Cost of Speciality restaurants on Azura.

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#1
north-east england
133 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Hi Folks
There are quite a number of posts stating food quality in P & O's MDR's has gone downhill in last couple of years, so can anyone give me the current additional cost for the speciality restaurants on Azura,
Any recommendations appreciated, also do they get booked up quickly. Don't really want to book any until I know when formal nights are. We didn't have a problem booking them last time we were on Azura, but that was back in 2012/13. Just wondering if they get booked up quicker if the MDR's aren't so good.
Kind regards
Viv.
#2
Uk
73 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
The costs of the speciality restaurants on P and O vary commensurate on the length of your cruise. Cruises of 14 nights plus are cheaper than shorter cruises.

We tend only to go on longer cruises so I will quote the lesser amounts. It's been a couple of years since I have been on Azura but when I was last on board Seventeen was £28.00 and Sindhu was £15. The current prices are available on the P & O website FAQs.

It has been my experience that the alternative dining is proportionately more on the larger ships than on the smaller ships. I feel that P and O set the prices as high as they can get away with, which is a normal business practice. On the larger ships they have more potential customers thus the higher prices.

We have recently come back from the Adonia where the supplement for the Ocean Grill was £12.95 and in my opinion, was comparable to Seventeen on Azura. There were a couple of small additional supplements for lobster and a larger fillet steak but this would still bring the cost of the evening well below that of Azura.

I think the quality of food and service to be of the highest levels in all of the additional fee venues and it is a matter of personal choice as to whether you feel it a worthwhile expenditure.

I have not experienced any difficulties in making bookings, in fact my experience is that they are actively pushing them.

So far as the MDR is concerned, my opinion is that the food some 6 -7 years ago reached a low but has improved somewhat since. I have also welcomed the policy of plated meals.

In conclusion the difference between the quality of food and service between the MDR and the speciality restaurants is enormous. With regard to the service issue I base this comment on the number of passengers they are expected to serve rather than the ability of the wait staff. Whether this is a deliberate policy is debatable.
#3
north-east england
133 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Many thanks Charleyben, you post is really helpful and I will use it as a guideline. Kind regards Viv.
#5
Whitley Bay, North East England
6,439 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by vinob
Hi Folks

There are quite a number of posts stating food quality in P & O's MDR's has gone downhill in last couple of years, so can anyone give me the current additional cost for the speciality restaurants on Azura,

Any recommendations appreciated, also do they get booked up quickly. Don't really want to book any until I know when formal nights are. We didn't have a problem booking them last time we were on Azura, but that was back in 2012/13. Just wondering if they get booked up quicker if the MDR's aren't so good.

Kind regards

Viv.


The standard of food in the MDR’s has not gone down in the past couple of years at all.

As I Cruise 4/5 times a year I have a fair idea what is on offer. I base this not on what I eat but by the others on the large tables we usually have. There are very few complaints from any of my fellow diners.

However the service and food is better in the speciality restaurants as in these restaurants the food is cooked to order and the service much better as there are more staff.

However the staff in the MDR’s do an excellent job.


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#6
Scotland
689 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Food tastes are quite subjective and also down to the cruise you are on at the time, standards can change with a change of staff.

I have to say that there have been a couple of cruises we have been very dissapointed in the MDR and we have sent food back, along with others. That said on our most recent Brittania cruise the food was perfectly acceptable.

