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This post covers a topic, or set of linked topics, that I’ve seen raised on the Cruise Critic P&O forum a number of times. They relate to both Ventura and Azura. They are:

  1. Which balconies are ‘overlooked’ and which are open from above;
  2. How big balconies on different decks are; and
  3. What are the issues regarding stern balconies.

Let’s take them in order. I’ve prepared some images, and you might find it useful to open the large version of an image while reading the comments on this page.

Ventura BalconiesPoint 1: Which balconies are exposed and which are shaded/hidden. Looking at the image, you can see that the balconies on Riviera deck are both hidden and shaded. This is because the Lido deck is significantly wider than the decks below it, so this forms an overhang over the Riviera deck balconies. Then the balconies on decks A & B are directly beneath the Riviera balconies, which means that someone on a higher deck has to really peer over their own balcony to see the balconies on A & B decks. However, the shading effect of the Lido deck overhang is lessened as you go lower, so A & B deck balconies are less shaded than Riviera deck. But there will be some shade, most of the time (though see ‘Update‘ below). Turning to C deck, these balconies are a mixture: they are part shaded by the balcony above, and part exposed from above. They are therefore much more visible from above, and provide less shade. In recompense, of course, they are much bigger – see the next main point. D deck balconies seem to me to have the worst of all worlds: they are fully exposed from above and have no shade at all. Finally E deck balconies (the few that there are) are the reverse of D deck: they are fully covered and shaded by the identically-sized D deck balconies above them.

(Update April 2014: I’ve realised that there is an exception to the point about the shade from the Lido deck overhang. Cabins on Riviera, A & B decks forward of (approximately) R317, R318, A317, A318, B318 & B319 are *not* directly overhung by the Lido deck. If you look at the full image of Azura below you can see where the Lido deck overhang suddenly ends, and cabins beyond that point have no overhang above them. In fact they’re beneath a group of balcony cabins that I haven’t mentioned, those on the Lido deck (prefixed ‘L’). These cabins have the same size balconies as those on Riviera, A & B decks, and do not overhang the decks below. I’m not sure if there’s a small overhang from the Sun deck above them.)

Point 2: How big the balconies are. Balconies on Riviera, A & B decks are all the same size: about 1.5 metres from the cabin door to the rail. (Call it just under 5 feet in old money….) Allowing for the depth of a chair, this isn’t quite long enough for an adult to sit with their legs out, so you normally see chairs on these balconies angled to give more room. Balconies on C deck, however, are just about twice the size – 2.95 metres from the cabin door to the rail. This is an excellent size, as the picture of Val on a C deck balcony shows. D & E deck balconies seem to be an intermediate length – say, about 2.25 metres. (I’ve done a more recent post showing the structure of these ships to explain how the balconies are of different sizes.)

Balconies on Ventura - sizes
You can get a feel for these lengths by looking at the image of Ventura’s balconies in this section. Look especially at the partitions between the balconies: you can see that the Riviera, A & B deck partitions consist of two short panels; the partitions on C deck consist of one short panel and two longer ones; and finally the partitions on D and E deck balconies consist of two panels, one short and the other longer.

Point 3: Finally, there’s the stern cabins to consider. The important thing here is that there are four stanchions running from A deck to E deck which run through various balconies. If you look at the image of Azura’s stern you can see where I’ve marked (X & Y) the top and bottom positions of  two biggest stanchions, on both port and starboard sides. I’ve also marked the cabin numbers – these apply for Ventura as well as Azura – and I hope you can see the different distribution of cabins across the different decks. A deck, for example, has just four cabins, all suites, while B deck has ten cabins,  all of them standard balcony cabins. If you look carefully at the image you can also see where the balcony dividers are.

Azura stern - copyright Andrew Sassoli-WalkerThe two major stanchions affect the following balconies: B750; B751; C750; C751; D736; D737; E732; E733. Of these the most important are the two on B deck, because these are only normal balcony cabins. In the case of these two cabins (B750 and B751), the stanchion occupies a significant part of the balcony and must greatly reduce the amount of space left for sitting. In effect, I think that it almost separates these two balconies into two parts, and it would be difficult for two people to be out on the balcony and enjoy a conversation – the stanchion will come between them, or will be in the way. On the other decks the same stanchions run through the balconies of suites, so while it’s no smaller on those decks than on B deck, at least the balconies for those suites are wider and thus the stanchion can be avoided.

The other stanchions run vertically through cabins A752; A749; B752; B753; C750; C751; D734; D735; E734; E735. Again they must be an intrusion but at least they seem to be off on one side of the balcony, so perhaps they’re easier to navigate around. However, note that some of the suites – A752; A749; C750; C751 – have both stanchions running through their balconies!

Update: a poster on Cruise Critic pointed me to the following page on the P&O website which gives access to pictures of many, if not all, of the ‘obstructed view’ cabins on P&O ships. It’s a good resource. It’s not entirely consistent – for example, the page for Ventura doesn’t include the A, B or C deck aft balcony cabins as listed above but the page for Azura does – but it’s very helpful nonetheless.

Update 2: I read on Cruise Critic a comment to the effect that the E deck aft cabins are immediately above the entertainment lounges (Havana on Ventura, Manhattan on Azura) which can be open late. There is therefore a possibility of noise. The port side cabins – E732, E734 – are the most likely to be affected as there is a loudspeaker station immediately below them in the relevant lounge.

Update 3: I have received (Dec 2013) an email from Phil Brown which included three pictures of the balcony of cabin D734. Phil wrote: “I was in D734 on Azura over the summer (at the stern) and absolutely loved it.  The balcony is huge (deep) and the obstruction hardly gets in the way. I thought you might like the attached photos to highlight the size (on the exterior shot, the balcony with the Jack Daniels and Coke is mine!).

Update 4: I’ve received (February 2016) permission from a Cruise Critic poster, “Herbie100”, to use the images below. They are of the balcony for aft suite E733 on Ventura. You can see the layout of the balcony, including the curve across the stern, and how the upright stanchion runs through it at one point. Herbie100 also commented that although immediately above the Havana Lounge, they didn’t hear any noise from below, although he did wonder if E732 (on the other side) might be more affected as the side of the Havana stage where the big loudspeakers are.




The picture below is from Captain Banac of Azura in August 2020, and shows the balconies on Azura. That’s D-deck at the bottom; then C-deck above that; and then B-, A-, Riviera- and finally Lido-deck at the top. You can see how the C and D deck balconies protrude out from the superstructure, with the C-deck balconies being deepest.


The image of Azura’s stern was taken by Andrew Sassoli-Walker, and has his copyright – I’ve used it with his permission (thank you, Andrew). Here’s the full photo, which is again copyright Andrew Sassoli-Walker.

Azura copyright Andrew Sassoli-Walker


227 Responses to “Ventura and Azura: balcony resource”

  1. Aloonie says:

    Just a thought for you.
    Balcony’s on the stern are very deep too.
    I would say about 10/11 feet

  2. Mick Hartshorn says:

    Thank you tom your blog has been most useful and the detail has really helped us with regard to making informed choices on many aspects. Regards Mick and Bev Leicester UK

  3. Kerry says:

    Thank you Tom, you have helped answer a lot of my questions and being a first time cruiser it has put my mind at rest. Excellent blog.
    Kerry, Scotland

  4. Sandra says:

    Hi Tom
    We are about to book a Caribbean cruise on the Ventura and have been given the following cabins as available :
    We really want the best and don’t want overlooked or in the shade as this will be our first cruise. From the above choices what cabin would you shoose.
    Many thanks

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Sandra.

      Hmm – asking advice. Well, I need to say that the decision is yours and all I can do is say how it seems to me. It’s your holiday and you must take the decisions you think best.

      That said, I would look at R201, R306 and R308. As far as I can see all three of those cabins have other cabins all round them – above them, below them, and on either side. That’s good – other people in nearby cabins are generally pretty quiet and the cabins are well soundproofed against normal levels of ‘people noise’. I’d be worried about any cabin that was under an open deck or the buffet. They can be noisier because the noise that can be produced on the open decks or the buffets can be a lot more than ‘nearby cabin’ noise. Also it can start very early, and go on late – there are crew members working in the buffet and the kitchens there at unearthly hours. Which is great when you go there for an early breakfast, but possibly not so great if you’re trying to sleep just underneath. Also, the open decks and the buffet ares of the Lido have an extra overhang which will cast a lot of shadow onto the balconies below, e.g. R326. As for the cabins on the Lido deck, I just don’t know. Any under the treatment rooms are the salon would probably be quiet, whereas those under the gym might be noisier. But that’s just a guess.

  5. Sandra says:

    Hi Tom
    Thank you so much for your response, as we are new to this and there are so many choices of cabin it is really hard to know what is best. We now the cruise we want to go on its just the cabins that is making the decision so hard.

    R751 – what are the +/- on this one as its right at the back
    L306/L308 – what would the +/- be as they seem to be quite handy for the pool and bar.
    But I don’t know if that’s a positive/or negative cos of sound also is there any site where you can actually view the inside of the cabin the actual cabin as opposed to a picture of a ‘typical cabin’ so many questions Tom I am sorry but as much information you can provide is of great assistant before we pay our deposit


  6. Hilary says:

    Hello Tom, from a newcomer to your blog! We did our first ever cruise, a mini one on Azura in 2012. We had cabin D236. We then did another short one on Aurora and found the cabins to be much smaller. Since then I have studied all the forums and enjoyed researching. We are on Arcadia for a mini one in July. But first, and getting to the point here!, we are on Azura for the two week Western Med in May and because we actually liked it, back in D236! Despite your comments about D deck….we liked the peace and quiet there and yes, you are overlooked, but only if people above go and stand at the rail and look down at you….and if your chairs are out near your rail…so on balance we are happy but I will review it after just to let people know our experience. Hilary

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Hilary. There have been occasions when we’ve had the same cabin on different cruises because we’ve enjoyed it the first time, so you’re not alone in that. Thanks also for the comment about the size of the Aurora cabins, but don’t foget that the D-deck cabins on Azura & Ventura are themselves a bit bigger than other balcony cabins on those ships: Superior Deluxe Balcony cabins, as against just Balcony cabins. So they’d definitely be bigger than a standard balcony cabin on Aurora.

      I hope you enjoy the cruise in May, and I’ll look forward to hearing how it went.

    • Lynn Hackling says:

      HI we are in cabin D218 can you tell me what balcony is like, and how big it is thanks .

      • Tom says:

        Well, it’s a perfectly normal D-deck external balcony cabin (assuming we are talking about Azura or Ventura): it’s a Super Deluxe cabin, i.e. a bit bigger than the normal balcony cabin. As regards the balcony, in Point 1 of the article I said that D deck balconies are completely over-looked from above, and in Point 2 I said that D deck balconies are of intermediate size, approximately 2.25 metres from the cabin the rail.

