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19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
The Aurora is a lovely ship. The facilities are excellent.The kids club "The Reef" was a real stand out for us as our children loved it and wanted to be there all the time it was open. The staff in the Reef were really wonderful ... Read More
The Aurora is a lovely ship. The facilities are excellent.The kids club "The Reef" was a real stand out for us as our children loved it and wanted to be there all the time it was open. The staff in the Reef were really wonderful with the children and the activities and programs kept them busy and happy. This really made the holiday such a good one for everyone in the family! We had a four berth outside cabin and it was a delight. We loved the biscuits and the tea kettle. We found that the storage space was really good - we had a lot of luggage to store. We didn't feel cluttered or crowded. The toiletries in the shower were high quality. Our cabin steward was fantastic. So obliging and polite. She was a great source of knowledge and our cabin always was kept to a very high standard. We ate on the freedom dining plan and we found the meals in the Medina restaurant were of a very high standard. We also ate at the Lido grill for lunch and Horizons for breakfast and of course the children's buffet each night. We think the food was excellent in all the venues. We ate at Sindhu one evening and it really was a five star experience. So tasty, so beautifully presented, such attentive staff. We also ate at the Glasshouse, and tried one of their wine flights each. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the food was tasty and we had a really wonderful waitress. The wine flight was a definite must try. We thought it was a great overall dining experience. We really loved our cruise on the Aurora. Thank you to P&O for making such a memorable family holiday. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Our first cruise was on the P&O Aurora on 28 Dec for 5 days round Bruges and Hamburg. Both are nice cities well worth a visit and pleasurable day was had at both. Embarkation parking with CPL was great, very efficient. Once ... Read More
Our first cruise was on the P&O Aurora on 28 Dec for 5 days round Bruges and Hamburg. Both are nice cities well worth a visit and pleasurable day was had at both. Embarkation parking with CPL was great, very efficient. Once inside, we had to wait in the lounge until a set time and then queue at a desk to check in, then queue at security, then get on, but it wasn’t too bad. The Aurora was well maintained and about the same standard as a 4 star mainstream hotel. The cabins were clean, and the maid was excellent, servicing the cabin very attentively. There was more room in the cabin than we expected. On board there was entertainment, bars, a casino, lots of shops, restaurants and a very good gym and spa. The gym was too hot to use as the ship is 26 degrees Celsius everywhere, but you could run on the promenade deck if you wanted and get some air. The average age of clients was very old and I would not recommend it for anyone under 65. The set evenings were formal dress which was fine, but what makes people think it is OK to turn up to breakfast not showering still in pyjamas? It was more like an old person’s home than a hotel. That’s not P&Os fault of course but perhaps they should refuse breakfast guests in underwear just as you would refuse someone in trainers and jeans at a black tie diner. Overall the staff were helpful apart from a few – one very rude waiter and one extremely rude car park attendant at the terminal, who was not interested in telling anyone where they could unload or load, just where they couldn’t, which is everywhere. The main problem that would put us off cruising with P&O ever again was the food. Not the quantity or quality (which was OK, like a decent motorway services really, which as they were feeding 2000 people isn’t bad). The problem is the utterly stupid dining rules. You either have to pre-book and eat in the same place at the same time every single night. Or choose freedom dining and go anywhere to be told they are full and no you cannot book anywhere, at anytime. So the restaurant tables are half empty with people who booked but fancied a change and did not show for their booked table. You can’t sit there because it is booked even though it’s empty. The people who did book are somewhere else being told they can’t eat there because it is full and they did not book. Even the staff do not understand the daft rules and contradicted each other at the same food station! P&O read chaos theory – you are causing the problem. Let people just turn up and eat when and where they want and there will be no problem. Old people and kids eat at 18:30, everyone else 20:00 and it balances out. We were set to eat between 18:30 and 20:30 but the waiters wanted us out at 19:45 to reset the table. 5 courses in just over an hour after ordering is too fast. We asked for a 5 min break before dessert but they asked again after 35 seconds and would not take no for an answer. We complained we were forced to leave at 19:45 and asked why? The staff just repeated the message we need the table for 20:30. This happened every night even though we turned up bang on time to start every night. The waiters refused to slow down, it was worse than eating at a fast food restaurant, with a waiter often putting your soup down in front of you while you were still eating the starter. We went to reception to try to sort it out but the staff while polite just repeat the message, ‘it is the rules you have to be out by 20:30’. When we asked to see the rules explaining things they just repeated the message. It seems P&O expect passengers to just know the rules even if the staff don’t. Why were not allowed to finish the meal by 20:00 say, we will never know. So for P&O if you eat between 18:30 and 20:30, it means you start at 18:30 and finish