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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was probably the least enjoyable of our 17 cruises with P&O (6th on Aurora), but I should stress that the majority of this was not down to P&O. We did the Northern Lights Cruise during the same 2 weeks last year (also on ... Read More
This was probably the least enjoyable of our 17 cruises with P&O (6th on Aurora), but I should stress that the majority of this was not down to P&O. We did the Northern Lights Cruise during the same 2 weeks last year (also on Aurora) and had a spectacular display of the Northern Lights over two nights, with a weaker display on a third night. This year we had almost permanent cloud cover and on the two ocassions that we saw the Northern Lights they were incredibly weak. If last year was a 9 out of 10 display, this year was 1 out of 10. We also had fog (with the dreaded fog horn disiturbing sleep a few nights) and rough seas, with a lot of sudden lurching, for 24 hours on the return which became tiresome. Other than the 24 hours mentioned, Aurora rode the seas very well. As a point of interest, Viking Sky (the ship that ran into difficulties) arrived in Alta on our second day there and followed us back down the Norwegian coast a few days later. Last year we stopped in Tromso on the way to Alta, which was a lovely place and we really enjoyed our visit there. This year we made a maiden call (for P&O) to Narvik, which was a very poor replacement. Nothing much to see in the town. I also had a bad experience with a P&O tour. I had booked a snowmobile tour at £310 and it was stressed that the price was per snowmobile, not per person, so if you went as a couple you shared the snowmobile and the driving (and paid £310 between you), whereas if you went alone, you paid £310 but had sole use. At the snowmobile centre they tried to force me to share a snowmobile with another passenger when we had both paid £310 each. Naturally I refused, but it was a battle and spoiled the experience. Also the Snowmobiling was supposed to be ‘in mountains and places inaccessible by foot’ but was back and forth across a frozen lake. This was the same as I had done the previous year in Alta for around £100 less. The tour was also advertised as providing the history of the Narvik to Sweden railway line and its role in the Second World War. This didn’t happen either. Worst of all, my complaint about these issues back on board was handled very badly. They preferred to believe the word of the tour agent (who was naturally covering their back) than a customer of some 23 years standing. Very naive and short sighted of them, as we have now decided to do far fewer P&O tours on future cruises as a result. The scenery along the Fjords and ashore is fantastic. We had seen much of it last year, so didn’t quite get the ‘wow factor’ that passengers seeing it for the first time would have experienced, but it was lovely none the less. Temperatures were fine. Just like a cold U.K. winter. Most of the time it was within a few degrees of freezing, with the coldest we had around minus 7 degrees. Last year it was minus 15 to 20 degrees, so much colder. In spite of it not being that cold, the staff decided to keep the very heavy fire doors to the cabin corridors closed on all decks. Whilst this was needed below deck 7 (which is all they did last year, even when it was MUCH colder), this year they decided to do it on ALL decks. This just wasn’t necessary as the areas around the lift areas between decks 8 and 11 were incredibly hot and there would have been far better temperature dissipation with the doors open. We fed this back on the ‘First Impressions’ form and, thankfully, they kept the door outside our cabin open thereafter (my wife is a wheelchair user and, in addition to the door not needing to be closed, it made access to and from our accessible cabin very difficult). Service in the Medina Restaurant was absolutely superb. Well, to clarify, it was superb as far as the waiters and managers were concerned. The wine waiters were poor. Difficult to get hold of and one was actually quite rude. Food was perfectly acceptable, but not quite as good as on our previous cruises on Aurora. One disappointment (noted by many) was the absence of lobster from the Marco Pierre White menu. The current chefs seem to think that us Brits are scared of anything remotely spicy, so tone everything down to mild, bordering on bland. Great shame, as we loved trying all the tasty curries at lunchtime years ago. The Glasshouse and Beach House were great (as always) and whilst the Sindhu Restaurant on Aurora is our least favourite Sindhu in the fleet, we enjoyed Tiffin lunch in there. We met some lovely fellow passengers (including some we had met on previous cruises, which was fantastic) and enjoyed some pleasant chats. The average age of passengers on Aurora is usually mid 70’s (they didn’t quote a figure this time but last year the Captain mentioned the average age was 73) and although we are a few decades younger, this suits us. We aren’t fans of P&O’s ‘1960’s holiday camp’ style of entertainment so tend to avoid much of it, but the Headliners troupe on this cruise were very good (we find that they vary enormously from very good to poor), but sadly left after this cruise. Electra (two female