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Cruise Review: P&O Azura Caribbean 2013 – part 2

Monday 2nd December 2013 – St Kitts

Another stunning sunrise and it’s a mega hot one already this morning. I’m up and dressed by 7.00am and need to go in search of some breakfast. I’m not going to be able to venture far today as my left foot is swollen badly now.

P&O Costa CoffeeWell by the time I actually found time for some breakfast it was gone 9.00am and I had missed breakfast in the main dining room. And there was you thinking I didn’t do any work while I was in the Caribbean, always work and emails to catch up on! Why am I such a busy bee? The cafe is not for me so I went to Costa Coffee in the Atrium for a latte and bluberry muffin. That filled a hole.

As I ventured ashore I bumped into someone I knew and rather took them by surprise as they had no idea I was onboard lol. We walked towards the duty free area together, and I passed Santa on the way. Santa looked to be off duty as he only had his red velvet trousers and St Kitts Santahat on with a tea shirt! I’m not a lover of St Kitts and was on alert looking for the photo touts with the little monkeys, anything like that freaks me out. I was no sooner in the shopping area and I saw the men with monkeys, that was me finished and I was ready to do a u turn back to the ship. Unbeknown to me a police man had spotted my reaction and came over to reassure me that they were not allowed to approach me with a monkey and he would lock them up if they attempted it. He seemed serious! The Monkey men were not best pleased to receive some very stern words from said policeman. They probably scared me more after that, but at least I got a police escort past them! I saw the same police man twice after that and each time he asked me if I was ok. I had a browse of the shops, desperate for some alternative footwear as my feet are so poorly now. Next stop was some free wifi, the bars were rammed but I found an empty one out of the way with a lovely gentle breeze blowing straight through it – sheer bliss!

Back onboard I had to decide on a lunch venue and I opted for a chicken fillet from the grill which was quickly preceded by a much needed lay down and elevation of feet on a stack of 5 pillows – yes I have a varied selection of pillows in my cabin! I woke up in time to go back out on deck for the Sailaway party. Sailaway in the dark was a bit odd but cooler than being in the heat of the Caribbean sun. Neil and his team were on full form.

P&O Glass House AzuraDinner? To go or not to go? It was a semi formal evening which started for me in Glass House. I’m still undecided about where to dine, but I have decided to go the restaurant. Maybe for the last time but I will go. Some of my fellow table mates are lovely, others are not who I would choose to sit and be sociable with. My food was cold and the occupants of our table for 8 has not risen above 5. At this present moment in time, I’m in no rush to go back. I had a little wander about and then joined Garry at the bar in Malabar for the cabaret which tonight was complements of Shane Morgan. Young Irish lad who was excellent. Then it was more fun and frolics in Manhattan, well as much fun as you can have on a bar stool with poorly feet.

I forgot to tell you that there is no longer an ‘incabin directory’ in the cabin. It’s either info on the interactive TV, which I am lost without Mr C to operate, or in a ‘Discovery’ magazine. Why would have thought to look in there? It looks like a glossy coffee table magazine to me. Downloadable to ipad and iphones, which I might try next time I find some free wifi. It was only when I asked my cabin steward, Robert, where my room service menu was that I was informed I should have a look in the magazine.

Oh the dress code, lets not go there shall we. I think they should just advise to wear “whatever”, because that’s what most appear to do anyway. I know I am a traditional cruiser, preferring the more formal dress codes of semi formal (with a tie for gents) and formal – which should mean ‘formal’ But on recent cruises I am reminded that dress codes cannot be enforced and is only a suggestion. I will continue to dress as per the dress code, but to be quite honest short sleeve shirts and casual trousers is becoming more and more the norm on a formal or semi formal night in the bars and lounges.

TortolaTuesday 3rd December 2013 – Tortola

I was up bright and early watching our approach to Tortola and in breakfast before 8.00am. Lucas our waiter from July always seems to be in the white coat doing crowd control, and knows what a grumpy moo I can be first thing in the morning so always tucks me away on a nice table for one. Breakfasts have been the best meal of the day for me. Always hot, even get hot toast when you have a table of your own.