        • Lynn Hackling says:

          Hi have posted before about cabin D218 reading reviews have we made a mistake, as cabins are mid ship and reports say they are noise,y, we are both light sleepers ,can anyone e mail me if they have stayed in this cabin . Thanks L Hackling

  7. Hilary says:

    Thanks Tom, just been reading through your blog and found the reply to mine! I will indeed write a reply for you. Having only so far done two short ones this upcoming one will be a learning curve! We are experienced travellers which I think has given us patience when it comes to other types of travel and travellers and a broad outlook so we are going to enjoy it come what may! A week in the fjords 2015 beckons once the new brochure is out.

  8. Rachel says:

    I love spending time on my balcony but could only afford a246 (with an inside opposite for my son and husband).
    Can you let me know if this has any overhang from above. I’d be gutted if I don’t get ANY sun.
    This is on Azura.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Tom says:

      Actually, that’s not bad. You’ve got Riviera deck above you, and then the cabins in the forward part of the Lido deck above that; but looking at the plans, A246 is far enough forward to be clear of the Riviera deck overhang. So none of the decks above you protrude further than your balcony. They do protrude as far, so you need the sun to be a bit below 90° on your side in order to shine on yours, but it isn’t obscured.

      Of course, you need the sun on your side of the ship…..

  9. Mel says:

    I’m considering booking E730 on Ventura.
    Does anyone know if this cabin suffers from noise from Havana below, and is this good cabin to book?

    • Tom says:


      Thanks for the comment. I did this search on cruise critic and came up with this: “We had a bad experience on Ventura in E730 unfortunately the speakers from the Havana are bolted to the ceiling below the bathroom of this cabin so had vibration and noise. Have had E720 5 doors up and not heard a thing.”

      That’s from someone else, not me, and I don’t have any personal experience of the E deck balconies, but that’s what was said.

  10. Kurt says:

    Hi Tom. This is a really useful blog. Thank you for taking the time to share it. My partner and I have just booked on the Ventura for September for our honeymoon. We are first time cruisers so don’t know what to expect. To save on cost we booked a balcony on guarantee basis and have just got the documents to say we have cabin R333. Having read the above I’m a little worried that we after forking out the extra to get a balcony (as opposed to an inside cabin) we are not going to get any sun soaking opportunities. We booked a balcony as we are taking our 1 yr old son and thought it would be nice to sit on the balcony when he has any naps in the room. As we booked it on a guarantee basis though I don’t think there is any way of requesting to a brighter balcony. Do you know how bad the shade is for R333 by any chance. Any tips/thoughts are much appreciated.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Kurtz.

      Don’t worry too much about the shading effect. There will be times earlier and later in the day when’ll you get direct sun. Also, it could still be very hot in September, and you may be glad of the shade. There have been times when we’ve been driven back in by the direct sun – the balconies can be quite sheltered from the wind, and they can get very hot.

    • Tracy says:

      HI Kurt
      Im cruising in the same cabin in a few weeks time you may want to check the layout as ive just been informed it has twin beds with bunks above,Im devastated as the ship is full and ive been told i cant change cabins not sure it will be what you want either.

      • Tom says:

        I don’t think there’s anything to worry about, Tracy. My understanding is that what’s meant by ‘Upper Pullman Berths’ on Ventura and Azura are either one or two beds that descend from the ceiling when they’re in use. When they’re not, they’re left raised so that they’re flush with the ceiling. In that configuration, all you can see of them is the outline of the area that descends from the ceiling.

        There are some restrictions on how the cabin can be arranged if they’re in use. In that case for safety reasons it’s not allowable to have the main beds combined as a king-size; they have to remain as twins, and be located directly below the upper berths when they’re lowered. However, if the upper berths are not in use there’s no problem, as far as I’m aware, in having the main twin beds arranged as a king-size. I have stayed in a cabin on Ventura that had one of these Upper Pullman berths which wasn’t being used, and we had the main beds arranged as a king.

  11. Holly says:

    Hi Tom,
    me and my Fiance have booked a 14 night Med cruise on Ventura this summer for our Honeymoon and paid the early saver fare, so although our cabin grade was guaranteed we did not know exactly what cabin we would be allocated. We have recently been allocated our balcony cabin which is R622. Could you give me any information about this cabin please? if it is shaded, and if so by how much, if we should expect to experience very loud noise etc. and if its a good cabin to have? Thank you in advance. We are first time cruisers and are very new to this. Holly.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Holly. I hope you enjoy your cruise.

      R622: Well, it will be rather shaded as it’s under the Lido deck overhang. But don’t get too hung up on that as (unless you’re real sunbathing addicts) it can get too hot on the balconies, especially in the Med in summer. And when the sun is on the other side of the ship – at least 50% of the time – it doesn’t matter how much you’re in the shade, there’s no sun anyway.

      As regards noise, I’m not sure. That cabin is under the Waterside buffet, but below the passenger seating areas. There might be some noise once breakfast gets under way, but you might well be awake by then anyway. I would have though that the inside cabins, which are under the kitchen area, are more likely to experience noise early on – the crew will be working in the kitchens from early on, and moving things around, etc. So that’s the area that might experience noise, not so much your cabin under the seating area. Similarly with the open deck, btw – you can find deck attendants dropping sun loungers on the deck just above cabins from early on, but again that’s not where your cabin is. So you ought to be OK.

  12. Holly says:

    Thanks so much for that helpful info. Holly 🙂

  13. Michelle Adams says:

    Hi Tom

    Thank you for your most excellent blog.

    We have just booked on Ventura for next June, and thanks to your photos and descriptions have chosen C723. We are going with friends who have opted for D630. While we will probably be jealous of their larger cabin, I think our balcony will make up for it!

    In Ventura’s maiden season (when there was no experience of others to go on) I went in D734. This is an awful cabin. Yes the views are great off the aft, but the balcony is so deep and covered that the cabin is dark and the balcony only gets the sun late in the afternoon. I won’t even start on the vibration! Be warned.

    Hopefully we’ll get a good bit of sun this time.

    Thanks again, Michelle

  14. Maureen says:

    Hi tom,we are first time cruisers on the azura,we have been given a supposedly upgrade from a B deck cabin to R621 on the Rivera dreck.We’ve read some reviews that say it can be noisy from the Lido deck above and is also part shaded,can you give us any clues on these issues please?

  15. George says:

    What a most useful Blog, glad I discovered it. At the moment trying to get organised for Azura next February in the Caribbean. I quite like the thought of the stern cabins and was wondering had you heard any complaints about noise and vibration from the propellers which are right underneath the water here?

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, George.

      As regards the stern balconies, I’ve never heard any real complaints. The propeller noise and vibration is more noticeable but I don’t think it’s objectionable. The other thing to remember is that on decks A, B, C etc, you’re a long way above the water; 50 or 60 feet, maybe more.

      • George says:

        Tom, Many thanks for your swift reply. 50 or 60 feet to the water? a bit high for diving then, unless you happen to be Tom Daley! Thanks again.

  16. Liz says:

    Hi Tom,
    We are about to embark on the Ventura for our first cruise ever and have been allocated A342 cabin. Have you any any reviews on this cabin or can give us an indication of what to expect in terms of the balcony and the shading etc.?

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Liz.

      A342 ought to be perfectly OK. The most important thing is that it’s surrounded by other cabins in all directions – either side, above, and below. The balcony is a standard size. Being on A deck it will be immediately underneath a balcony on Riviera deck that’s the same size so it won’t be too overshadowed though there is still some overhang from the Lido deck that might affect you. But it won’t be too obvious. Enjoy your cruise.

      • Liz says:

        Many thanks Tom. We’ll let you know how we get on.

        • Liz says:

          Hi Tom,
          We’ve just come back from our cruise and I thought I would report back on the cabin we had. ‘A’ deck is on the twelve floor and quite high up. The cabin (A342) was lovely, despite it being a standard one, and was bright and welcoming and more than adequate. Our balcony was not overlooked at all, which was a bonus. We were on the port side and only got the sun on our balcony for the last five days of our 2 week cruise, as most of the time when it should have been on our side, we were travelling at night. This wasn’t a problem for us, as the seclusion more than made up for it. The only thing I would say is that we had quite a few severe storms (Scale 10, 9, 9, and 7 on the Beaufort Scale) and the movement at the top of the ship was pretty un-nerving. However, I’m sensitive to movement and no doubt this wouldn’t worry some people. We loved our cruise, but next time, we would try to get a cabin in the lower part of the ship and forego the balcony seclusion aspect.
          kind regards,

          • Tom says:


            Many thanks for your comment about your A deck cabin. You make some good points about the amount of movement that high in the ship in bad weather. I don’t think I’m very sensitive to movement so it’s nothing that tend to think about, but your points are completely right. In the context of Ventura and Azura, however, i’m not sure how much better a lower-deck balcony cabin would be: C deck (the lowest deck with normal balcony cabins) is only two decks lower. Perhaps the best place would be an obstructed-view cabin on E deck, somewhere amidships, but then you’d be missing the balcony. Choices, choices: although I will say that when we do our Christmas cruise on Arcadia this December, we’ve booked an obstructed-view cabin on the boat deck.

      • Liz says:

        Hi Tom, I meant to get back to you regarding our cabin… better late than never! We had cabin A342 on Ventura and it was lovely. Full sun and full shade was about 40/60 ratio and depended on times of sailing. Cabins on the other side faired slightly better for sun, but we were quite happy with this. We weren’t overlooked, which was also a plus. The food was good, and we had a really great holiday. It was our first cruise and we have definitely got the bug for it! Thank you for your advice. Happy sailing …

  17. Joanne says:

    Hi Tom
    I am going on p&o for the first time in November 2014. We are on Ventura cabin A417 (inside so no issues regarding balcony)

    Are we likely to experience noise ?

    • Tom says:

      I’ll be honest, Joanne, and say that I don’t know. We’ve never been in an inside cabin on Ventura so I don’t have any experience to go by.

      That said, it looks generally alright. There are other cabins on both sides, below, and also above – that ‘Larger inside cabin’, R407. So that all looks good. The only question relates to that white space between the port-side and starboard-side cabins, and I have no idea what that represents. It could just be a graphical representation of dead space.

      I’d be grateful if you could report back, in fact, and tell me how you found it. And I hope you enjoy your cruise.

  18. Peter Malherbe says:

    Love your blog. We are booked on a cruise from Genoa in September. Our cabin number is D623 and our friends are booked in D305. Can you tell us a bit about these cabins and which of the two is the best. We would like to have our cabins close together but would not like to give up a well-located cabin in the process. Also, we can board from 12.30 to 3.45pm – which would be the best time to get there to avoid the crowds? Thank you so much for your blog and assistance.