violinists) were absolutely superb. Jane Davey (presenter) was very confident and engaging, but we found that her desire to find a wise crack in almost every line became irritating and diluted the substance matter so much that we lost interest. Stuart St Paul (former stuntman and film director) gave some fairly interesting talks, but was rather full of himself. The Port Presenter (Sam) was very good, other than the Butlins style “if you have been to Norway before, shout ‘whoop whoop’ additions. Dear God, when will P&O wake up to the fact that it’s now the 21st Century! When we disembarked, there were 1,000 workmen waiting to embark to assist with Aurora’s refit in Brest, France. A total of 1,800 workmen will toil over the next fortnight to bring her a little more up to date. We are back on board next month, so will play ‘spot the difference’. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except ... Read More
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except room service to get a drink. Staff entertainment didn’t show up on numerous occasions. Was a complete waste of money, hated every moment of being on the ship. Luckily we managed to see some amazing places. Great thing was the room, always clean and tidy. Although they never topped up the mini bar. Found out towards the end that you had to ask and sign for anything after the first night. Plus only complimentary water on the first night! Just constantly felt like there was nothing to do, was definitely aimed at the older crowd. If you want to know how to get rid of fluid retention this is your ship *yawn* Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoyed a Christmas Cruise last year with Royal Caribean and anticipated a similar experience - what a disappointment. Before we even started we found the website very difficult to navigate and actually speaking to someone on the ... Read More
We enjoyed a Christmas Cruise last year with Royal Caribean and anticipated a similar experience - what a disappointment. Before we even started we found the website very difficult to navigate and actually speaking to someone on the phone even more difficult. The coach trip to Southampton was well communicated and the coach was large and spacious. The fact that coach parked well away from the pick up point was a major problem as we had to man handle our luggage several hundred yards in wet conditions. ( This was true of the return journey too) Registration was smooth as was the emergency briefing. The food in the Horizon restuarant (breakfast and lunch) was on a par with a Wetherstones pub. Scrambled eggs made with egg powder and toast as hard as biscuits with no difference in choice from day to day. One egg station with massive queues. Lunch offered a more varied choice but the quality and presentation ( apart from desserts) was a low standard. Food apparently haphazardly piled into heated trays. Dinner in the Medina restuarant was much better but apart from Christmas Day the food on the two other formal nights was not special. Service in the restaurants and bars was mixed. The almost complete reliance on male waiters and bar staff was most surprising - some were very good but others surly and arrogant, particularly when dealing with my wife who is Asian and was ignored or looked down upon on many occasions. Evening entertainment was very limited. The Headliners sang and danced to popular groups/genres and were well drilled. Hardly West End show performers though and the 'shows' lacked creativity, uniqueness or any 'wow' factor. The stopping off points, Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Bruges were well selected and the best parts of our trip. The guests on board were mainly couples and for the most part elderly. My wife christened the cruise ship a floating nursing home as many many guests were infirm needing help in one way or another to get round the ship. The ones in motorized wheelchairs were reckless and seemed to have little regard for fellow passengers whilst the ones on sticks or walking frames seemed to block passageways by walking 2 or 3 abreast. All in all a very disappointing experience and one I will not repeat. The difference between the Royal Caribean experience and the P&O Aurora experience is so vast it cannot sensibly be measured in my view. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Food really is not up to the standard you would expect from a cruise ship. Tasteless, stale bread and sandwiches little choice on food for late buffet. Reception staff that really could not be bothered and lied to us on more that one ... Read More
Food really is not up to the standard you would expect from a cruise ship. Tasteless, stale bread and sandwiches little choice on food for late buffet. Reception staff that really could not be bothered and lied to us on more that one occastion. Entertainment was nothing to write home and very standard with only one half decent act on board. The restaurants that you have to pay for and the main dining room in the evening are the best place to eat. Breakfast is very poor overall and this ship seems to be Benidorm at sea, So if you like you cheeky chap cockney gizza this is the cruise ship for you. Iwill never book with P&O again. We have booked for IONA first voyage its now getting cancelled and I will take the lose on the deposit and not bother giving them any more for my money again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Just back from the Christmas Market cruise to the Baltics, let's start with the positives. The crew were absolutely fantastic, polite, efficient and humble in every area of the ship. Our cabin steward was exceptional and the ... Read More
