I could have fitted my entire wardrobe into the one in the biggest suite.

My DS thought Mr Bump was hilarious too, and it helped distract him from the the tantrum when I absent-mindedly helped myself to some of his icecream. blush

StillSlightlyCrumpled Mon 02-Sep-13 14:06:11

Manchester, we are going to Bergen, Gerainger, Flam and Stavenger. We are now more than a bit excited!
I should have added on my review that if we did not already have our holiday booked, we would be now pricing up for a cruise smile.

StillSlightlyCrumpled Mon 02-Sep-13 14:08:10

travelin I know! I do wonder if the culture may be wasted on him, if he gave his biggest smile of wonder at pizza!

Your DS' minor tantrum was nothing compared to lift button pressing tantrum of DS3. I think we will have to just take the stairs grin.

LaVitaBellissima Mon 02-Sep-13 14:17:54

Yes another who was also disappointed and would of happily gone at late notice sad

I am really keen on the idea of a cruise now I have young children but I need to convince DP, I was hoping to attend to achieve the day to achieve that and get him on side! I like the look of the Carribean cruise over Xmas.
I do think it's a bit of an expensive gamble booking a cruise holiday if you've not been before. I would love to go and have a look around a ship first.

I like that there are lots of activities for the family to do together, but also well run children's clubs so we can have a bit of downtime. I would like to swim and do some Yoga, DP would love getting out and exploring the stops, and my girls would love the pool and any messy activities in kids club.

aristocat Mon 02-Sep-13 14:20:47

Where in the world would you sail?
I would like to cruise the Med or to see the Northern Lights.

What facilities would you like to see on board?
I would like sports/games to occupy the children and a library for them.

What activities would you, and your DCs, like to be able to get involved in while on board?
We would enjoy swimming, bowling, sports/games, reading. I would love to just lounge around the pool all day with a book but of course this is not possible all of the time. A cooking area would be nice so that a trained chef can show new recipes/ideas for children.

Would loved to have been chosen, I didn't realise that you could have a day-trip on a liner ....... goes off to investigate smile

manfalou Mon 02-Sep-13 14:42:16

non attendee as unfortunately to far for us to travel so didn't apply but I have been on 14 cruises so is really interesting to see what others have said about this trip as I have never been on a P&O ship before.... I have been on a few smaller, older ships (Mytours etc many years ago), the Ocean village twice (no longer available) a couple of princess cruises (Crown princess the most recent) and a couple of Norweigian cruise line ships... the most recent being the Epic which is AMAZING. We took our then 10month old on the Norwegian Epic and was very happy with the child friendliness with the ship, I would recommend to anyone with a family to go on that ship in particular. Clubbing all of my knowledge from the previous cruises together.. this is what our perfect cruise would be:

- Cruise would depart from either Southampton or a close by country/port such as Barcelona in Spain. It would last 10 days and go around the Mediterranean stopping in various ports to include Monaco, France, Portugal, Italy and Greece to experience a variety of cultures.

- You would be given a specific Embarcation time: E.g Cabin numbers 1-200 embark between 10am-11am so its not such a mad rush at the terminal. Same for disembarkation... which I know is done but not particularly well at the moment. Families need to leave first or last so the kids don't get bored hanging around.

-Plenty of space in the cabins with the option to have baby items ready for you such as sterilisers and cots. Baby food available on board and the option to pre-order nappies to be waiting in room upon arrival would be great as they take up SO much space and weight in your luggage. The option to hire a buggy would be amazing too, although I appreciate would not be able to everyone.

- A dedicated children's pool which is manned during certain times for 0-4 year olds so older kids aren't messing around near the little ones.

- Ive always found kids clubs to be great with plenty of things to do for everyone but none of the ships I have been on have babysitting services for children under 2. A little supervised sleep room or playroom for under 2s in the evening would be great so parents can have a romantic feel, I would be happy to pay for this service if specialist baby staff were hired to do the job.

- A promenade for bike rides would be great, again with restrictions for use for families only at certain times of the day. Balance bikes available for smaller children. Being able to use push along cars on board would be great.