    • Chris says:

      Was there a reply to this one that I have missed?
      We are booked into D305 on 3 Jan 2015 and would love some opinions on it, we opted for this rather than an over hung balcony as we had had a bad experience on a Princess ship when there was a large overhang from the deck above. We like the sun ( when it is available )

      • Tom says:

        Thanks for the comment, Chris

        It looks as if there never was a reply to the comment from Peter. I don’t have any experience of any of the D deck cabins. However, I would expect that both of these are the same as all the others – bigger than a standard balcony cabin, and with a good-sized non-obstructed but overlooked balcony. If I wanted to be really picky I might point out that D305 is alongside the lifts, but in fact my recollection is that there’s quite a lot of distance between the nearest lift and cabin. I’ve never really read any complaints about lift noise intruding into outside or balcony cabins on this class of ship.

        • Janet Searson says:

          Hi Tom,m did you hear back from anyone regarding room R407. We have been allocated it. Thank you for all the help and advice.

          • Tom Burke says:

            No replies or comments except for what appears here – I usually manage to keep on top of comments and approve them quickly. So if there’s nothing here that means I haven’t heard anything, I’m afraid.

  19. Debbie Rayns says:

    Hi Tom, loving your blog, it is really useful. We too are going on our very first cruise in Nov on the Ventura. We are booked into D236. You say these cabins have the worst of everything. We don’t want any shade so will this cabin be ok.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Debbie

      Hmm – yes, I did say that, didn’t I! However, my get-out is that I actually put a qualifier in there: “D deck balconies seem to me to have the worst…”. That’s strictly true – while I do enjoy a bit of sun, I’ve never been someone who has sought out sun-bathing opportunities. So while the comment is true from my perspective, it might well not be try from other peoples’. And give that you say “We don’t want any shade…”. it looks like it’s a better choice for you than it would be for me. As long as the sun is on your side of the ship, you’ll get its full effect on that balcony – there’s no overhead shade at all. And should it get to be too hot, you’ve got a bigger-than-standard cabin to retreat into…. I’ve never been in one of those Super Deluxe balcony cabins on Ventura or Azura so I can’t comment on them, but I know they are bigger – I believe they have room for a settee instead of just a single chair.

      Ventura is a fine ship, and the recent changes – the switch of Ramblas to The Glass House, for example – have kept her fresh and smart. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your cruise.

  20. Carol Donohoe says:

    Hi Tom we are joining the Ventura on 7th November to the caribbean. We have been allocated cabin :D725. We wanted a quiet. Cabin and this looks ok. Please advise and regarding balcony and this end of the ship. Thanks

    • Tom says:


      Sorry to take so long to reply, but I’ve been away for a few days. Also, I’m afraid, I’m going to disappoint you a bit – I’ve never been in a D deck balcony cabin so I can’t say with any authority. However, it ought to be quiet – crucially, there are cabins below you, above you, and on both sides. If you’d said you were in E725 I might have expressed some reservations – there’s a lounge, Havana, immediately below the E deck balconies and I understand that sound from Havana can penetrate int those cabins. However, I’ve never heard of it affecting the D-deck balconies in that location.

      Enjoy your cruise.

  21. Jane says:

    Hi please can you advise me. We were booked into room A734, and then this was changed to R520. Despite being told that this was partially shaded we stayed with this and I printed tickets etc. Fortunately I looked again yesterday and we’ve been changed again and now booked in E730 with no communication from P&O. From reading some of the comments above I’m a bit worried, is it really noisy, I mean quite like the sound of the larger balcony but not sure what to do. Any advice gratefully accepted.

    Thank you


    • Tom says:


      I have no direct experience of these E deck cabins so I can’t speak from personal knowledge. That said, I have read comments tithe effect that these cabins can be noisy. I’ll be honest, I’d hesitate before booking one of these myself.

      But other readers may think differently.

  22. James Quincey says:

    Hi Tom,

    A very interesting and thorough article! I have one question though… on the deck plans for Azura, cabins R751 and R752 seem to have larger balconies than the others on that deck due to the bulgey bit at the stern – you have not commented on this, and looking at the photos the bulge doesn’t seem to exist… is this just artistic licence on the deck plans, or are am I missing something!



    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, James.

      As for your question about R751, I found a possible answer on a website. Here’s an extract:-

      We have used cabin R751. The balcony is about 75% larger in area than the normal balcony and the handrail is at 45% to the ship so that you can see both forward and outwards. It does have quite a lot of shade – which suited my wife – but you do get sun at times. This depends on the direction the ship is sailing and the height of the sun. The cabin is very convenient for the aft swimming pool and bar as well as the Beach buffet. Inside the cabin it is fine. The bathroom is a little small, not unique to this cabin, but functional.

      Here’s a link to the relevant discussion thread.

  23. Michael says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your blog, very useful.


  24. Trish Walters says:

    hi Tom I’ve just been reading through all of the above in the hope of finding some info on cabins on B deck on Azura. We have been offered room B602 and looking at the plans it is next to a corridor door, would noise be an issue? Also would you know if smoking is allowed on balconies as we are non smokers and wouldn’t want to be next door to smokers.
    Thank you for all the work put into your blog

    • chris anderson says:

      On Ventura now. D 305 very good. Not noisy not overlooked

    • Tom says:

      Being next to a corridor door won’t be an issue – these are held open magnetically, they only close in the case of an emergency. They’re part of the fire door system.

      However – there can be another issue with regards to cabins in the 600s. The white space in the middle of the ship holds the engine exhaust uptakes (up to the funnel) in that area, and that can generate a bit of noise – a sort of ‘white noise’ or humming. I’ve done some digging on old threads on Cruise Critic, and this is what I said in one such thread in July 2012:-

      My experience, which comes from walking along the corridors on several on Ventura, is that the ‘roaring’ noise is confined to the area around 605/7/9/11, and the equivalent cabins on the port side. Other ‘white space’ sections don’t hold machinery of that type: they’re stores, or contain crew staircases, or may even cabins for high-grade crew members

      The noise emanates from the whitespace in the middle of the ship, not from the balcony cabins themselves. Some people seem to be very sensitive to the noise, while I’ve come across comments from people in cabins in the middle of the most-affected area who said they didn’t really hear a thing, and it didn’t bother them. I would have thought it would be OK in B600 – you’ll not be directly opposite the worst affected area, there’s the cabin wall between you and it, and in any case there’s a lot of real-estate in an Azura balcony cabin between the door and the living area – the bathroom and the hanging space.

      Azura has the same layout as Ventura, of course, of course.

  25. Trish Walters says:

    Thank you Tom this helps a lot and as my sister will only be 2 rooms away I think we will accept room B602 as I think we will be far enough away from the ‘problem area.’ 🙂

  26. Kieran says:

    Hi Tom
    Could you give me an opinion on lido deck on Ventura .This will be our first cruise,we are in cabin L250 and travelling in April.Read that this is a very busy spot.Hope I haven’t made a poor choice. Any help would be great .

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the question, Kieran.

      First the caveat – I’ve never stayed in a Lido deck cabin. However, I can’t believe the passage outside it would be very busy at all. On the few occasions I’ve been anywhere near those passages they’ve been very quiet. Above you you’ve got an external walkway which is quite quiet and also narrow, so it definitely isn’t used for loungers, etc. Then you’ve also got treatment room, and they will certainly be quiet room. The people in the odd-numbered cabins nearer the bo – L201 to L219, say – might not be as well off as they’ve got the gym immediately above them, but that’s not the case with L250. I wouldn’t expect any significant noise or traffic around L250.

  27. Kieran says:

    Thank you very much Tom,will let you know on my return

  28. Dee says:

    We are thinking of going on the Ventura in May but so confused on the cabins with a balcony but would love to be able to sit out on our balcony and enjoy some sun. Can you please advise us we don’t really want to pay for an expensive cabin. dee

    • Tom says:


      Thanks for the comment.

      I understand your dilemma, and I apologise if the blog article above deals in minute detail – it was in part written in response to questions that were based on minute details.

      The bottom line is that, broadly speaking, all balcony cabins on Ventura or Azura on Lido, Riviera, A, B, and C decks will cost broadly the same money. The differences between them are as follows:
      A) balcony cabins on Lido, Riviera, A and B decks all have standard depth balconies – about 1.5 metres;
      B) on Riviera especially and to a lesser extent on A & B decks, there may be some shade on the balcony because of the balcony above. This is especially true of most balconies on Riviera deck. Unless, of course, the sun is shining directly onto the balcony in which case it can get very hot!
      C) on C deck the cabins cost the same as on the other decks mentioned above but the balconies are longer – about 3 metres – and about half of that length is not shaded from above at all ((but is therefore exposed to observation);
      D) balcony cabins on D and E decks cost more because they are bigger cabins. The actual balconies are about 2 metres deep, and are not shaded at all, but are therefore 100% visible from above;
      E) finally, it’s always worth remembering that if the sun is on the other side of the ship, then all of the balconies on your side will be shaded. There’s nothing you can do about that. (Well, you,could ask the captain to turn the ship around, but that generally won’t work….).

      If you’ve read the blog you’ll know that our preference is for C deck.

  29. chris says:

    Smoke travels a bit on shire days when the ship is static.
    We have just got back from Ventura p and o cruise.
    On starboard side which us the odd number cabins we occasionally smelt smoke coming up from promenade deck 7 when the ship was in port. Only of relevance to those with balconies above the promenade deck. Could not smelnut at all on sea days.
    As non smokers new thought it a shame that the loveliest area for an outside lunch was beach house, lido deck aft and this was also a permitted smoking area.
    Our cabin d305 was lovely. Large cabin, nice balcony no noise at all from nearby lifts.

  30. Marcela says:

    Hi Tom,

    Could you give me some advice?
    We have booked a cruise on Ventura. We have chosen a balcony cabin (B227) and received an upgrade to cabin R605. According to your description we think that cabin B would be a better option because the balcony is less sheltered and more sunny. Are we right?
    Many thanks.


    • Tom says:


      Apologies for not replying before now, but I’ve been travelling during the week and indeed at weekends as well.

      I think I would regard the B deck cabin as better, because of its location. I think that Riviera deck cabin would be quite heavily shaded by the Lido deck overhang, whereas the B deck cabin is both two decks lower and much further forward. That would be my preference.

      Are you able to reject this ‘upgrade’?

  31. Tracy says:

    Hi Tom
    we have been allocated R739,can you give me any advice on this cabin please?

    • Tom says:


      My apologies for taking so long to respond, but this has been a hectic week. Not only was it my last week at work (and working away from home at that), but we’ve also had a boiler failure. This necessitated two weekends away to places where we could have showers and get warm, and eventually a new boiler. But it’s all OK now….