Just back from the Christmas Market cruise to the Baltics, let's start with the positives. The crew were absolutely fantastic, polite, efficient and humble in every area of the ship. Our cabin steward was exceptional and the waiting staff, especially in the bars were great. The food was very good in the Alexandria restaurant and there was plenty of choice in the buffet, if not always to the highest standard. There was also a good mix of passengers on board, from young families to the elderly. Most people seemed to be having a good time and overall, we had a great holiday. Now for the negatives, unfortunately there are quite a few... The ship is old, so has its issues relating to this and certainly lacks a lot of things that are standard on the newer ships. Stability is poor, with excessive movement even in calm seas. Ironically, it seemed to cope better in the force 9 winds we had on the way home than the calm waters on the way out. Our cabin creaked like an old pirate ship during the night. They seem to have some sort of sewer problems as the bathrooms stink like a public convenience, not just ours, others also complained to be told there was nothing that could be done. The sound insulation between cabins is non existent. You can hear every word of your neighbours talking in normal voices and listen to their TVs. The TVs are pointless and the entertainment was adequate at best but nowhere near the standard of what we saw on Britannia in May. In summary, we liked some aspects of Aurora but prefer the modern comforts of the newer ships. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I took my 2 teenage grandchildren to see the northern lights. Couldn't have asked for a better holiday for them. They seen the lights and more. The ship and every member of staff was friendly polite and efficient. I have been ... Read More
I took my 2 teenage grandchildren to see the northern lights. Couldn't have asked for a better holiday for them. They seen the lights and more. The ship and every member of staff was friendly polite and efficient. I have been on 2 p&o ships now going on 3rd in March. Could not fault them. We met a couple of friends whom we now keep in touch with. The entertainment was excellent and even the group next step allowed my granddaughter to sing with them. Everywhere we went people were friendly, the ship was clean and always a member of staff to help. If I had to say something negative it would be some costs are a little much when you have children but i understand this for some things. Excursions were too expensive for me to take the kids but managed to get one off ship. In all a very very enjoyed trio from the 3 of us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
we have sailed with P&O a few times as well as with other cruises companies. i am sad to say the quality offered by P&O feels like a company in Austerity but i will start with the good points. The cabin was clean and the staff ... Read More
we have sailed with P&O a few times as well as with other cruises companies. i am sad to say the quality offered by P&O feels like a company in Austerity but i will start with the good points. The cabin was clean and the staff worked hard. They were very friendly, cabin crew, waiter etc. The weather was good once we reached Greece. Some of the entertainers bought on to perform were excellent. The table we sat with for dinner was excellent. Sadly the the rest went downhill. The food the the restaurant and the horizon was poor quality and repetitive. The meat was often tough, the Salmon was dry and skin burnt on one occasion then fine the next, guess what i'm saying is there was no consistency. Roast beef was on the menu a number of times but not a yorkshire pudding to be found, roast potatoes were deep fat fried rather than roasted. Room service is now all chargeable except for breakfast for which choice is reduced and a cooked breakfast no longer available. Even the biscuits in the cabin have been changed to a poorer quality and now are no better than rich tea. Once upon a time there use to be a small dish of sweets in the cabin but alas this is a past memory. Not a chocoholic afternoon tea in sight. it is now chargeable for materials for art classes, the fit steps and other fitness classes more cost cutting exercises. The headliners who did more shows than i have ever seen, were weak and it was poor. left me feeling this was a cost cutting exercise. The entertainment team had little presence and the dance teachers seem fed up and it seemed as if it was a effort. the entertainment was poorly organised and lacked creativity. On one sea day they put an extra film on in one of the other venues however this turned out to be the darkest hour which had already been shown earlier in the week. Another day the movie was Saturday night fever in the cinema. The T.V in the cabin was something out of Noah's ark limited channels, no choice, really old films i remember from being i child and i am heading toward being 60. The