Regardless of how good or bad the MDR food is the select restaurants are always worth using, the food and service both good so worth booking up IMO. On shorter cruises they do book up more quickly but if you are on 14 days or more you should have less of a problem getting tables.
#8
Lancashire... UK
835 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Hi...was on the Azura last month ...food in the MDR couldn't be faulted. Good varied choice...cooked to perfection...no soggy veg...was piping hot served on equally piping hot plates.
#9
England
800 Posts
Joined Aug 2014
We find the quality of food in the main dining rooms to be very good. It’s not fine dining, but it’s 3 to 4 star hotel territory. On our first cruise on Britannia we found service in the MDR (Freedom Dining) to be patchy, but on our summer 14 night Cruise this year it was much better. MDR service on Aurora over 16 days in May was superb. Poor meals are very rare and usually relate to a tough or fatty steak. We have never had a hot meal served at too low a temperature and out of several hundred meals between us have probably only sent back 2 or 3 dishes. The Select Dining restauarants are a different class of experience altogether. I can never understand those who shun them based upon the supplements. The significant increase in quality of food, presentation, ambiance and service makes the supplements completely justifiable. They do vary by ship. The Epicurean on Britannia is our favourite restaurant at sea, but the one on Ventura was a poor relation. Sindhu on Britannia is excellent but the one on Aurora was a disappointment.
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P&O Cruises Experience – 134 nights over 11 cruises (Aurora, Azura, Britannia x 3, Oceana x 2, Oriana x 2, Ventura x 2)
P&O Cruises to Come - 83 nights over 7 cruises (2017 - Aurora x 2, 2018 - Aurora, Arcadia, Aurora, 2019 - Aurora x 2)

674(A) Oriana 14/5/96. Southampton to Istanbul (Fly back). 8 nights. Outside Cabin.
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#10
Solihull
2,134 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
I don't think you get a consistent experience in the MDR across the fleet or even on ships. I'm beginning to think the food is better on fixed sitting dining.
I do feel food has gone downhill in the MDR and now rarely eat there.
The speciality restaurants get booked up at different rates and generally get more busy as the cruise gets booked up. I book the dates I really want online.
For the first time ever on Britannia I have noticed that offers in speciality have gone on throughout the cruise, whether that be free wine or a percentage off. Where an offer has been introduced for a venue we booked in advance, they refunded our card and made a new charge - we didn't even ask, so I thought that was good, proactive customer service.
All of the speciality restaurants we have used have been fantastic.


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#11
Scotland
689 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Flory I agree entirely about the lack of consistency.

We have had food and service in a MDR which has been excellent (Artemis always used to be very good) and other ships where it has been down right poor. Ventura is a ship that has definite ups and downs depending on the cruise/ restaurant you are in at the time. We have had our worst food experiences on her but also some pretty good ones.

Thats why it is perfectly possible to have pax on the same cruise ship within weeks of each other having completely different experiences and therefore views about the quality of the food and service.
#12
hampshire england
1,412 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
On our last trip on Oceana, just over a year ago, we were chatting with a couple at lunch in the MDR. They said they thought the food in the MDR in the evening was very poor compared to their previous cruises. We said we were surprised as we thought it had been excellent. It then emerged that they were on Freedom Dining for the first time having previously always chosen Club Dining. We have always been on Club Dining. The other couple said they'd been wondering whether the quality of the food in Freedom Dining just wasn't up to the standard of Club. The husband said that he'd had one dish which had obviously stood under lights as the sauce on the edges of the plate was sizzling when he got it. Now whether this comparison of food according to Club or Freedom has any validity I don't know but that couple already had another cruise book and were going to ask if they could change back to Club Dining having already chosen Freedom.

We thought the food we had on Aurora, last December was amongst the best we've had on a P&O ship and we've been on over 20 cruises. The new menus were in place and the new Sundaes on the Dessert Menu were really good. We were on Ventura a month later and the Sundaes on there were but a shadow of the ones on Aurora. So maybe some of the difference in quality may be down to the particular Head Chef on the ship.
#13
Surrey
379 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
We have always gone Freedom dining and have never had a bad meal, although there are 4 of us to a table all seated at the same time which helps with ordering and receiving food. Have been to Sindhu on Ventura which we really enjoyed, although do not know whether we would pay the extra £20 now to go. We find that the curries served in the MDR lunchtime keep our curry intake satisfied.