      Let’s get back to R739 on Azura. I don’t know the cabin, but it’s a standard ‘Grand Princess’ balcony cabin, which means that it’s spacious enough without being lavish. We like these cabins, especially the walk-in clothes hanging area between the bathroom and the main cabin area. The balcony will also be a standard size – about 1.5 metres from the cabin to the rail.

      The big issue with the cabins in that area of the Riviera deck is that there’s a big overhang from the Lido deck above which will tend to give you a lot of shade. There again, there will be plenty of times when you’ll get the sun, and when it’s shining on the other side of the ship the overhang won’t be making any difference – your side will be in the shade anyway.

      Looking at the deck plans there is a point I’d forgotten – you’re very close to the Terrace Pool area, one of our favourite spots. There is a door at the end of the corridor past your cabin out onto the Terrace Pool without having to detour up a deck and through the Verona buffet. I don’t know if you’ll be cruising with young kids, but the Terrace Pool is always popular with children. So that might be a positive point.

  32. Mrs A Langridge says:

    Hi Tom,

    I’ll add to the above comments by saying that, we have had Suite C749 on Azura (on her Maiden voyage which was fantastic!) and the balcony was wonderful. We could see the balcony of C751 next door and vowed never to have it (or similar) because of the large stanchion in the middle of the balcony.

    However, I do have a question – we are thinking of booking a cruise that has only got that Suite available, and one other – D737. The stanchion on that balcony looks to be further to one side and seems to leave more space to the left. Do you, or anyone else for that matter, have any helpful comments on this?

    Mrs L

    • Tom Burke says:

      Mrs L: I might just be able to help you. Have you seen this Resource page on the blog? I attempt to answer that very question in Point 3 in the post. Note also the three ‘Updates’ which include some pictures. There may also be some pictures on the P&O site about this – do a search in the FAQs for ‘Obstructed views’.

    • Dean says:

      We have had a few suites A751 is the same as C749 and very good. We have also stayed inD737 and beam does not affect you. Wouldn’t have beamif it was a normal balcony.
      Hope it helps
      Dean Geran

  33. Jean says:

    Hello Tom,
    Can you please provide any information about the Lido Deck Front Cabins on Azura – L106 or L107. Are the views very restricted ? Do other passengers have general access to the observation deck immediately in front of the cabin / suite.

    • Tom Burke says:


      I’m afraid I can’t help you much about these cabins. I’ve never stayed in one. However, have you looked at this page on the P&O website? – it shows the views from L106 & L107 on Ventura which is the same in that area as on Azura. Also do a Google search for ‘Azura cabin L106’ – you’ll find comments by people who have stayed in it.

  34. Jean says:

    Thank you Tom, I have managed to find 2 comments – one saying the balcony areas are peaceful but catch the wind as they are at the very forward area. Another saying they face out onto a public observation area.

    Best wishes


  35. Michele says:

    Hello Tom, I have just booked cabin C752 on Azura and have found out it is next to the crews staircase. I have asked for a quiet cabin and booked this one as all the reviews said it was but do you think there will be noise from the staircase? We stayed in cabin A318 last year on the Ventura and found it very noisy with door slammers so that is why we opted for an aft cabin.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Michelle.

      I’m not sure I can help with this one. I’ve never heard of that area having a crew staircase, but not having been in it I can’t say for definite that there isn’t. However, I’ve found this brief review of that cabin and there’s no mention of one or of any noise.

      • Michele says:

        Hi Tom, thanks for your reply and the link to the review of the aft cabin. I have also found other comments so I am quite happy now with my choice. I am very impressed with your blog and have found the information useful when trying to decide which cruise/cabin to book. The photo’s were also very helpful.

  36. Carol says:

    Hi Tom

    We are thinking of booking Azura first timers but I suffer from claustrophobia and don’t use lifts at all we are looking at a balcony cabin but have no idea of ship layout and and want to try and avoid walking up and down many stairs as possible where in your opinion would be the best deck to be for us thanks


    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the interesting question, Carol.

      Hmm…. I think it will all depend on what you want to do on board. There will be a lot of stairs to climb wherever you choose your cabin. One answer would be to choose a deck approximately half-way up (or down, depending on whichever way you look at it), and in that case either B or C decks would be the ones to choose. That would leave you with 3 or 4 decks’ worth of stairs to climb each time you went anywhere, either up to the Lido deck for the pools and the buffet or down to the Promenade deck.

      Alternatively, you might prefer to locate your cabin nearer to the facilities you’re likely to use most. If you think you’ll want to sunbathe as much as possible on the open decks and use the buffet a lot then you might prefer a higher deck; whereas if you think you’ll use the lower-deck facilities (bars, shops, main dining rooms, etc) more often, then a lower deck (C deck, or D if you can manage the price for the larger cabins) might be better.

      Can I suggest something else? – you might want to choose Freedom Dining if at all possible. With Club Dining (the ‘scheduled sitting’ option) you can sometimes find yourself queueing to get into the dining room before they open the doors. The spaces where this happens are a bit restricted and and even I found them very crowded sometimes. Whereas on Freedom Dining, you stand a better chance of not being caught up in queues.

      • Carol says:

        Thanks for your reply we are thinking might be better on the higher decks so we can get onto the open decks easily also we will probably use the buffet mostly and the other eateries around that area might give mdr a miss

    • Carol says:

      We have now booked on Ventura for next month after a lot of thought we have chosen cabin C753 at the aft hoping it would be quieter with less people around we picked C deck because been told balcony’s are bigger but is this the case at the stern are they the same size as the port/starboard ones also are we likely to get any sun as they do look very covered thanks

      • Tom Burke says:

        Thanks for the question, Carol.

        I’ve never stayed in one of those aft cabins so I don’t know from experience. But I believe it’s a good balcony – it’s clear of the stanchion, and it looks as if it’s a good size, though perhaps not as big as the normal C deck balconies on each side.

  37. Judith says:

    Hi ..we have been ” upgraded ” on azura from c 234 to aft c 742 Can’t see this is an upgrade ..what do you think ? Jude

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, Jude

      That’s an odd one. As regards position I personally would prefer the are where C234 is to where C742 is. However, I have a feeling that the balconies of those two aft-most cabins one either side extend a bit further than normal. Beyond the cabin is a storage space or something with no window, and I think the balcony extends across the front of that as well across the front of the cabin. As I say, I’m not entirely (or even very) certain about this but I have a vague recollection of seeing a detailed picture somewhere. Either way, you’ve still got a C deck balcony.

    • Andy woodward says:

      Hi we are just looking at booking the Azura for a Caribbean cruise and have been offered c742. Did you end up in this room? If so what did you think?

      • Tom Burke says:


        Those last two cabins on each side may indeed have a larger balcony than normal, in that it may extend further back (there not being any more cabins beyond them). However, I don’t know about that for certain. In all other respects it ought to be a standard C deck balcony – i.e., large, part sheltered, part exposed. We like them, and will be having one later this year on Azura.

  38. Valerie McKee says:

    Hi Tom
    Heading to the Fjords on 22 May on the Azura. I have been reading through your very useful and enlightening blog. Today I was allocated R727, just wondering will there be much daylight in the cabin or dark due to the overhang? Do p&o change cabins on request? Many thanks, Valerie

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment Valerie.

      It looks like that cabin is indeed under the Lido deck overhang, and that may affect the amount of direct sunlight. But don’t get too depressed: a) the overhang will only cut off the sun when that side of the ship is actually facing the sun – 50% of the time it won’t be; b) ditto, only when the sun is actually shining, which in the Fjords may not be that much; c) in recompense, because that cabin is so high you’ve got one of the best balcony views of the fjords in the whole ship.

      As regards cabin changes – well, you can ask but don’t get too optimistic. If it was me I think I’d accept the assignment and concentrate on the positives.

      • Valerie McKee says:

        Many thanks Tom, I definitely think its more important to have the view. I will be sticking with the cabin I’ve been allocated. So glad I found your blog, very informative.
        Many thanks

  39. denzil111 says:

    Hi Tom. I am going on Ventura very soon and I have picked cabin C429 what do you think for noise?

  40. Rita says:

    Our first cruise with p and o on the Azura going to Caribbean in nov 16 got cabin a238 any comments on this

    • Tom Burke says:


      My apologies for taking so long before doing anything with this. As regards the question, as far as I can see, A238 on Azura ought to be a perfectly standard A deck balcony cabin: nice cabin, balcony OK, not overlooked, and because it’s a good way forward, not overshadowed by the Lido deck overhang.

      Enjoy your cruise.

  41. Phil says:

    Hi Tom, have booked d 418 on Azura for our cruise at the end of August. As my partner has mobility problems we chose this cabin as it’s near the lift. Also, not worried about the balcony being overlooked. Seems an ideal choice for us. Unless you know a problem we have not seen.

    Cheers Phil

    • Tom Burke says:

      Looks like a good choice, Phil. Nice and quiet – cabins on all sides of you – and, as you say, close to the lifts. Enjoy your cruise.

      (Actually, speaking of cruises vs. other holidays: I had a holiday in Chania in Crete in June. I loved it, but thinking about it, the old town wasn’t especially friendly to the mobility-impaired. Many of the streets ended in steps down to the harbour area, which would have been a big problem to anybody with mobility issues. It brings home again just how good cruising is.)

      • Phil says:

        Cheers Tom. We think it just fine for us. Your correct about cruises be good for anyone with mobility problems. The only down side we find is when it’s a tender port. We just work our way around it by having a lazy day on board.

  42. Carol Donohoe says:

    Hi Tom, going to the fjords end of July on the Azura and have cabin A735. This looks quite a good cabin. Can you please comment. Love you’re blog it is so helpful and informative. Carol.

  43. Becky Hack says:

    Hi Tom,

    Great thorough blog!

    I am looking at booking E612 (outside not balcony I know) I cant seem to find any reviews! Apart form a lady on the opposite side whom said there was a staff stairway which was noisy is this the same on portside? or any other notes on this cabin?


    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Becky.

      I don’t know this cabin but I can’t think of any major problems with it. I don’t know what the white space the other side of the corridor is, but in our experience although there can be stewards’ store rooms & stations in those spaces – i.e. where they hold their stocks of toiletries, bedding, etc, and where the carts they use are kept when not in use. But we’ve never been bothered, even when there’s been a stewards’ station right opposite us.

      • Becky says:

        Ah I see, the other option which is slightly cheaper was cabin E705 my only concern is it being above Havanas entrance. Any thoughts?


