Cruising On Azura – Dress Code Tips Bookmark and Share

We’ve just got back from a 2 week cruise around the Med on P&O’s Azura and thought it might be nice to offer some advice to people who are about to or are thinking about cruising on Azura. After all we found it almost impossible to get a straight answer to even the simplest dress code questions with people happy to offer opinion as fact!

The Azura Dress Code

Before going I’d read so much about the dress code on Azura and to be honest a good 90% of it was utter rubbish. It’s not surprising because in P&Os own literature you’ll find at least 3 different variations for what is expected. Here is the definite guide from our first-hand experience on board:-

Depending on your cruise location and duration you will find a mix of 3 dress codes on Azura, they are smart casual, semi-formal and formal. After 6pm the ship switches to the dress code of the day (one of those three). Now if you want to eat in one of the main dining rooms (Meridian, Orient, Peninsular) you will be expected to comply with the dress code of the day (or better, for example you can wear formal to a semi-formal evening). Yes people were turned away from the dining room for not complying. The only places outside of the main dining rooms that the dress code is enforced is The Planet Bar and the Blue Bar. The rest of the ship including the buffet areas you are fine to wear smart casual no matter what the dress code is (Just for proof here is an image from the interactive TV on-board Azura showing these instructions for a semi-formal evening). The only caveat to this is on semi-formal and formal evenings it is best to wear a jacket if going to the Casino, this wasn’t enforced but you may feel more comfortable.

Dress Code On Azura

What Counts As Smart Casual?

For men pretty much anything that reaches your ankles and any type of top with a collar. There were plenty of people wearing jeans and polo shirts with the older men providing a deluge of Farah slacks and M&S shirts! Women just tend to wear whatever they want as long as it is obviously not beach/sports.

What Counts As Semi Formal?

A jacket and no jeans. That’s all they seemed to be fussed about. Whether you want to wear a matching suit or just a jacket with some trousers is up to you, as is the need to wear a tie. There really is no need and on our cruise I’d guestimate that over 90% of men didn’t bother. You are supposed to be on holiday, not going to a job interview. For women it tended to comprise of dark smart separates or a dress.

What Counts As Formal?

A suit and tie. Be it a dinner suit, tux or lounge suit it doesn’t matter. National dress amongst the Scottish was also very popular. Whilst there were plenty of dickies on show a lot of younger men opted for a normal tie and smart shirt under their suit. For women Formal meant a dress, most opting for the same as they’d wear for Semi Formal whilst some (especially on the 2nd and 3rd Formal evenings) opting for full length gowns.

What About Children?

There is no dress code for children other than that they are dressed appropriately for the dining areas. The only other requirement is that on Formal evenings they wear a minimum of smart casual (but not jeans). Of course plenty of people enjoy dressing their kids up more than themselves!

As mentioned above the dress code on Azura is enforced and there were people turned away from the main dining rooms whilst we were on-board. This does seem a complete nonsense for a ship that sells itself as family friendly but it goes with so many things on Azura that make it duel personality (We saw a well behaved family asked to leave a bar because other “older” guests had complained). P&O in trying to be all things to all men have created a cruising experience that embarrasses some paying customers, annoys others and generally lacks the clarity to enable you to relax and enjoy what is supposed to be YOUR holiday. But much more on this at a later date.


11 Responses to “Cruising On Azura – Dress Code Tips”

  1. Ron Addison on December 4th, 2011 12:24 pm

    To whosoever wrote this article, thank you very much. I had been on the verge of booking to go on this ship early next year but it has been diifficult to find out what sort of dress rubbish P&O were trying to enforce. I find it all quite easy now. I would bitterly resent being a second class citizen barred from certain places because I am trying to pretend I am on holiday. I have no wish to get involved in this sort of gibberish or, for that matter associate with people who do and it is my pleasure to put P&O (and probably the rest of the cruise lines) on my pemanent blacklist. Again many thanks for this.

  2. patricia on January 24th, 2014 10:49 pm

    Do you have to dress up??? Can you eat somewhere else on these formal nights ???

  3. Holidays Reviews on February 3rd, 2014 8:53 am

    The Buffet is always open. The problem is more with the bars, casino etc where it is common to see people turned away. If you don’t dress up you turn yourself into a second class citizen for the night 😉 RC, NCL etc are much easier going on this and it seems like a desperate bid by P&O to cling to their roots. We are away on Ventura in a couple of weeks so it will be interesting to see if this has changed at all.

  4. Holidays Reviews on March 6th, 2014 5:15 pm

    We’ve just got back from 2 weeks on the Ventura around the Caribbean and I’m sorry to report that things are worse than ever. Semi-formal has been done away with (in the Caribbean at least) but I’m afraid the financial down turn has taken hold. The majority of the guests on our cruise were well over the target age for Ventura and Azura, obviously bargain hunting and then doing nothing but complaining once onboard about “how it wasn’t as good as (instert Cunard/Princess) , not to mention being expcetionally rude to the staff. They have managed to make formal nights a massive pain for anybody under the age of 50 and eating in the main dining rooms frankly an embarrassment. This will be our last P&O cruise, you’d need a masters degree in patience to be in the same room as the elder traditional British Cruise guests that are flocking on to these ships with their finger clicking, blatant racism and absolute ignorance.