at 19:45 and leave. We even asked what time zone the kitchen was on but it wasn’t that. The other big problem was the shambolic safety drill. We were called to the muster station for the understandably mandatory drill. The two staff at muster station E did not know where muster station E was even though they were at it. The recorded message stuck and was restarted 3 times. The Captain tried to deliver a personal message (probably to apologise) but the speakers cut out twice. They gave up. They do this every week and messed it up. What would happen in a real emergency they have not seen before? No thanks I am not trusting my family’s safety to these guys again. Your life is in the hands of a soup waiter and a croupier who do not know where your muster station is, even when they are already stood at it – no thanks. If you like very regimented holidays, and are over 75 this would be ideal, if not I would not recommend it. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Myself and partner are in our early 40's and booked the cruise as visiting many destinations appealed to us as oppose to a standard holiday where you visit just 1. This was our very 1st cruise and we were surprised as it seemed 95% of ... Read More
Myself and partner are in our early 40's and booked the cruise as visiting many destinations appealed to us as oppose to a standard holiday where you visit just 1. This was our very 1st cruise and we were surprised as it seemed 95% of all the passengers were 70 years old and older. Our 1st impression of the ship was nice and clean. Our balcony cabin was very clean. They came into the cabin and made the bed and tidied it twice a day. But is must be honest and say the guy that was cleaning our room smelt of body odor, and I could tell he was out and about even before seeing him. Plus the hoover he used to clean our room left a horrid stench like the bag hadn't been changed in years. Everything onboard the ship was shockingly expensive. You'd need to take out a mortgage to buy in the shops. The food was great in the Horizon Restaurant and was self service. It was open 3 times a day for a good few hours at a time. The Lido Grill (snack Bar) was pathetic with a few chips and they only put out 1 hotdog or cheese burger at a time. No good when you have 100's onboard a ship. It was like they didn't want you to take more than one at a time. The other restaurants were pay restaurants and we never used them. The way we seen it, we paid a couple of 1000 for the holiday and weren't gonna pay even more to eat. If you like soft drinks and squash, you have to pay for them. Alcohol is not free either like it is on standard hotel all inclusive hols and it was expensive. The only free drinks are tea, coffee and water. Be careful of the hot plates in the Horizon when taking food. My partner went to take a slice of toast, the ship swayed, her arm rose up, touched the ''hidden'' hot plate and left her with a 4 inch burn. They have a notice the size of a postage stamp to say its hot, but you cant see it. Even if you can read it, its a floating moving structure and you have no control over your body movements when it's rocking and they have nothing in place to stop you badly burning yourself on this. She asked to see the doctor because the burn was quite bad and hurting and they told her she'd have to pay £62 just to see him!! Great, they burn her and charge her to seek medical help!! Needless to say we WILL be seeking legal advice within the next few days over this incident. The gym has all you need, very clean and tidy. The sauna and steam room are very clean, tidy, but are stupidly small for a shipful of passengers. the steam room fits about 5 and the sauna about 10. the out door pool and indoor pool were emptied for the 1st 3 days of our cruise, why I don't know, didn't they know we were comming?? When they did fill the pools they were great, clean. The jacuzzi's were also hot and clean. But I did see one guy actually shaving while sitting in the jacuzzi one time. I did report the matter as it was disgusting and they dealt with it. He was sitting in there, scraping his face with a razor, yuk. The decks were clean and tidy. The staff were 100% polite and very helpful. They go out of their way to say hello, g'morning and g'evening. They are also smiling constantly, which was nice. For the older oap generation there is quite a lot to do. For children there are groups they can join and there's also play centers that look after them for you. But if you're aged 18-50 and like a little bit of life onboard a ship, I'd give this one a miss. We just tried killing time inbetween ports by playing cards in our cabin and walking about the ship and using the gym twice a day as there wasn't really anything else for us to do. everywhere you look people are playing domino's, doing jigsaws and arts and crafts. Not our thing at all. The laundty is good with many machines and dryers all free of charge to use from 8am to 10pm. Oh, and Aurora seem to block all internet access while on the ship, whether it be on your tablet, phone or laptop. You have to purchase it from them at varying costs like £39 for 100 minutes, rip off cost. Our holiday was saved by the stops we made, and not the ship we were on. Disembarking was a nightmare. Everyone was confused and didn't seem to know where to go or what to do. This was the only time the staff were unhelpful and ignorant when approached. They were sending people to all places on the ship and giving them no info while they were waiting to leave. people were missing their buses etc. In the end I said to my partner for ''to hell with this, lets just get off or we'll miss our connection'', so we went back down to reception and walked off the ship. Why didn't the staff tell us we could do this rather than send us to the other end of the ship and wait for nothing?? This is an outdated ship with limited means. There are many many better P&O ships to sail on. Overhaul, did we enjoy? Yes. Would we sail on this ship again? No Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