        • Tom Burke says:

          I’d have thought that E705 was the more likely to get noise from below. E612 is over East / Sindhu, and that’s quietness personified…

  44. Carole Howlett says:

    Hi, Tom great blog really helpful thank you! Looking at the Azura mid November in the Caribbean. It’s my first Cruise, would have preferred a smaller ship but have a budget. Been doing some investigating and from what I’ve read I’m keen on C Deck Mid-ship and like the larger balcony. C Deck seems to be your preference too can you recommend any cabins, port or starboard. P&O are pushing Lido & Riviera but I think that relates to prices, happy to go the extra if its worth it?

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Carole.

      Certainly the C-deck balconies are my preference, because of the greater depth. One thing I’m not sure about for your cruise, however – how hot will it be in the Caribbean in November?

      Location: well, I would generally avoid the very front – say, the first four or five cabins or so along each side. Then there are also persistent accounts that a few cabins on either side from C600/C601 towards the stern are noisy – that white space amidships in that area may be an uptake to the funnels from the engine room. The corridor is certainly noisier on that area, and some people have said that it has bothered them in the balcony cabins in that area. That said, other people haven’t commented. This might affect perhaps five cabins from C600/C601 towards to stern.

      We’ve had cabins around C324/325/327 several times on Ventura and Azura and been very happy with them. That said, there’s nothing special about that area – I’m sure that almost all of the C deck balcony cabins will provide an excellent cruise experience.

      Enjoy your cruise. Also, while a C deck balcony is very nice, don’t reject other decks out of hand. When it comes down to it, any balcony cabin in the Caribbean will be good….

  45. Rose says:

    Hi Tom,
    Great blog! On Ventura soon. Had booked inside cabin B345 and have now got an upgrade to R407 larger inside.Bearing in mind we’re going across the Bay of Biscay, I am wondering whether this is a good idea to upgrade due to the higher location of Riviera deck.Also there is apparently a space near to it but not clear what it is.
    I know someone asked about this cabin recently but couldn’t see an answer.Have any readers experienced this?

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Rose.

      I’m not so sure about the ‘worse higher up the ship’ argument. Yes, there must be a difference, but that between B deck and the Riviera deck is not large. We noticed it a bit on our crossing (which was a bit bumpy) when we moved from the Glasshouse (deck 7) to the Planet Bar (deck 18) which is a difference of 10 decks (no deck 13….); but going from deck 11 to deck 14 – I don’t think the difference is great. The main things is that ships such as Ventura, Azura, etc, are so big that they are much more stable than older ones. Also the stabilisers can be deployed and these reduce the rolling.

  46. Rose says:

    Thanks for taking the time to reply Tom. I appreciate it and keep up the good work! Hopefully it’ll be fine.

  47. carla says:

    Hi tom. Love reading your comments – soo excited to be going on azura next year! Have booked c535 to accommodate 2 adults and 2 children. Been searching for info on pullman berths as bit worried about us fitting in the cabin. Any experience of these beds (nb kids are both teens!!) Wondering now whether should have gone for bigger cabin with sofa beds?

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Carla.

      I think the truth is that any four large-sized people are going to find a standard balcony cabin on Azura or Ventura a bit of a squeeze. There aren’t many places to sit, so you’ve got to hope that the weather is good enough to use the balcony! Apologies of this isn’t what you wanted to her, but I don’t think that telling you “it’ll be fine” would be right if it doesn’t turn out to be fine. Familial discipline will be necessary – establish bathroom visit schedules, and so on.

      Of course, if any of my readers have done this and can report how it was them and their family – please let us know.

      • Rachel watson says:

        In response to the last question, I have to agree with Tom. We too have 2 teenagers and have ended up booking 2 separate rooms, opposite each other, due to the lack of space. It may actually be more cost efficient for you, due to the pricing structure of P&O.
        We have a boy and a girl so us parents have split up and had one child each with us. It may be that if you have same sex kids they could have a cabin to themselves. Minimum age to be on their own is 16.
        Hope this helps.

  48. carla says:

    Thanks for replies! Might make a call to look into a deluxe with sofabeds (2 girls, 14 and 13 and so second cabin wouldn’t be an option). But food for thought for 2017 🙂

  49. Michael says:

    We are on Ventura in October and have been offered 202 Lido or Riviera 742 can you help please, which is best?

    • Tom Burke says:


      Thanks for the query, and apologies for the delay – which is almost certainly too long now. So the choice was between right at the front, or (almost) right at the back… I’d have gone for the latter; I have a feeling that the stern seems to pitch less than the bow.

  50. Hi Tom, Im on the venture friday and splashed out on a super deluxe cabin…Ive stayed 4 times on the Azura and love it but reading reveiws now Im a bit worried with noise as Im in E722… do you think I will be effected by this ..thanks justine

    • Tom Burke says:

      Justine – apologies for the delay in answering. Although the truth is that I don’t know….. I have heard about some issues with noise from Havana. I think it will depend on the type of entertainment on offer. When we were on Azura, there were as many non-musical evenings (comics, etc) in Manhattan (Azura’s Havana-equivalent) as music acts, and they would be less noisy. I hope it works out for you.

  51. Mervyn Israel says:

    Hi Tom we have been upgraded from cabin b206 to a632. Could you give us any information on this upgrade. Thank you.mervyni@hotmail.com

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the query, Mervin.

      I’ve never been in either of those cabins so I do’t know for certain; but B206 is very near the bow, and when I was on Azura a few weeks ago I did think that the bow area was pitching more than the stern. So my guess would be that moving away from the bow would be better (on the occasions when the ship starts moving a bit, which Azura did on the way towards the Med). Then’s the ‘600 cabins’ noise issue – a roaring noise from the area in the middle of the decks that is audible around cabin 600/601 on all decks. I think that in 632 you’ll be well clear of any noise there might be.

  52. Mick Ferguson says:

    Hi Tom, have really enjoyed reading your blog. We are planning our first cruise next year for our silver wedding and narrowed it down to the Ventura Med. Your knowledge and insights are excellent. Given me food for thought in choosing cabin. Cheers

  53. B Taylor says:

    Hi Tom

    I am struggling to decide whether to opt for a specific cabin and pay Select or whether it will be ‘safe’ to book Early Saver and chance my luck.

    I will be travelling with a daughter who loves the sun, but is likely to freak out if overlooked and on show – akthough it will be early September.

    Am also trying to decide between an Early Saver Deluxe or a standard balcony.

    I appreciate this is a ‘mixed bag’ but is there anything you can say to help me decide. Many thanks….

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question.

      You don’t mention where the cruise is going to and the extent to which a balcony would be valuable. That said, here are my thoughts:-
      a) if your daughter would indeed “freak out if overlooked”, that rather suggests that a Deluxe balcony cabin would not be right – the balconies for those cabins are completely visible from pretty much all the decks above – Lido, Riviera, A, B & C. That’s a lot of visibility……
      b) for us, the benefits of a C deck balcony make it worth the cost of going Select. While it’s true that the further end of them is visible from above, you can arrange the loungers so that in practice only your lower legs and feet are visible. (Although you may find yourself moving your lounger to chase the sun – the angle can sometimes mean that the cabin end of the balcony is shaded);
      c) all that said, I’m sure a standard balcony would be fine although you might get as much sunshine because there’s no bit of them that sticks out from the deck above.

      You might also want to work out how much the price difference is between the Select and Early Saver prices. Remember to factor-in all the extras you can get with the Select fare – car-parking or OBC, and free shuttles. Also how important is it to you and your to be certain of getting the dining arrangements you want? If your allocated dining was not what you wanted, would you feel that it would have been worth the extra (however much that is) to have got what you really wanted?

  54. B Taylor says:

    That’s brilliant, Tom. That has helped a lot. Many thanks especially as I know my question was rather muddled.

    My daughter has actually now said that being overlooked would not bother her at all, so we are going for the Superior Deluxe as it is for a special occasion. As it is (regrettably) only for 2 nights to Belgium there will probably be little sun anyway, so we will be quite respectably clad sitting outside lol.

    I have booked Early Saver as it does not matter re dining preference or shuttles on just 2 nights to Belgium, where the shuttle is free anyway.

    I have however also made a Select Booking on a C Deck balcony on another of my cruises to enjoy the very spacious balcony you describe.

    Many thanks. I love your blog. 🙂

  55. Beverley Lindley says:

    Hi to I have been allocated today cabin R703 on the azura on the 25 th December to the Caribbean will this be a noisy cabin and could I change cabins after booking it on a saver rate ? Thanks Beverley

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Beverley, and apologies for the delay in replying.

      I wouldn’t have though this would be too noisy a location. There will be some foot traffic immediately above you, but I don’t think that will be too intrusive (if at all) – the soundproofing between the floors is very good. That cabin isn’t below the ladies’ toilet, so that’s alright. And I’m not aware that there will be much activity in that location in the Verona buffet at odd hours. So go ahead and enjoy it.

  56. Michael Grimes says:

    Hello Tom , we are sailing on the Azure in March , this is only our second cruise and decided to go for a balcony as a special treat. The cabin we have been allocated is A 103, it has a steel front as opposed to a glass one. Is this a problem and have you any information on this cabin? Thanks for starting this blog have found it very interesting and informative

    • Tom Burke says:


      Thanks for the question.

      I have to admit, I don’t know anything about this cabin (nor the similar ones, A101 and A100/102). One thing that’s interesting is that they aren’t available on Ventura or the Princess near-sisters – the first cabins available are A200/A201. That said, the cabin must exist on Ventura – perhaps it’s used as officer’s quarters; it is very handy for the Bridge area.

      I’ve dug out an image I took of Ventura (not Azura) during the Grand Event spillway in 2012, which shows that area. The cabins you need to look at are ones just forward of the clear balconies on the deck below the bridge. Remember, this is Ventura; but you can see the steel frontages to the balconies, and you can also see that it looks as if these have a different method of access; that looks like a window, not a balcony sliding door. My guess would be that on Azura they decided that they could use them for passengers, and have therefore (I presume) added the normal sliding door from the cabin. However, the steel frontage will remain. So, too, I’m afraid, will be visibility from the Bridge.

  57. Michael Grimes says:

    Thanks Tom for taking the time to get back to me.
    In all honesty I’m not bothered about being visible from the Bridge( I think it will be more of a problem for them)
    As long as we have our solace , sunshine and a guaranteed seat that will do me fine

  58. Ann Stephens says:

    Hi, Tom, just discovered your fabulous blog on the cabins. We’ve done 20+ cruises, mostly P&O and have always chosen C deck midships on Azura/Ventura which we’re delighted with. Very disappointed with Britannia balcony but the ship was great. Have recently been looking at the aft cabins for the wonderful views people say you get and reading your blog has given me so much useful info. it will certainly make choosing a cabin there much easier. My notebook is full of the ‘yes’ and ‘no’s’. Thank you again.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comments, Ann.