I was off the ship soon after breakfast and trying to get to Cane Garden Bay before it got busy. Trouble was there were only the people on tours about so I had to wait a while for an open sided bus to fill up. Bus driver man was nice and did an excellent job of rearranging the passengers so that I could sit on the edge to take photos. Well, I say I – he referred to someone as ‘pretty lady’ but I have no idea who she was. There were 25 of us on the bus, at $8 each so thats $200 he made before breakfast. Not bad work if you can get it. I found myself a nice little spot to the right of the beach. It was fab,Tortola the water was lapping right under my sun lounger so I had to be extra careful not to drop anything. I found the perfect treatment for my foot swelling. Let my foot bury itself in the sand and let the cold water lap around it. It worked, but unfortunately I don’t have access to cool Caribbean sea every day of my life. I amused myself by watching people come off the buses, walk through onto the beach, then the tide come in and drown there nice new holiday trainers or leather shoes. Some got awfully upset about it, but that amused me more. After all it is a beach! We were doomed with some rain as it came in over the hill, I wasn’t impressed so retreated to a bar, where guess what? It was ‘two for one’ for pretty white ladies at the bar! Did I want two rum punches at that time of day? Ok maybe I did. Rain lasted quite a while and the sun never really broke out again, although it was very warm. I lasted until just gone noon and then headed back in search of a bus to take me back to the ship. I was directed to a small mini coach, sat myself down and was chatting away, when Mr Bus Driver instructed me to go sit at the back with a man on his own. It was Garry from my dining table. I didn’t go quietly though.

Pussers Landing TortolaI would have liked to have been given the chance to be dropped in town so I didn’t have far to go to Pussers Outpost, but he took us back to the port. Time to lead Garry astray and educate him in Painkillers. Can you believe he has never heard of Painkillers or Pussers. Lol, I was about to teach him! After a 15 minute turnaround I was back on the dockside, Garry dare not be late and was already waiting for me. It seemed like a long hot walk to Pussers, but I blame my feet. It didn’t take Garry long to realise he liked Painkillers. Hard not to really, but he realised 3 was his limit and sobered up on Caribbean beer lol. Miserable woman is still in there serving. Does anyone not know miserable woman? She is scary. The walk back to the ship seemed even longer, oh and I saw a chicken crossing the road, which highly amused me. However, I’m reliably informed it was a cockerel or a bantam, not a chicken. I never knew there was a difference : )

There wasn’t really anytime for sleeping, just a quick lay down on the bed, before showering and going out for the evening. I went and watched a bit of Blame it on the Boogie before going to my spot at the GlassHouse bar for my ice pellar. Half the ship seem to pass by for a chat with me. I was joined by Garry, but only after I went and dragged him out of Malabar. Poor bloke, getting lumbered with me! I was going to eat in Glass House, Garry was eating inP&O Sindhu Sindhu. Like I say, poor Garry, because before long I had muscled in on his meal and was heading to Sindhu with him. I have to say, it was a fabulous meal. Garry was impressed – with the food or the company? Lol, you will have to ask him. It was 60’s & 70’s deck party but we headed to Malabar for the cabaret which was once again excellent. Superb in fact! If you get chance to go and see a young man called Chris Sullivan you should make the effort. It was a packed house again. I do like Malabar and it’s a shame there are cabins above because it would be a fantastic late night ‘Neptunes’ venue. After that it was another very late one in Manhattan which was mostly 80’s tunes. Considering I don’t do music I think I was winning guess the year that me and my boys amused ourselves with.

