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P&O Azura is to launch with Added Spice!

Britain’s newest superliner to launch with added spice

A number of new innovations combined with a refined and modern interpretation of the classic cruise experience will be the defining qualities for the latest superliner from P&O Cruises, Azura, set to launch in 2010.

To harness eclectic British tastes and honour the rich history of P&O Cruises, Azura will feature an Indian fine dining restaurant, Sindhu, the creation of celebrated Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar. Sindhu means meeting point, amalgamation or fusion, and the menu will offer a fusion of fine British and Indian cuisine. Dishes such as pan-fried lobster tail in coconut milk and tamarind sauce will tempt passengers through the doors of this – just one of 11 – dining venues on board.

Azura will feature 18 single staterooms, a first in the P&O Cruises fleet, and two large suites for extended families or groups of friends to share, meaning more affordable travel suited to today’s diverse market.

The ship will offer a record 900 staterooms with private balconies and a select number of spa staterooms, offering exclusive access to the Oasis Spa and added in-cabin extras.

TV wine expert Olly Smith has also been enlisted to help create a new ‘Select Dining’ restaurant and wine bar concept – The Glass House. A must for wine lovers, The Glass House menu will feature different wines recommended with each course, all served by the glass and expertly matched by Olly.

The Saturday Kitchen star will also lend his skill on the drinks menus for Azura’s other bars and restaurants, and will travel regularly throughout the year to host light hearted tasting sessions in his own irreverent style.

P&O Cruises managing director, Nigel Esdale, said: “We have a rich heritage of providing British cruise passengers with an exceptional holiday experience, and it is this unprecedented experience that gives us a unique insight into their needs and tastes. We are perfectly positioned to design a ship to appeal to today’s sophisticated consumers and have done exactly this with Azura.
“Modern travellers have diverse needs and require more than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Azura will cater for every kind of consumer, from newcomers to cruising to our more experienced repeat customers; from singles and couples to families and multi-generational groups, empty nesters to parties or simply friends reunited – Azura will deliver them all with an authentic, large ship experience.
“Among the new developments Azura also features all the qualities inherent in the P&O Cruises experience, such as fine dining, a world-class spa, extensive family friendly facilities and specially commissioned works of British art.”
New design highlights include an open air cinema by the Aqua Pool and a secluded on deck spa area, The Retreat, with private cabanas for al-fresco massages, luxurious sun loungers and personal waiter service.

Treatment rooms within the spa will also have balconies, so that passengers can be pampered in the open air.

In entertainment, Azura will feature an ultra-modern interpretation of a classic London pub, a show lounge designed with the Big Apple in mind and a dance floor in the atrium, making it the social hub of the ship.

“Azura will provide a contemporary, glamorous, serene and sophisticated holiday experience for adults and couples,” continued Esdale.  “The emphasis will be on the highest levels of service with extraordinary attention to detail.”

For family appeal, Azura will have innovations such as a dedicated ‘Wii’ room.

A purpose-built website has been created for Azura, featuring an interview with Atul Kochhar, as he talks about his background, family life, and passion for the finest Indian ingredients. Use of video clips and a carousel of imagery give visitors an insight into the detail that has gone in to the designing of the ship.

“Spontaneity combined with diversity is the key, whether that is fine tuning their tango on the new dance floor in the atrium or curling up with a book in The Alcove library. Everyone travelling on Azura will find plenty to enjoy and generate long lasting stories,” concluded Esdale.

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