      Your views on Britannia echo my own, albeit as yet without having actually cruised on her. (I visited her while she was in Southampton for a few days and did a few blog posts about her – categorised under ‘P&O / Britannia visit’, if you haven’t already found them.) We will however be on Britannia in late May/early June, just for a week, for a cruise to the Fjords. Our thinking is that a balcony is not likely to be as useful on a northern waters cruise as it would be in the Mediterranean.

  59. Susan says:

    Hi Tom,
    I have enjoyed reading your blogs, but cannot find any comments on room P314. There doesn’t seem to be anything about P deck, should I be concerned about this room? I’m starting to think we might be with the staff lol. This will be our first cruise with Azura, so I wouldn’t really know if this is a good room or not, please help!!!

    • Tom Burke says:


      Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you enjoyed the blog.

      P deck – this is the bottom deck on the atrium, in fact the lowest passenger deck of all. There are cabins here, forward of the Atrium – in fact one way to reach them is to go through the Whitewall art gallery. The reason I haven’t mentioned them in the article is they aren’t balcony cabins – being so low down they are Ocean View cabins, i.e. they have a window but no balcony.

      I don’t have any experience of these cabins, except to say that whenever I’ve been anywhere in that vicinity – e.g. looking at the pictures in the gallery – it’s always seemed very quiet and peaceful. Advantages of being low down in the hull would be that roll would be minimised – the higher up you are, the greater the distance each roll takes you through but conversely the lower you are, the shorter the distance. And of course you’re a very short distance from the activities of the Atrium.

  60. isobelwatt says:

    Hi we are on Riviera718 on azuran next February,, can you tell me if we are totally shaded as we dol like Sun as well,many thanks

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Isobel, and apologies for taking so long to respond.

      As far as I can see this cabin, like most of the Riviera deck cabins, is indeed tucked under the Lido deck overhang. So I’m afraid you won’t get any ‘direct overhead’ sun. (Of course, in the Caribbean that might not be a bad thing.) One good thing, however – you’re very close to the Terrace Pool and the surrounding Terrace which does have sun beds on it – it’s just down the corridor from your cabin. Get your towel ready and be prepared to move fast in the morning – before breakfast should do it!

  61. Gillian says:

    We have got cabin b743 is it ok

    • Tom Burke says:


      I’ve never been in it, but as far as I know it’s a standard Grand Princess-class balcony cabin. I’m not sure what’s immediately aft of it, however – it is the last side cabin on that deck. But I don’t actually know anything about it, and I can’t find anything online about that cabin. (Which is probably reassuring – no nightmare stories going around.)

  62. Sharon says:

    Hi This is such a useful blog.
    Can you advise which cabin E721 D203 C501 is best for motion sickness, balcont with sun or shade. E721 is above the club so will it be noisy?
    Thanks Sharon

    • Tom Burke says:


      Thanks for the comment/question – I’m a sucker for compliments….

      In general, lower and midships is better for movement than higher and either for or aft. E721 is a long way aft, so that will move a bit more than cabins more centrally located. D203 isn’t bad though not as good as C501 (in my opinion, of course). The balcony for E721 is exactly covered by the D deck cabin above, so lots of shade. The balcony for the D-deck cabin is completely open – no shade, and you’re in view from all cabins above.

      My preference would be for C501; good location, and a great balcony. The only drawback might be that it’s a standard balcony cabin (“Deluxe Balcony” – everything’s deluxe as a minimum on a cruise….) whereas the D & E-deck cabins are Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabins. Basically, they’re bigger; but they’re also more expensive.

  63. Sally says:

    HI, Have booked V
    Ventura B750 and after looking at pictures I am not sure if this is a good choice – would B752 be any better – thats the only other cabin left at the rear of the ship?

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, Sally.

      I need to stress that I’ve never been in either of those cabins – what I’ve done is take a picture of the stern cabins on Azura and map the cabin numbers onto that. But as you can see, B750 does seem to have that stanchion running through it, and B752 doesn’t. That’s all I can say.

  64. Denise says:

    Hi I’ve booked Azura in cabin A714, to the Carribean we stayed mid ship last time on B deck starboard, can’t see any reviews and is it worth changing to maybe C deck

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, Denise.

      A714 is a normal Deluxe Balcony cabin, with a standard size balcony, so it will be very similar to the cabin you had on B deck. Being one deck higher it will be a bit more sheltered by the Lido deck overhang – the main part of the Lido deck does overhang the balconies below. This has less of an effect as you go lower down the ship; it will be most apparent on Riviera deck, then A deck, B deck, and so on.

      Given the chance, and all other things being equal, I’d always go for a C deck cabin over A, B or Riviera. However, things aren’t always equal. One thing I wonder about is your comment to the effect that you’re sailing on Azura “to the Caribbean”. Does that mean you’re doing the transatlantic voyage at the start of the Caribbean season? The reason I ask is that I see that A714 is port-side; and on a transatlantic voyage to the Caribbean, the port side (which in that situation should face broadly south) should get more sun than the starboard side. (Once you get to the Caribbean then it will probably be 50/50, of course.) So you’ve already got a balcony that should give you good sunshine during a transatlantic voyage. How would you feel if the only C deck cabins available were starboard side? They would be in the shade for most of the day during the transatlantic part of the voyage. In that situation, there is a argument that because of position, a port side A deck balcony might be be preferable to a starboard side C deck balcony.

      Of course I may have misunderstood your comment completely! If in fact you’re doing a standard Caribbean fly-cruise (flying both ways) then a C deck balcony will certainly be bigger and probably sunnier. Only you can say if that’s what you would prefer.

      • Dean Geran says:

        A 714 is not a deluxe balcony.
        Deluxe balconies are on D&E decks.

        • Tom Burke says:

          Thanks for the comment, Dean.

          Strictly speaking, it looks as if you’re right – the current brochure terms the standard balcony cabins just as ‘Balcony cabins’. But I’m pretty sure that in previous brochures they used to call them ‘Deluxe Balcony Cabin’ while those on D & E decks were termed “Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabin”. This was on the basis that everything on a cruise ship is “Deluxe”, of course. But obviously P&O have changed the terminology so I will as well.

          • Dean Geran says:

            I only recall Acadia having deluxe balconies which are on A deck.
            Which I must add is very over looked. But just like deluxe balconies on Ventura/Azura but smaller balcony

  65. Denise says:

    Thank you for your swift reply Tom, we are doing a fly-cruise, sorry not to mention, I did try doing a dummy booking on P&O and there were no C cabins available but on saying that each time I’ve tried they offer different cabins, maybe better to call them

  66. Carol says:

    Hi this year wasn’t able to get a C deck as we wanted and only advailable cabin now R 254 this cabin seems to have a teardrop symbol for shade how shady would it be would there be any sun

    • Tom Burke says:

      That seems a bit strange, Carol, as that forward section of the Riviera deck isn’t under any overhang – the Lido deck overhang starts in the vicinity of R311/R314. That being the case, I would have expected this balcony to be no more shaded than the equivalent one on A or B decks.

      Looking at the deck plans again, I see that all of the balcony cabins on the Riviera deck have been given the teardrop symbol. I wonder if someone has simply missed the point that there’s no overhang in the forward area? Most of Riviera deck is underneath the overhang except that forward section. I reckon they just haven’t been careful enough with the deck plans.

      • Carol says:

        Thanks for your reply just before we booked a cabin on A deck A722 became advailable so booked this one as we prefer to be nearer the stern hope we have made the right choice

        • Tom Burke says:


          That should be fine. Crucially, it has cabins all around it – alongside, above and below.

  67. Susan Feely says:

    My husband and I are going on Azura to the Fjords in August (first cruise ever), we paid the select fare and after much deliberation chose cabin B239. We’ve since just been ‘upgraded’ to B625, which seems to be pretty similar apart from being at the end of the mid-aft section, as opposed to the forward part of the ship. Not sure how much of a better cabin this is really?

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, Susan.

      I think the reason is that P&O would regard that as an upgrade – from an HE grade balcony cabin to an HB grade balcony cabin. Quite how much difference there would be in practice I really couldn’t say! I think some of those distinctions are very arbitrary – for example, take cabins B255 and B299. The former is grade HE, the latter is grade HB – yet they’re next door to each other, so there can’t in practice be any discernible difference.

  68. Muriel says:

    Hello Tom, thank you for your blog, very interesting we are on the Azura in August and have booked three cabins together e723,725 and e 727 I was worried that these would be shaded from d deck above so enquired and I have it in writing from Pand O that they are not shaded, it would be interesting to know your comments or anyone else’s because this would be a lie on their behalf but I see those cabins on Ventura it does state they are shaded, most confused, I had made this booking on the basis that the cabins are not shaded. Thank you for your help. Muriel Bowditch

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, Muriel.

      I suppose it’s about the meaning of the word “shaded”. The position is that the D deck balconies above you will extend as far out from the ship as the your balconies, so when the sun is directly overhead then the balconies above will cast some shade onto yours. But that’s the same position as balconies on B and A decks – the balconies above them extend out as far, etc. It’s (most of) the balconies on Riviera deck that are usually regarded as “shaded” – in those cases, the Lido deck above has an overhang which definitely extends beyond the balconies below, thus casting considerable shade on them. That’s not the case with the E deck balconies.

      On balance I think P&O are right – the position you’ll be in is the same as a holiday hotel with balconies, where each level of balconies extends out the same distance.

      The only completely unshaded/uncovered balconies on Azura and Ventura are those on D deck, which start at the end of the C deck balconies above. Of course, that also means that they are fully exposed not only to the sun but also to everyone’s gaze. Personally, I don’t think I’d want that.

  69. Muriel says:

    Thank you for your reply Tom, what I don’t understand is that they haven’t put any tear drops on those ones but they have on Ventura e deck, weird?

  70. Mary townsley says:

    Has anyone got photos of inside and balcony of 732 ventura please thankyou

  71. Christine S says:

    Fascinating and very useful blog. Thank you Tom. I’ve just booked C222 on Azura for the June 2017 cruise to Iceland and I had not realised that the balconies were bigger. I’m more concerned about blackout drapes as I found the endless day very difficult on Eurodam a few years back. The curtains were pretty useless. Anyone have any ideas about this? I’m hoping that C222 will be dark at night.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Glad you like the blog, Christine.

      I don’t know what material they use for the cabin drapes, but we’ve always found them to be very effective. We went to the fjords on Britannia last June and had no problem sleeping, and in a previous year we went to St Petersburg and the Baltic on Azura in June and again had no problem.

      • Christine says:

        Hi Tom.
        I have a question. Do cabins on Azura have magnifying mirrors anywhere? I know HAL does on the dressing table. My cruise is getting closer and I’m trying to decide what to pack. Hope you know the answer! Many thanks, Christine

        • Tom Burke says:


          Thanks for the question. Unfortunately I can’t help you, except to say that I don’t recall seeing any. Certainly not in the bathroom – I have always shaved using the standard mirror. I don’t think there’s anything loose in the bathroom anyway – it would be too easy to knock it (there’s not a lot of room in those bathrooms!).