Azura AtriumWednesday 4th December 2013 – at sea

I had no idea what day it has been all day and confess to having to just look for the daily Horizon to find out. So what have I done with my day at sea? Well not a lot really, and that’s through sheer choice. Bliss! I was up and about before 8.00am and decided to go sit quietly in the Atrium on my sofa and do a bit of work whilst having a coffee and apple strudel muffin (yummy by the way) its so nice sat there, so quiet and peaceful. I was pretty coffee’d out by the time I left as people kept buying me coffees. By the time I left the dance instructors had arrived and it was time for a square tango dance class and I couldn’t see me partaking in that. I had a little wander to the photo display and back and then back to my cabin. Balcony Azura bedor bed? Bed or balcony? I chose bed and stayed there until 4.30pm! Now, you can call me lazy if you want, but it was for medical reasons. My foot is now so swollen I can barely walk on it. The cabin steward has cottoned onto my bad foot, or feet, and now makes the bed complete with stack of 5 pillows at the bottom end. During the day they are covered with the duvet, in the evening they have the duvet turned back – not yet complimented by a second pillow chocolate though. Mmm, I haven’t eaten since my apple muffin, what to do. I checked the restaurant timings and afternoon tea was available till 5.00 in Venenzia. Dress over head and quick dash up there, well as quick as feet would allow. I spotted my assistant table waiter, and it became a bit of a supermarket dash as he informed me they were closing. Mission accomplished though and I got myself two little warm sausage rolls. Oh I know how to live on a cruise ship!

On the way back to the cabin I spotted the cabaret from last night, Chris. I had promised to inform him of a song title. So that was duly delivered. Only thing was he was in the middle of breathing control. How was I to know he was holding his breath lol

Captain has just been into the cabin – well on the public address system he has, to advise that tomorrow we will remain on GMT -4, where as Grand Turk is on GMT -5. I wonder how many people that will confuse?

Formal night tonight so I had better check I’m not in need of a pressing as I haven’t sent it to be steamed. Oh dam it did need pressing!

I was out early this evening, booted and suited ready to go. Bumped into Neil and we had a little giggle about this and that and ended up in Glass House putting the world to rights with a glass of Pellar. But Neil has work to do and had a show to put on. Wilson, Restaurant Manager, came by for a chat, and then Andrew F&B officer. Im a right little social butterfly tonight. I then became fashionably late for dinner, I didn’t mean to be, but you know how it is places to be, people to chat to! I think I heard Garry breath a sign of relief as I approached the table – lets just say its been interesting some nights with our fellow table companions! A certain person was missing so it was all a little calmer. Ive had a bit of an issue with cold food the last few nights, so tonight what do they do? Send it to the moon and back to be nuked. Soup couldn’t be any hotter. I had the plaice for main which I will confess was not to my liking (dare I say too fishy ha ha) Oh boy did they have an inquest and half about that. That’s another report on Andrews desk in the morning “Jane didn’t eat her food and refused another selection” I just decided to drink more, and had an after dinner liqueur.

After dinner I had a little wander about but Garry was missing in action, clearly I am too much for him! Oh no playmate. No worries I can get myself into some pickles all on my own. I decided on a nice quiet drink in Planet Bar, but there is quiet and completely not happening. Little bit too quiet for me. Then I bumped into Nestor from XVII so ended up having a nice quiet drink and a chat with him. All very pleasant, I do like a good natter and a catch up.

The party band Changez were still in full swing in Malabar so I settled on a bar stool there. Next thing I know is I’ve got a man in a kilt doing the full on chat up. No worries, bar staff were on it and I had my own team of body guards, he took some shaking off. I had missed the Dolly Parton tribute in Manhattan because of him, dam! I went along to Manhattan anyway, but guess who followed! I tell you I do half get myself in some pickles. I spoke to a young couple I knew at the bar, but kilt man might as well have sat in my shoulder. Time for bed me thinks. I was offered a female escort out of there but I’m a big girl now. Just got outside and I realised I had lost the flower from my dress. Bet it is by the bar, dam. Then Chris from my dinner table appeared down the stairs, he had been watching a film on the Sea screen. I explained my predicament and he offered to go in search of it but we decided to go together. Said man did not look impressed that I had reappeared with another man! Seemed rude not to stop with Chris for a drink so that’s what we did until just after 2.00am, laughing and giggling as we do and enjoying the tunes.

