Cruise Ships


Christened by Darcey Bussel, Azura is a star turn as well

Azura, a sophisticated addition to the P&O Cruises fleet, was named in Southampton by Britain's favourite ballerina, Dame Darcey Bussel, on 10 April, 2010.

And two days after the christening, the 115,000-ton liner set sail on her maiden voyage.

The ship was built at the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard near Trieste where the the float out was staged in a special two part ceremony in June, 2009.

Azura of P&O Cruises
Azura: ‘sophisticated, relaxing, indulgent and exciting’ Picture: Brian Smith, 10092608

Amanda Dowds, wife of Azura’s Captain, Keith Dowds led the symbolic ceremony in which a newly-minted two pound coin and a new euro were welded at the foot of the ship’s mast for good luck.

Azura was blessed by a priest as a bottle of Italian Prosecco smashed against the hull. The valves of the giant dry dock at the Monfalcone shipyard then opened allowing the ship to meet the water for the first time.

The then P&O Cruises managing director Nigel Esdale said: “For Azura we’ve gone ‘back to the future’. We’re looking at how travelling at sea really should be; sophisticated, relaxing, indulgent and exciting, while we are also looking forward at the same time. Firsts for P&O Cruises will include an open-air cinema-at-sea, an open air spa terrace and single staterooms.”

The stylish superliner carries up to 3,100 passengers who will enjoy 15 public decks, 11 restaurants, five boutiques, four pools, two lounges and over 900 private balconies and also boasts:

  • Dance floor in the centre of the spectacular atrium
  • Ten restaurants, including Sindhu, created by the first Indian chef to be awarded a coveted Michelin star, Atul Kochhar
  • State of the art health and beauty spa with an open-air spa terrace
  • Giant cinema SeaScreen showing British film classics
  • 750-seat live show theatre and separate nightclubs
  • Full range of daytime activities including sports courts, whirlpool spas and fully equipped gym, dance and art classes all offer non-stop entertainment
  • Sindhu is the creation of celebrated Michelin starred Chef Atul Kochhar. It means meeting point, and the menu offers a fusion of fine British and Indian cuisine with dishes such as pan-fried lobster tail in coconut milk and tamarind sauce.

    The atrium of P&O Cruises ship Azura

    TV wine expert Olly Smith was also enlisted to help create a new wine bar and restaurant concept - The Glass House. A must for wine lovers, The Glass House menu features different wines recommended with each course, all served by the glass and expertly matched by Olly.

    The Saturday Kitchen star also helped in the creation of 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.

    Vital statistics

    Operated by P&O Cruises
    Built by Meyer Werft, Germany
    Entered service: 2010
    Cost: £200m
    Gross tonnage: 116,000 tons
    Passengers: 3,100
    Passenger decks: 10
    Crew: 1,200
    Officers: British
    Cabins: 1,532 including
    :: 872 with balconies
    :: 227 with ocean view
    :: 433 inside
    :: 32 for the disabled
    Lifts: 16
    Length: 886 ft
    Width: 106 ft
    Draught: 26 ft
    Engines: diesel electric
    Service speed: 24 knots


    Three restaurants (two sittings), five alternative dining venues,  casino, cinema,  two show lounges,  three dance floors, hair and beauty salon, library, five swimming pools (two inside), fitness centre, hair and beauty salon.

    P&O Cruises

    It is said that P&O "invented" cruising. In 2017 it celebrated its 180th anniversary of operating cruise ships, culminating in its current fleet of seven ships dedicated to the British market, all of them offering innovation, professionalism and an exceptional experience. More...

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