        • Jenny says:

          No magnifying mirrors on Azura ,l always take mine ,£1-00 from pound land ,they are neat enough to pack!

          • Christine says:

            Thanks for your reply. I’m now trying to find my mirror and its suction caps. I might have to buy a new one. GBP 1 is much cheaper than any I have been able to source online in Sydney.

  72. Sonia Heywood says:

    Hi Tom,
    I have just found your great blog. I have booked into B307 Azura for the Caribbean at the end of Nov. (booked this cabin as did not want to be overlooked Did not realise until reading your comments that C deck balconies only partially overlooked otherwise would have booked one there with bigger balcony)), however I can not find any reviews of this particular cabin anywhere online Can you help ? I am wondering now after reading earlier comments in your blog if the overhang from a couple of decks above will affect how much sun we receive. Also any views on how noisy it is likely to be, and any other comments would be gratefully received.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the compliments, Sonia.

      As regards reviews of that cabin, I wouldn’t expect there to be any – it’s a boringly normal balcony cabin that doesn’t stand out in any way from the great majority of others on that deck, either good or bad, so I’m sure it will be fine. As regards the sun, by the time you get down to B deck the overhang from the Lido deck isn’t very noticeable – it’s several decks above you – so it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve never heard any comment about that area being noisy, either.

      Yes, the C deck balconies are bigger but the crucial thing for a warm-weather cruise is to have a balcony, and you will have. My suggestion would be – relax and look forward to your cruise! Azura is a great ship, possibly our favourite, and we’ve already booked on her for next year and we’re looking seriously at a 7-night cruise on her again for 2018.

      • Sonia says:

        Thanks Tom

      • karen horner says:

        Hi Tom

        May I ask what cabin you booked on the Azura…im just looking to book and very interested in not being overlooked


        • Tom Burke says:

          Thanks for the question, Karen.

          We’ve done six cruises so far on either Ventura or Azura (and a seventh booked for this year) and we’ve always had a C deck balcony. In fact it’s generally been either C324 or C326, on either ship.

          We like the extra balcony space that the C deck balconies provide, and we don’t mind that half of it is viewable from above.

          • karen horner says:

            Hi Tom

            Golly that was quick..thank you..I am going on a cruise in January leaving Barbados and would love to know recommendation for best position for sun on the ship, port or starboard ?


          • Tom Burke says:

            Can’t help you on that, I’m afraid – never done a Caribbean cruise. But I don’t think it matters much – doesn’t the ship go round in a big circle over the course of the voyage?

            (And the reason these replies have been so quick is that I’m on holiday in Asia at the moment, where it’s breakfast time! Have a look: tomstravelblog.co.uk .

  73. Debbie says:

    Hi Tom, what a wonderful mine of information for a first time cruiser, thank you! We have been offered a choice of L301-L308 cabins on Ventura. Do you have any information on these please? I didn’t know if we would experience noise from the nearby lifts. Many thanks, Debbie

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the compliment and the comment, Debbie.

      I think those are good cabins. I’ve never found any significant noise from the lifts on Ventura or Azura. You do sometimes hear advice to avoid cabins near the lifts, but I think that mainly refers to older ships – these days the soundproofing is much better. And the nature of the balcony cabins on Ventura and Azura is that the space you actually occupy is a long way into the cabin – you’ll be up near the balcony, not down by the door. Also they’re under the spa which is a pretty quiet area.

      I suppose I could be picky and say that there could be some noise from the daytime activities around the Laguna pool. For example, there might be music being played there by the Entertainments team, especially during the sailaways which would probably be audible on the balcony. But that’s probably true for a lot of balconies. Go for it.

      • Debbie says:

        Thank you Tom, this is so helpful! However…! In the meantime the cruise consultant I booked through got us an upgrade (I hope?!) to a midship HA cabin and has booked us into cabin B409. I can’t see anything concerning about it from the deck plans, although it shows a square symbol, not sure what that means. Any feedback welcome! Thank you.

        • Tom Burke says:

          Actually that’s probably even better. The cabin itself will be the same, as will the balcony, but you’ll be a bit further away from any noise. And you’ve got other cabins above, below and on both sides, which is perfect.

          That square symbol means there’s a ‘Pullman Berth’ in the cabin. That’s a third bed. But don’t worry – it’s stowed away flush with the ceiling and you won’t be aware of it. If you were using it (3rd member of a party) the cabin steward would drop it down each evening and stow it away during the day.

  74. Margaret jolley says:

    Just booked cabin number242 lido deck Ventura for next June ,can you tell me how much shade there will be, and what size is the balcony Margaret.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Apologies for the delay, Margaret.

      That looks a perfectly good cabin. It’s not too far forward, and it’s above treatment rooms in the Spa so shouldn’t be to noisy. As far as the balcony is concerned, it will be a standard size; i.e. about 1.5 metres from the cabin window to the rail.

  75. mags says:

    HI tom, we are on the Azure with a balcony room, could you describe what the balcony is like please!

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, mags.

      Can you tell me the cabin number & deck, please? – although most balconies on Azura are the same size (about 1.5 metres from the cabin sliding door to the rail), some are a different size – mainly on C and D decks. And again, balconies facing directly backwards – that is, for the cabins on the stern of the ship – are of variable size. So it all depends on the location of the cabin you’ve booked, I’m afraid.

  76. Lilian says:

    hi tom I have just booked cabin L218 on Ventura and since this is for a special occasion hubby’s 70th was just wondering whether you think this is a good balcony cabin. Any info you can give me would be great.


    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, Lillian.

      I can’t see anything terribly wrong with that cabin, although I ought to say that I’ve never been in that particular one. It’s a standard balcony so the cabin facilities, balcony size, etc, are exactly the same as for other standard balcony cabins (except for C deck, of course). It’s not over-looked. You’ve got the Riviera deck cabins below you so no noise from them. Above you there’s a small walkway to the bow and the spa treatment rooms, and I think both of them will be quiet. There might be a bit of foot traffic along the walkway, but you probably won’t hear anything – I think there are deck coverings along there. In any case, it really is just a walkway, there isn’t enough room for any deckchairs and it get’s very little traffic. The only time it’s busy is approaching or leaving port, as it’s a good vantage point. But on those occasions you’ll probably be out on your balcony enjoying the view as well.

      If I was being pernickety – and without wanting to alarm you – I might say that if there’s a blow, it’ll be felt in that location – high up, and close to the bow. But I’ve always found Ventura a steady ship in most sea conditions.

  77. Sandra says:

    Thank you for a very comprehensive overview of the balconies and the position of the cabins. As i’m more used to cruising on little wooden boats, I do feel very out of my depth having booked our first 15 night cruise on Azura, in the Caribbean in December. From various resources, I gleaned that C deck was, good, larger balconies, cabins above and below, so that is what I booked, and we have been allocated C242 and I have said that we don’t want an upgrade.
    I am very reassured from your blogs and reviews and unless you know otherwise, I think we will be ok with our choice.


  78. Malu Medhurst says:

    Hi Tom, we are going on the Ventura in April, travelling with P&O for the first time. Hubby has booked B738. Can you tell me if this balcony cabin will be ok?

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, Malu.

      First I ought to say that I don’t have any experience of that cabin – I’ve never stayed in it or in that area. However, it looks OK: it has a standard sized balcony, it’s a couple of decks below the Riviera deck overhang, it has other cabins above, below and on both sides, and there are no worrying “white spaces” alongside it on the plans.

      It’s a bit near the back and therefore might be subject to more pitching than cabins amidships, but there again the aft area is arguably less prone to that than the bow. In any case Ventura is a big ship and it takes a good blow to get her rocking much!

      I hope you enjoy the cruise.

  79. Hi Tom, we are going on Azura October 2017 Southampton to the Caribbean our cabin A750 Strathmore suite, is there much noise from above

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, Alan.

      This is a tricky one. First, let me say that never having stayed in the Strathmore Suite I don’t actually know! (lucky you….). But looking at the photo on this ‘Balcony’ resources page, I think you should be OK.

      I’ve done a bit of research and there are some independent comments to support this:

      a) on Cruise Critic there are some comments to suggest that passengers found these two suite – A750 and A751 (which are mirror-images of each other) on both Ventura and Azura. One comment (about A750 on Ventura) said “…Huge balcony, no metal support & very, very quiet. No noise from the pool deck above & at the end of the corridor so no passing traffic…”.

      b) do a search on You Tube for “Azura Strathmore”. You’ll find a couple of videos about A750 and A751 on both of these ships.

      Enjoy your cruise!

  80. brobro says:

    hi tom,
    your information is fab for a first time cruiser like me.
    can i ask you your opinion?
    we are looking for a suite on the azura and have been given a choice between – L106, L107, E732, E734, R401,402,404,405,406,409 – which would you take.
    am a light sleeper??
    many thanks

    • Tom Burke says:

      Glad you’ve found it useful…

      Suites. First thing to say is, I’ve never stayed in a suite so I have no direct experience. But I have been on Azura a few times (and will be again in a couple of months!) so I have some information about the ship.

      Next thing to say is to group these. The two suites on L deck are forward-facing, and the balconies are definitely non-standard. Here’s a link to a photo site run by a very experienced cruiser who went on Ventura in 2008 in L107. You may or may not like that. The two suites you mention on E deck definitely have the stanchion running through them. Also, the images I’ve seen suggest that they balconies aren’t very big – smaller than the equivalent suites on other decks.

      That leaves the suites on R deck. The problem with these is that they’re right underneath the Lido deck overhang, so you’ll be in shade a lot of the time. Also, you might pick up some deck noise, especially early in the morning when the crew put the loungers out. Of those on Riviera deck I’d probably go for R409 – it’s nearer the lift/stairs and perhaps a bit further away from where the chairs will be.

      You don’t mention what sort of cruise you’ll be going on, and that might make a difference. If it’s a real hot-weather cruise you might be glad of the shade on the Riviera deck balconies, whereas if it’s a spring or autumn cruise, or a cruise in northern waters you might want to see the sun more in which case the E deck suites will offer more, even though they may be small. And to be honest, I may be overstating the issues – these are suites with all the space and comfortable that implies. Plenty of people are happy to book suites on Azura & Ventura year after year so any problems can’t be too awful.

      That said, I personally would give the forward-facing suites a miss – I think they might be very windy during sea days.

  81. Jenny says:

    Thank you for creating this site however what do you know about balcony on Azura A747has it a restrictive view .

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jenny.