Grand TurkThursday 5th December 2013 – Grand Turk

One of my favourite ports in the Caribbean. Nothing much other than a beach right on the doorstep of the ship. No time for breakfast today. I needed to be out early and enjoy the sun before it got too hot. The beach was perfect, deserted just as I like it. Great photo opportunities when it’s empty like this. I walked to the far end of the beach before heading back a short distance and getting a sunlounger in a nice quiet spot. Absolutely perfect! It was a fair while before the beach started to fill up at my end. I was joined by Garry who came in handy for fetching the beers – thanks Garry I do owe you : ) Talking of beer, I don’t actually drink beer but it was hot so a cold beer is quite refreshing under the circumstances. It must be crew day off today as half the waiters and cabin stewards seemed to be ashore and all chose my section of the beach to settle. It was lovely to see them all chilling out and having fun, but they were noisy. I didn’t mind butGrand Turk many passengers got up and moved on, clearly disapproving of their behavior. I stayed way too long on the beach. A Disney ship put in a brief appearance, but only to shuttle a medivac off to a hospital, so she was soon gone. I came back to the ship for some lunch of a chicken wrap from the grill. Where the ranch dressing was is beyond me. I washed that down with a can of 7 up (yes you read that correctly) and decided to head back ashore in search of free wifi. Why didn’t I think to do that first thing this morning when nobody else was around? Everyone was hogging the bandwidth and it was near on impossible to get online and stay online, so failed mission. I was so hot I thought I would melt. I was tempted to get a buggy back to the ship, it seemed like a trillion miles away. Into the cabin for a nice cold shower, bliss. I was drip dried in nano seconds and under the duvet checking the insides of my eyelids. This is the best kind of sleep!

Casual night tonight, which always causes me a bit of a dilemma of what to wear. No worries, I have a selection to choose from. I settled on a nice long blue maxi to hide my daft feet which are still suffering from and operation a couple of months ago. Usual spot in the Glass House, corner stool on the bar with a glass or two Azura Glass Houseof ice cold pellar. One of my boys has joined me this evening, and he likes my bar. Nice and cool. He doesn’t appreciate the people watching opportunities as much as me though and thinks the wine is more of an attraction, which I guess it should be really. I have two ladies admiring me from the corner of the room, well it may have been more my dress than me, but who knows! They were keen to get up and take a pic of me and my ‘hubby’ anyway. It really is too complicated to explain! I really did not want to go to dinner in the main dining room. I have tolerated that table and fellow diners for 5 nights too many already, but Garry convinces me I should so here goes. We’re not late, we were well within the 15 mins grace, but I feel the vibes! Yes, I’ve had two glasses of fizz, its called having a nice time!! I did find the time at the dinner table a bit of a strain. We are one man down still, which does ease it, but I didn’t come on a cruise for these dining politics. Retreat to Malabar at the bar with my Boys. Ooh thats better, bit of a show, a beverage or two and chill! No night would be complete without a stroll down to Manhattan until the wee hours. Oh how we giggled, about what I know not, well some of it I can recallManhattan but it was a lot of boy talk for which I had to cover my ears. My boys were on form tonight, people must think we are crazy, hey maybe we are? My boys were on stalker alert because they know that if there is a stalker about I will be the one to attract it, believe me there are a few about! Kilt man is still about, and he still has his kilt on! Pink shirt man has come into the mix tonight, plus a couple of other usual suspects.

So Manhattan is closed, finished, lights on, and still we sit there giggling like kids at nothing in particular. Chris decides its time for bed and he heads to single alley. Garry instructs me that if I wait a second he will escort me to the forward end of the ship. So he steps out of the room for no more than two minutes and what does he find when he gets back? Bearing in mind he left me in an empty room. … I’ve suddenly found two random men to chat too. He said I am the only one he knows that could find two men in an empty room! Ooh I do have some fun

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