  5. Eileen Chivers on May 25th, 2014 12:57 pm

    Since 2009 we have been on a cruise each year except one. My husband and I are a ‘ young mature couple’ very active and love company of any age which is exactly what you find on a cruise especially when you book a table of 8 in the restaurant for the evening meal. I assure you we do not find any of the rules on board the P & O cruises a problem, in fact we would suggest that anyone wanting to go on a cruise who normally change for an evening when on any holiday rather than being lazy and wearing the clothes they have worn all day should IGNORE the negative comments made and give it a try, we are completely hooked. The food is fab and the staff are helful and friendly and I assure you we have seen very few ‘cruisers’ who are rude to the staff, in fact quite the opposite as the staff are interesting to talk to. Those that are rude we would imagine are like that in their every day life, in fact just plain ignorant. Happy cruising !!!

  6. Holidays Reviews on August 28th, 2014 8:18 pm

    “Since 2009 we have been on a cruise each year except one”, why did you feel the need to mention this? THIS is exactly the type of snobbery that puts us of cruising with P&O. The dinner table becomes one giant pissing contest of who has been on the most cruises and who has the best watch.

    To put this into context I finally gave in and we cruised again with P&O this year, on the Ventura this time. Staff – excellent, cruise – excellent (can’t fault the Caribbean), fellow guests – a disgrace..again. We experienced people clicking their fingers at waiters, a seminar that featured a talk about “Johnny Foreigners”, several couples disgusted that they let children on the ship and not afraid to voice it and the most uncomfortable meal of our lives having to listen to 2 couples arguing over who knew Andy Murray’s mother the best. I kid you not. We will never sail with P&O again. It’s not like our experience was way out there, each cruise with P&O has had the same British 1940’s attitude, they seem proud of it. If you have only sailed with P&O then I’d suggest broadening your horizons, we’re not against cruising at all and are booked to go away again soon with Royal Caribbean. All cruise ships have their positives and negatives but the stoutly British P&O guests with their casual racism and general rudeness is a negative too far for us to consider them for any future cruise plans.

  7. I McDowell on January 4th, 2015 10:26 pm

    My husband and I are on our first cruise in nov 15 on the azura, and reading the comments so far has made me wonder if we are going to enjoy a very expensive holiday after all

  8. Lucy on January 8th, 2015 10:51 pm

    I suggest these people that can’t accept standards stick to Butlins and leave our great british standards on this reputed cruise line intact thank you very much

  9. Holidays Reviews on April 27th, 2015 4:12 pm

    Well done Lucy, you tell them. The more people that are left to “enjoy” P& O Cruises the better. After all with an average demographic in their 60’s why would they ever want to worry about attracting new customers, those stout British cruise folk will just live for ever surely? We are away on another cruise in 2 months, not with P&O.

  10. t walsh on September 16th, 2015 1:09 pm

    Hi I am going on the azura in November to the Caribbean. Hope ive made the right decision to chose p&o after reading some of these comments

  11. Holidays Reviews on September 17th, 2015 9:59 am

    Hi, I’m assuming as part of your decision making process you did some research in to what P&O offer? Once you’ve got that far it’s really horses for courses. Depending on your age and outlook on life you’ll either massively enjoy it or think it was a terrible waste of money. There is very little middle ground with cruises. To give you an idea we are a couple in our late 30’s, early 40’s, very very easy going who have always gone on holiday with our daughter. We’ve been going on cruises for the past 7/8 years and have tried all the big companies. In our day to day lives and on holiday we are well used to mixing with all ages and groups of people. In general life and on all our other holidays we just get along fine. What P & O offer is very much a traditional British cruise experience that on Ventura and Azura they sell as family friendly. This lowering of prices (you’ll struggle to find cheaper than P&O) encourages a certain type of “older” customer that we as a family struggle with. Clicking of fingers, shouting “you boy”, casual racism towards the staff and a general attitude of “owning the ship” whilst complaining about everything not being as good as “their” last ship (not to mention the boasting, the pointless endless boasting) is probably the norm on some of the more exclusive ships but family friendly it isn’t, certainly not to our family. The dress code is the dress code and I wouldn’t dream of complaining about something like that once onboard, do the research then if you’re happy with it book, if not don’t. This post only came about because when we went there was nothing definitive about their dress code and I was trying to help others out. Our time with P&O is done, I’m much happier to spend the extra money and be on a holiday we can enjoy all the time. Again this is nothing against P&O themselves, the ships are fine, the staff excellent, it’s just a small minority of the guests they attract are….what’s the word??

Got something to say?