      I gather that P&O don’t regard A747 as having a restricted view. However, if you do a Google search for ‘Azura A747 restricted’, you’ll see one or two images that would tell you more.

      • Jenny beveridge says:

        Thank you Tom for your helpful and quick response .Oh Dear my husband is disabled and we will be spending more time than most in the cabin.looks like the light will be on a lot.! Hope the ship isn’t full may be they will change cabin for us.living in hope .It was only booked last week so late comers deal!keep up the good work you site is excellent .Jenny

  82. Stacey Euden says:

    We have been given a free upgrade to cabin E720 on the Azura. Whilst I am very pleased with this I am also a little concerned about being above the night club. We have 2 children and will be coming to bed early a few nights. Any comments valued please.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the question, Stacey.

      The first thing is to say is that I have no experience of these cabins. They are more spacious than a regular balcony cabin, however, so that’s good. And the E deck Superior Deluxe cabins are also concealed from above by the equivalent cabins on D deck, whereas those D deck cabins have their balconies completely exposed from above.

      The issue might be, as you say, noise from Manhattan on the deck below. I’ve read various reports, some reporting problems and other saying that they had no issues. I think it is possible that their might be some noise from the lounge, but they shouldn’t be too loud. One good thing – E720 is further forward than other cabins and therefore away from the loudspeakers in Manhattan. It therefore might not be as prone to noise as, say, E728 or E730.

  83. Ralph says:

    Tom – I’ve just come across this blog and I’d like to congratulate; this is one of the best I’ve read – straightforward, knowledgeable and honest. We are travelling on the Azura in December for a pre-Christmas cruise around the Caribbean. We are on C Deck, cabin 518. This is shown as having some Pullman beds that are stowed away when not in use. Do you know if these obstruct the cabin?

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Ralph.

      Pullman beds in cabins in the more modern ships – including Azura – drop down from the ceiling when required. When they’re not in use, they recess completely into the ceiling. As a result there’s no obstruction at all. This does mean, though, that the cabin steward takes responsibility for deploying them (if required, of course).

      The other drawback to the Pullman beds is that, if they are in use, it’s not possible to have the main beds made up as a double. For safety reasons, they have to remain directly below the Pullman beds, and therefore separated. (Of course, if they Pullman beds aren’t being used this restriction doesn’t apply.)

      • Ralph says:

        Thanks for the prompt reply, I’m impressed!
        In our case the Pullman beds are not being used – we just noticed the notation on the deck plan.
        We are pleased to be on deck c – bigger balconies – and we are looking forward to some sun.
        Thank you and keep up the good work

  84. Joan Parker says:

    Hi Tom,
    Please could you give me some advice on suite E733, Ventura for a cruise in July with my 90 year old mum. Would there be a lot of noise or vibration in that cabin? Also, she loves sunbathing, would the balcony get some sun?

    • Tom Burke says:


      Thanks for the question, and apologies for the delaying in replying.

      The first thing I’ve got to say is that I’ve never been in this cabin, so I have no experience of it. However, based on the information to hand I can draw some conclusions. First, this is one of the cabins with what I’ve described as a ‘stanchion’ running vertically through the balcony. However, in this case it seems to be off to one side of what is a good-sized balcony so it shouldn’t make too much difference – but it will be there. Second, it is described by P&O as a ‘Shaded Balcony’ – it’s slightly tucked under the balcony of the cabin above so it isn’t going to get the sun when it’s directly overhead. That said, it is fully exposed from the seaward side, so I would expect that when you were sailing northwards – that is, with this cabin facing south – you should get a lot of direct sun throughout the day. Of course, the corollary is that when the ship is heading southwards and this cabin is facing north, you won’t get much sun at all.

      If lots of sun is the principal requirement, then I think the Superior Deluxe balcony cabins on deck D (either side) might be better – they’re fully exposed. Of course, that also means that they’re fully exposed to the the gaze of other people, as well as to the sun. And even then, if the sun is on the other side of the ship, even these balconies will be in the shade. That’s just the way it is, I’m afraid – the ship does change direction. (Good job, really….)

  85. Hi. Everyone, I was wondering whether anybody knew the width between bed and wall on balcony and superior de luxe balconies? I have a walker which I need to use to move around the cabin and accessible cabins are few and far between. The bathrooms also look very small for passengers with mobility problems. Any information would be more than welcome. Thanks, Sheila Rodgers.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Sheila. I don’t know the answer myself, but perhaps other people do. I have a feeling the bathroom especially is very small, I’m afraid.

  86. Shawn McCready says:

    Hello Tom,

    I’ve had a quick peruse through this page whilst pulling my hair out trying to understand as much as I can before I (hopefully) depart on the A196 Fjord cruise, aboard the Azura, for my first cruise experience as my friends get married.
    This page has some excellent references to keep in mind during the unexpectedly frustrating and daunting booking process and is delivered comprehensively and clearly, so kudos on that. There seems to be a glaring hole regarding a clear and concise database of individual cabin reviews (rather than cruise experiences with a smattering of cabin detail) and it seems like there are very few champions out in the internet willing to impart their knowledge to help others enjoy the experience, so thank you.

    I have a quick question, if you will indulge me. What deck would you recommend for two first-time cruisers who don’t need a sea view, balcony and for whom mobility is not an issue (so we don’t need to be situated near any amenities) but for whom quietude during the night hours is a must. My wife and I have a small child and this cruise will be our first opportunity to sleep in 3 years.

    We are currently looking at an inside cabin, on B deck (508-525) or one of the larger inside cabins on Riviera (403/407).

    Any help you can give would be hugely appreciated.

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Shawn.

      Inside cabins are always a bit of a gamble, I think – although my experience is now quite a long time in the past. The problem is that Inside cabins back up onto the ship’s centre line, and you do not know what is in the space behind the cabin. I don’t want to frighten you too much, so I’ll just say that if there’s any way you can afford an Outside or Balcony cabin, they are pretty much guaranteed to be quiet.

      Also – I have a feeling that Inside cabins away from midships might be less likely to be noisy. I have a feeling that the closer you are to midships, the more likely it is that the space behind the cabin will be ‘busy’ – so the B312 block, for example, might be quieter than the B508 block. But too be truthful I have no experience of these cabins on these ships so I’ll admit that I could be completely wrong.

      Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  87. Jeni says:

    Tom, you may or may not get this but worth a shot – which cabin on Deck C did you have and i assume this was Azura ? We want to book a delux balcony superior but only have D & E decks as options for this room type can you advise


    • Tom Burke says:

      You caught me!

      We generally had cabins on both Ventura and Azura in the area of C324 to C328, and the equivalent cabins on the other side of the ship – C323 to C327. I think we cruised in C324 and C325 on one ship or the other, twice each. We picked these because a) they were on C deck; and b) they’re close to the highest-priced balcony cabins on C deck (between C402 and C523) yet are a bit cheaper. Our thoughts were simply what, honestly, is the difference between, say, C328 and C402? – they’re next door to each other yet the latter is more expensive than the former. Not by much, true, but there is a difference.

      As regards the choice between Deluxe Balcony and normal balcony, you do get a larger cabin in the Deluxe Balcony, but the actual balcony isn’t as large as on C deck (it’s larger than those on Riviera, A & B, though), and it’s completely overlooked – from the sliding door all the way to the rail is fully exposed from above. On Azura & Ventura we would always try to get a C deck balcony – we find that the standard balcony cabin is big enough, and we love the huge balcony. But that’s us; others have different views. It’s worth saying that we are just a couple, i.e there’s just the two of us – if there are more people in your party then the larger cabin might well be worth it.

  88. […] A long time ago I did a detailed post about the different sizes of the balconies on Ventura and Azura. it’s still one of my most popular posts – every day, between 10% and 20% of the page hits I get is for that one post. Here’s a link to it. […]

  89. Ida Goldberg says:

    Tom, thank you very much for your blog. It is very useful and informative. We are first time cruisers and l am not so sure about the Venture R616 balcony cabin. What is your opinion about it?

    • Tom Burke says:

      Thanks for the comment, Ida.

      R616 – well, the first thing to say is that I don’t know that actual cabin, so anything I say is based on logic rather than experience. So here goes.

      The first thing to point out is that it’s immediately below the Lido deck (specifically below the buffet). I don’t think noise is problem here – the deck floor above you is very thick and well sound-proofed – but it is the case that there is a significant overhang over the Riviera deck balconies I. That area, including R616. Have a look at a Lido deck plan, and see how much the deck gets wider at the end of the cabins on that deck. That overhang will leave the balcony for R616 quite shaded.

      The other thing to say is that the ‘white area’ between the balcony cabins on either side of the ship in that area is blank for a reason. The funnel structure is somewhere above at that point, and that white area extends right down the ship. Basically, in that area are ducts, pipes, etc, extending from the engineering space at the bottom of the hull right up to the funnel. Some people have felt that there can be some noise from that. It’s certainly audible – a low hum – in the corridor. As to whether it extends into the cabins I don’t know. In any case there is quite a lot of real estate between the passageway outside the cabin and, for example, the bed: you’ve got the bathroom & loo immediately up against the inside wall of the cabin, then there’s a walk-in clothes hanging and storage area, then there’s a partition, and then you get into the main part of the cabin. So lots of things between you any noise.

      For me, I think it’s the overhang that would be the main issue with a cabin in location.

  90. Julia Naraine says:

    Many thanks for this info Tom, it really helped us make good choices when booking next door stern cabins for us & my Mum

  91. Helen says:

    Thank you so much sharing this information.

  92. lesley says:

    Hi Tom. Just to say a good read. We are just about to board the Ventura for the THIRD time. Always a good trip……but…I wish I had read this SOONER. We have always had a balcony & this time A deck (but seems a smallish balcony AGAIN!). My tip to others is check this out before you book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  93. Ann Thomas says:

    Hi Tom booked caribbean cruise on Azura Room C535 would you say this is a good cabin ie. Not over looked and in a quiet area?

    • Tom Burke says:

      As a C-deck balcony cabin it’s 50% overlooked – but it’s also twice the size. The area nearest to the cabin is not overlooked – it’s underneath the balconies on B deck – but the area beyond (towards the rail) is visible from above. So when you stretch out on your lounger – which you can’t do on Riviera, A, or B deck balconies – people will be able to see your feet…. Oh the horror! C deck balconies are the same width but twice as long as the balconies above – 3 metres instead of 1.5 metres. We’ve cruised on Azura & Ventura 6 or 7 times and have a C deck balcony cabin every time, and if we ever do so again, that’s what we’ll look for.

  94. Helen says:

    Captain Marcin Banach is currently onboard Azura and he shared a great shot of the balconies on his Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/CaptainMarcin/status/1291100983523713031/photo/4

    It would make a good addition to your excellent post, as it really gives you a feel for the size of the balconies on Decks D and C in particular.

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