T.V was so small i could hardly see it and i was wearing my glasses. On a sea day the roof over the pool was left open after Malta despite it being windy, even with a number of people asking for it to be closed as it was too cold to use the facilities. Sadly we were advised a decision had been made to leave it open but then it was closed for the Mama Mia party but not for the comfort of the customers. the cabin crew use to fold the towels and make a display of them on the beds this is just another fond memory not once in 17 days but them again if they are cleaning and responsible for more cabins the extra are cut back on. what can i say i can not agree with their advertising this is the life. It certainly is no longer. when a company makes so many cuts they risk reducing the experience and sadly i would say they have achieve this. it no longer feels like a luxury experience more like any other holiday. i think other cruise companies are now offering more Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We have just returned from a 24 night round trip cruise from Southampton to the USA and Canada which, although it was our 16th P&O cruise and our 5th on Aurora, was the longest cruise we have ever done. Overall, it was a very enjoyable ... Read More
We have just returned from a 24 night round trip cruise from Southampton to the USA and Canada which, although it was our 16th P&O cruise and our 5th on Aurora, was the longest cruise we have ever done. Overall, it was a very enjoyable cruise, but rather than review each of the 24 days, I have summarised the good points and not so good points, from our perspective. GOOD POINTS Good and varied itinerary, with New York, Quebec and our tour to Kennebunkport being the highlights. Aurora is a lovely traditional cruise ship, which attracts a passenger profile that suits us. Average passenger age on this cruise was 73. Approaching New York from the sea is a ‘must do’ experience that you will never forget. Berthing in the Manhattan Cruise terminal, with all the main sights within easy walking distance, was superb and ‘one up’ on Cunard, whose QM2 was berthed over in Brooklyn. The main dining room food was almost always a very good standard. Service and food in the Glasshouse was excellent and it was always quiet in there, which suits us. Although the Sindhu on Aurora is the only one in the P&O fleet that we don’t like - and our one evening meal there was underwhelming - we did enjoy the Tiffin Lunch there. The staff never smile though and don’t seem to enjoy their work - the complete opposite to the Glasshouse team. Port presenter Sam was first class. Exemplary knowledge and detail, all delivered from memory. Jeffrey Holland’s one man play about Laurel and Hardy was the best performance we have seen on any P&O cruise and a real step up from the holiday camp style entertainment that usually prevails. Quite ironic, given that he is best know for being in Hi-di-Hi. Having ORCA whale and dolphin watches and talks was a very welcome addition to the cruise. We also managed to see Sei Whales, Beluga Whales, Atlantic White Sided Dolphins and porpoises at sea, as well as a Bald Eagle and Chipmunk ashore. ‘String & Tonic’, Gervase Phinn, Jeffery Holland, James Pearce and Andrew Killian were all excellent guest lecturers or artists. NOT SO GOOD POINTS Twelve sea days in mostly force 8 to 10 weather is tiresome, and we wouldn’t do another transatlantic by sea unless there were stops both ways. We have discovered that 24 nights is too long a cruise for us, especially with lots of sea days which become repetitive. Our optimum cruise length is now minimum one and maximum three weeks. At least we now know that we would never want to do a World Cruise! A number of passengers came on the ship with coughs and colds and this spread quite extensively. By the end of the cruise, it was almost impossible not to end up sitting near someone who was either coughing, blowing their nose or both. We would have loved the interactive HD TV’s of Britannia, with on demand movies, to help while away the sea days. The old fashioned TV’s on Aurora are rubbish in comparison. Service standards in the Medina Restaurant had slipped from previous cruises on Aurora. Service was too quick at times, with one course immediately following the next with no break in-between. Although you are allowed to enter the Freedom Dining restaurant as late as 9.30pm, they start dimming the lights briefly just at around 10pm to try to hurry guests up, which was unacceptable. Missing a port is always a great shame and we missed Newport Rhode Island. Sound insulation between cabins is very poor. We were disturbed by the people above us pacing up and down in a very heavy footed manner at all hours, which sounded like thunder from below thanks to the metal ceiling. Captain Pembridge insists on doing all 5 of the return transatlantic clock changes at night, which went down badly with passengers, many of whom were used to them being done at lunchtime. The crew that we asked prefer the time changes at lunchtime as well. There should be a P&O policy on this and it shouldn’t be at the whim of individual Captains. Some guest lecturers were scheduled to give talks over lunchtime, which was poor planning. Terry Brown, former police officer, was very engaging but his talks on the outward journey lacked substance, were rambling, repetitive and never really got to the point. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Had been on the ship previously about 8 years ago - it had been updated since then but still looking sad and tired in some of the outside areas. On a positive note, the food has to be some of the best I have ever had on a cruise. The ... Read More