Also we could not get a table on Aurora in June in Sindhu is was full for the last 4 nights (out of a 7 day cruise).
#14
90 Posts
Joined May 2015
We've been on Ventura 5 times in the last 4 years. The Freedom dining food has definitely improved over the past year or so and I have seen no one complaining. We like the Glass House, Sindhu and the Beach House but don't bother with the Epicurian any more as the menus haven't changed since we can remember and the atmosphere is non existant as the tables are mostly empty and spead far apart.
#15
England
800 Posts
Joined Aug 2014
I don't buy the theory that food in the MDR's differs between Freedom and Club dining. If you think about it, it can't be, The galleys, methods and timings of plating up are all identical. I do, however, agree with others that service can vary by cruise. We have cruised on Britannia three times, in 2015, 2016 and 2017 - all freedom dining. In 2015, service was rushed and impersonal. As a result, in 2016 we used the superb Select Dining restaurants on all but the formal nights. This year we had around 10 evening meals in the MDR and food and service were both excellent on all but one of them. The only difference is that with Club dining good waiters get to know you and your preferences and that can make it a more enjoyable dining experience. However, we have also had some mediocre waiters in Club dining and we finally gave up on it after a few cruises in a row with dining companions who were hard work. Now we enjoy the ability to dine whenever we want and with whomever we choose - whether that be on our own or with others. Throughout a 16 night cruise on Aurora in May we dined with different people every night and made some good friends as a result. Every meal was great and the service was exemplary. On Ventura in February, even the service in the Epicurean was very poor!
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P&O Cruises Experience – 134 nights over 11 cruises (Aurora, Azura, Britannia x 3, Oceana x 2, Oriana x 2, Ventura x 2)
P&O Cruises to Come - 83 nights over 7 cruises (2017 - Aurora x 2, 2018 - Aurora, Arcadia, Aurora, 2019 - Aurora x 2)

674(A) Oriana 14/5/96. Southampton to Istanbul (Fly back). 8 nights. Outside Cabin.
E620 Oceana 11/8/06. Western Mediterranean. 14 nights. Outside Cabin.
E720 Oceana 12/8/07. Canaries. 13 nights. Outside Cabin.
X912 Oriana 24/7/09. Baltic. 14 nights. Outside Cabin.
A118 Azura 5/8/11. Eastern Mediterranean. 16 nights. Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabin.
N321 Ventura 18/8/13. Western Mediterranean. 14 nights. Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabin.
B517 Britannia 15/8/15. Western Mediterranean. 14 nights. Forward Suite + Balcony Cabin.
B622 Britannia 23/7/16. Norwegian Fjords. 7 nights. Forward Suite + Adjacent Balcony Cabin.
N703 Ventura 15/2/17. Amsterdam & Bruges. 4 nights. Penthouse Suite.
R705 Aurora 13/5/17. Baltic. 16 nights. Accessible Balcony Cabin.
B721 Britannia 22/7/17. Western Mediterranean. 14 nights. Aft Suite + Adjacent Balcony Cabin.
#16
Solihull
2,134 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
Maybe as all our food has to go through the special diet chef it is more hit and miss with Freedom.


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#17
north-east england
133 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Many thanks for all your replies, I have found it most helpful. I would book ahead for our 20th October cruise on Azura but I like to eat in the MDR on formal nights and if I'm right you don't get to find out when the formal nights are until you are on board., Does anyone know if I book speciality restaurants now would I be charged if I cancelled the booking on board if it coincided with a formal night. Kind regards Viv
#18
Swansea
92 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
I think a lot depends on your waiters and dining companions when dining club. All my dining ha been club with use of the fine dining too... Our first few cruises we had good waiters and good companions who turned up on time or told us if they were dining elsewhere so the waiters knew we were all there and we didn't miss our slot. The quality has been good food-wise but the choices have got a bit more restrictive since 2010. One cruise we had bad table companions who never said they were not coming or turned up late so waiters always served us last... Our last cruise the waiters always seemed to serve us last despite always being on time and together - the food was cold for first three days and despite once having our starter first by the time our main was served other tables were on desert.... We complained to waiters for 3 nights before complaining to the manager - thereafter the meals were microwaved and manager kept an eye on them..... The waiters were either both quite new or one was brand new and other not that experienced or chatty despite us trying for the whole trip and being polite thru out. I had both sets of parents with us - my M in Law was on about her 30th cruise and it was the worst service she had had. Unfortunately it was my parents first and has put my father off completely.... Chatted to others over whist and all their service was great we ended up using the other main dining room for lunch and breakfast their service was far better. I'm hoping on our next cruise we will have an experienced set of waiters...
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#19
Devon, UK
4,349 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Just back from Oriana on Club Dining. A couple of years ago, I thought it had gone down a bit but last October and again this year, we found a big improvement, both in Club and also the Conservatory.
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