- A Childrens' eating area with child size tables and chairs, their own waiter/ess would be fab to so they feel like they're being spoiled.

- A small children's play area/climbing frame on board, bookable 24 hours in advance.

- More Family excursions such as bike riding, picnics and farm/zoo visits with the option of taking a picnic with you. Activity packs for the children to take on excursions that make it fun for them to discover the new country/port.

- Facilities to make your own sandwiches for the children and create your own packed lunches.... id be happier knowing id made at least one of their meals during the day.

As a family we LOVE to cruise and would take a cruise every year but as our family expands our funds decrease so its getting less and less likely for us.... However Next year may be a cruise for us again.... I'm starting to get withdrawal symptoms ;)

Nerfmother Mon 02-Sep-13 14:43:01

Ideal cruise ( not selected - saying nothing grin)

Would be a Xmas cruise themed like trip to Santa. Would have two sittings for dinner - children's meal and then adults and kids could then go off and do Xmas activities before bed. So, maybe involving two nights, first day midnight feast for kids while watching out for Santa on the sky and second night bed early to wait for a special pre Xmas visit?
And an outside screening of a film with wine for the grown ups.

CheeryCherry Mon 02-Sep-13 14:48:48

My ideal cruise? I have a few! New York with a few days stopper, then Bermuda, with a few days stay. Or, Antigua, st Lucia, Grenada, plus a few smaller islands. Or, Sydney, up the Gold Coast to Cairnes and the GB Reef.
For the children, I'd love a good size pool, with waves and not very crowded. Also, plenty of sun loungers available. A gym for over 12s - they are often for older children. A cinema with new movies. Dance sessions, 5 aside football. A gadget room would be cool.
All while I slob on the deck with continual cocktails smile

hermancakedestroyer Mon 02-Sep-13 14:54:40

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?
South of France is very nice and other european destinations. Also the carribean is very appealing.

What facilities would you like to see on board?
Swimming, spa, badminton, tennis, football, children would like a design your own dessert area.

What activities would you, and your DCs, like to be able to get involved in while on board?
All the above plus quiz nights, talent evenings, comedy nights, treasure hunts, fancy dress competitions.

whattodoo Mon 02-Sep-13 16:37:58

European cities/med would be a good starter.
Swimming pool would be essential, as would a good kids club. Variety of eating options, plenty of staff and comfy accom.

Anthracite Mon 02-Sep-13 16:58:21

As for itinerary, I would say maximum 1 sea day in a 7 day cruise. 1 tender max, and docking in town as much as possible. Obviously, this is an ideal.

The cruise we took this summer was chosen purely on dates, between DDs finishing school and DD1 going on a school trip to Iceland. We had a 10 day window. We were really pleased with our itinerary, although may not have chosen it had that been our criteria. The unknown ports were absolute gems.

We were not ambitious in ports. We went to a beach where possible, and basically wandered around and had a nice lunch. We bypassed the big cathedrals that the official tours (along with their theme park length queues) offered and stepped into local churches instead.

My children are reasonably appreciative of history and art, but they would struggle with the type of tours where you are given forensic levels of details, being a bit too far from the lollipop-wielding tour guide to hear everything as would I.

I like the idea of a cruise from Southamton but this inevitably means lots of at sea days as the ship gets to warmer climes. For a fly cruise, I would like like lots of interesting ports within a small area (to minimise the number of at sea days).

WalterandWinifred Mon 02-Sep-13 17:02:05

Previous cruiser here, but not selected this time.

Perfect cruise ingredients: children's tea, night nursery and kids clubs all included, great staff, lovely cabins, room service, formal nights, lots of traditions eg Ship's Log etc, so just as it is really! Except:

-better choice of cabins for 4, especially with preschoolers. Bunk beds are not ideal and better cabins are prohibitively expensive.

-HUGE school holidays premiums for 2014. Couldn't quite believe what we'd have to pay for my 4 yr old next summer.

-the 'no swim nappies in pools' makes sense but it needs policing. Not fair when some do and some don't. Are there any ways round this, like the Disney ships' pool 'ears' filters?

-bring back the little ice creams pots that were brought round each morning. I loved those! smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now