Had been on the ship previously about 8 years ago - it had been updated since then but still looking sad and tired in some of the outside areas. On a positive note, the food has to be some of the best I have ever had on a cruise. The Horizon restaurant deserves special mention - the choice and quality was incredible, and the staff some of the most helpful I have ever experienced. Medina Restaurant staff not so friendly, no eye contact, no conversation other than matters relating to the menu; on occasion service very slow, one night over two hours for dinner..... Entertainment: Headliners superb shows, have some very talented staff; however some of the other shows/entertainment very poor during the evening. Daytime - When I go on holiday to the sun, I do not want to go inside for the entertainment during the day - okay some people might like the respite from the sun, but hardly anything outside during the day around the pool, might get the odd 30mins of music, but other than that, zilch !!! Outside cabin and steward ok - but very small - if it had to house 4 people you wouldn't be able to move!!! I know that the ship is going to adults only next year, and all the children paraphenalia will be removed, maybe that will improve the back terrace and maybe the entertainment will improve ...... but I won't hold my breath. P&O really need to up their game, and not be stuck with the same entertainment 20 years down the line - other cruise companies can do it, why can't they? Still have a soft spot for P&O but think we will be looking elsewhere in future. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My family booked onto this cruise as a birthday gift for my brother turning 21. We have been on a few cruises before and this is the first time I've ever experienced any issues. First issue was that we requested cabins with baths. ... Read More
My family booked onto this cruise as a birthday gift for my brother turning 21. We have been on a few cruises before and this is the first time I've ever experienced any issues. First issue was that we requested cabins with baths. Travel agent said not a problem but upon embarkation we found out that only one cabin had one. Tried to complain to P&O about this but they explained they were fully booked. We're not demanding passengers, We just expect to have the same kind of service you would have in a high street restaurant at the very minimum. However any time we ordered a drink, food or such outside of the restaurants, we would have a very rude reaction from the staff. We bought a pepsi card, every time we tried to use it, we would have the staff member look at us and walk off without saying so much as a "sure thing!" or "Not a problem!". The cruise we were on had a number of young stag do's on board so we assume that the staff were overworked and stressed out by how intimidating they were being but it's still no excuse to treat other passengers that way. We had pre-ordered a birthday cake for my brothers 21st to be delivered to the table at sindhu, they didn't know what happened to the cake after we enquired. The next day we were told they "found it" and delivered it to the table. I know they tried to do right but having a cake a day late isn't what we paid for. Amongst this, The buffet area was mislabeling food, I had an allergic reaction as they listed fish as chicken. I brought it to the attention of the manager at the time who just took all the labels off the food and walked off. Complained the next morning and was told it was going to be looked into. To give credit where credit is due, The team at Sindhu were fantastic and so was the food! Our waiter at dinner as well as our wine waiter were also top class. It's just a shame that outside of dinnertime, we were treated incredibly badly. The locations were great, the weather was also great so it's hard to say the entire holiday is ruined, I just remember on previous cruises we would be so happy to get back on board the ship because we'd be treated well and have good food and drink no matter what we experienced on shore. I think this cruise was ruined by the stag do's to be honest. I don't mind people having fun but when they are intimidating staff and passengers, getting extremely drunk and rowdy, someone should cut off their alcohol supply. I'm also shocked that a few of them were smoking weed on the top deck by the pool and no staff tried to stop them. I think they were scared and the exhaustion was taken out on other passengers for this rowdy groups behaviour. This whole experience has left me never wanting to use P&O/Carnival Group again and I'd advise anybody looking to take a cruise on the aurora to take a second think. I met other Cruise Critic users on board who had similar experiences and I expect there to be a few more from the same journey to share the same reviews. Read Less
Aurora Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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