P&O Azura Short Break to Bruges and Guernsey

Natalie Alcraft on 22 September 2016
The aim of this trip was to get my husband "on board" with cruising. Having done two myself and many ship visits, I am keen to go for it as my family holiday but I really wanted my husband to know what ship life is like and a short three night break was just the ticket. We were also celebrating our five year anniversary, so kids packed off to nana’s, we went in search of our sea legs.

We drove to Southampton and used the effortless meet and greet parking at the docks. Embarkation was slick and quick and in no time at all we were on board Azura. My husband smiled and I knew he was going to enjoy it. We went to the cabin straight away and were really impressed with the size of the Superior Balcony we had booked. Plenty of space for us both and my husband is 6"4! A bottle of champagne and chocolates were waiting for us which was a lovely touch.

We went straight out to explore what we could before the muster drill and had a quick visit to the spa, gym, bar (obligatory cocktail) and to the top deck to see the pools. Azura has lovely outside space and a good amount of pools dotted around, these never felt too crowded throughout our stay.

Following the muster drill we proceeded to enjoy the Sailaway party as the ship left Southampton setting sail for Bruges. The journey was smooth and effortless and as we dined in the Oriental restaurant that evening, it was easy to forget you are moving at all.

The food was fantastic in all the restaurants we ate in however the real highlight was Sindhu, Atol Kulcher's signature restaurant which features on both Azura and Britannia. Wow! What a meal. Every single course (there were four) was sensational. The service was impeccable and the atmosphere and décor transported you to India. I would highly recommend a trip to Sindhu it was a real highlight.

From the port in Zeebrugge we grabbed a cab into beautiful Bruges. I have visited Brussels before but not Bruges and was glad we made the trip. A beautiful historic setting with horses and carriages taking tourists on the 45 minute tour they offered around the town. We instead opted to explore on foot and headed first to what felt like chocolatier street however we soon realized that you can't turn a corner in Bruges without another five chocolate shops appearing! Souvenirs bought, we stumbled across the torture museum! Seemed like a bit of fun so down when we went and spent an hour or so learning about historic torture methods - not one for the faint hearted but a real highlight and one I would recommend for something off the beaten track. We then went in search of an infamous Belgian beer and were spoilt for choice. We found a great spot by the canal and tried one (or two) local options, both really nice and a great way to sample local life with a stunning view. After lunch we shopped some more and headed back to the square whilst we waited for our cab back to the ship.

I have always loved that cruising allows the freedom to visit some amazing places that perhaps you wouldn't necessarily holiday to, but yet only unpack once! Bruges is just that a real beauty spot which I am glad I have ticked off the list but would struggle to spend longer than two nights in tops. So back to the ship we went ready to set sail for Guernsey.

We decided to stay on the ship the day we were in Guernsey. The weather was beautiful and would allow us to sit out by the pool and spend the day relaxing. I had a few treatments in the spa on board whilst hubby used the gym and sauna. The ship is quieter on board when you are in port as many people go ashore to explore. We really enjoyed relaxing and soaking up ship life on our final day.

The last day arrived and pulling in to Southampton we were sad the break had come to an end. We had become very fond of Azura but she had done a great job in convincing us that a cruise would really suit our young family and that we may well be back again on Azura to explore the Mediterranean in the future.

If you have never cruised before a short break is a fantastic way to experience sailing and ship life and there are many dates and itineraries that I could recommend.