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Ladyshopper 117 posts

(VERY!) left field for me but we’ve booked a P&O Cruise on Azura out of Malta in 2024 with some family to celebrate a big birthday milestone for one of us. Stops at Split, Trieste, Zadar, Dubrovnik. Comes with the flights which seems like it’ll be a TUI charter out of Gatwick or suchlike.

Managed to get a discount and some reasonable onboard credits via a TA and via some googling found some tips on cabin allocation

Travelling with a 1 & 2 year old so won’t be big drinkers so won’t be needing a drinks package. I think “freedom” dining will be best for us? Not sure a fixed timing suits with tours and kids etc and we may get them fed and in bed and the rest of us dine as adults sometimes etc

Any other tips / hints / things to consider? Particularly with those ports of call if anyone is familar

Have you actually booked yet? You need to pay for the select fare in order to get freedom dining (unless you’re on Iona or the new ship Arvia where it is all freedom dining), if you’ve got a saver fare, then it will be an early or late sitting. If you have or are going to book a select fare, then you’ll also be able to choose your cabin. Things to consider are what is above and below your cabin – it’s always good to try and be sandwiched in the middle of decks with cabins above and below. Not so good to have noisy late night bars/nightclubs above or below, or things like the buffet.

One other thing if you’ve not already booked – P&O do a price match, and they’ll actually do this over the phone. I did this with our most recent cruise, saved a couple of hundred quid.

I believe with P&O that if it’s a package holiday with charter flights, that you stay on the ship on the last day until it’s time to go to the airport. You will have to be out of your cabin early, but you can apparently pay for a day cabin if you’re going to be on there for a lot of the day. Otherwise, you still have the whole ship available to you, just not your cabin.

Cruise critic and Facebook groups are very useful places for advice. On cruise critic there is a general P&O board, plus there is a roll-call section for every single cruise line, you can look your sailing up and see if anyone has started one yet. Similarly on Facebook, put your cruise reference number/name of ship into the search bar, and you may well find a group on there (depends how organised people are for 2024!).

Drinks prices are pretty reasonable, like standard pub prices. If you’re not big drinkers definitely pay as you go.

Onboard, if you are doing select dining, then you’ll use the My Holiday App to book your dining each night (it’s not a real app in the sense that it’s one you can download before you go, it’s basically a website you go to then it acts like an app. Sure there is a technical term for this!). The app can be a bit of a pain. You can also go to guest services and book things instead of using it.

Not been to those particular ports. In general, we tend to book things independently rather than ship based excursions, as they’re cheaper. You’ve got time to research this though. We’ll often just have a wander round it it’s a particularly pretty port.

Any more questions feel free to give me a shout. I’ve done 2 P&O cruises, and have another booked, but have done over 20 cruises across various lines.

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