What do a 50+ year old male ex-teacher, a 40+ year old female with significant mobility problems and a 19 year old geology student with a love for musical theatre have in common? Two things: 1) we are one family 2) Aurora did a marvellous ... Read More
What do a 50+ year old male ex-teacher, a 40+ year old female with significant mobility problems and a 19 year old geology student with a love for musical theatre have in common? Two things: 1) we are one family 2) Aurora did a marvellous job in meeting both our individual needs and those as a family. This was a magnificent 17 nights cruise in a most elegant ship. It was so filled with delights, not least from the itinerary which was brilliant. Why do so few ships sail form Southampton to the Eastern Mediterranean? I could almost write a book about this cruise, however I will try to keep comments short and informed. Embarkation and disembarkation were both swift and smooth. The 'feel' of Aurora. One of the entertainers I spoke with, stated they always like being on board Aurora as it feels like stepping into someone's house. It is a beautiful ship not only form the outside but from within. The ship never felt crowded (although it was full), hurried or tired. As for moving around, my wife was largely confined to a wheelchair but there was ease of access to all parts of the ship and she never felt excluded. There was plenty of room to relax. Raffles was a favourite morning coffee spot; the one indoor place which was crowded mid-morning. With so much deck space and 3 pools to swim in, it was never hard to find a spot to enjoy the excellent Mediterranean weather on this cruise. Often my son and I would go for a pre breakfast swim in the Crystal pool which was usually deserted at that time. Entertainment exceeded expectations. I suspect people who did not like the entertainment either did not try much of what was on offer or have a narrow band of entertainment likes/dislike musical theatre. The Headliners put on six song and dance shows. Their youthful vibrancy shone through- most definitely a favourite with my son. In addition the resident concert pianist (Cliodna Shanahan) performed several very varied recitals to an extremely high standard. We particularly liked the performers who 'hopped on board' for a few days as part of their P and O/Cunard circuit. Phillip Browne was outstanding as a singer with wonderful stage presence. Byron Johnson performed classical, Spanish folk and rock guitar pieces in a brilliant manner, Lloyd Davies was a genuinely funny 'old school' comedian and the female singers of Virtuosity were a joy to listen to. Many guests also liked The 4Tunes although boy bands are not to my taste. The Aurora Orchestra (a seven piece band really) accompanied various performers in a highly accomplished manner and both Caravan and Kool Blue performed really well. In short entertainment was varied and vibrant. Yes, the entertainment crew may have been a bit cheesy but they always gave their all and their approach complemented well the various skills of the key performers. There was a range of daytime activities on board. As the demographics of those cruising averaged about 65 many activities favoured older people. However we enjoyed shuffleboard, regular swims, deck quoits and table tennis. My son even joined the choir. We never felt short of things to do and never felt the need to visit the cinema or attend the daily talks to pass on time. Every hour was enjoyable. Personally (and selfishly) I was a bit disappointed Aurora did not meet the Force 8/9 winds and 6 metre waves expected, but at Force 7 movement was only slight. Food was generally good without excelling. We were on Freedom Dining which worked out very well. Only twice did we require a pager in order to set a dinner table for us in the Medina and even then the wait was only a few minutes. Service was excellent and attentive although maybe a touch hurried. Sometimes we enjoyed the informality of the Horizon buffet in the evening especially when it was an Asian or Thai themed evening. Here service was excellent for all meals and we never had a problem finding a table or obtaining food. At times presentation of the Horizon food was a bit 'canteen' like and the triangular cheese sliced looked dry even if they were not. The best food we ate was at The Beach House - worth the £5 supplement. With a £15 supplement for Sindhu we decided against going there and the small plates (tapas style) available at The Glasshouse did not interest us. In fact The Glasshouse seemed to be empty most of the time and although only a first time cruise passenger, I feel it would be a great shame if cruise lines moved closer to identical facilities on each ship in their fleet or gave more space away to supplementary restaurants. We never went hungry but I would imagine food on some other lines would be superior. Venice, Valletta and Dubrovnik were the stand-out ports for us although Koper was a little gem worth visiting. My wife's mobility issues were dealt with very well between the ship and all the ports. At one stage my wife's wheelchair got in a bit of a state after all the hammering it got on cobbles, steep curbs and potholes. However on making a call to reception one of the ship's engineers (Rhode) immediately came to our cabin to repair the footplate - brilliant! Generally we preferred to do our own thing at each port of call. My son went on the Mdina and Rabat half day Malta excursion and thoroughly enjoyed that. We all went on the Resort Escapes trip in Corfu which was fine. Not ideal for a wheelchair but the tour guide and taverna owner ensured my wife gained safe access too and from the beach. So to sum up. Aurora is a beautiful mid-sized ship and in speaking to fellow guests it is highly rated by most people. Dress code? We enjoyed dressing up for Black Tie nights though I think it is a wise move to remove smart jacket required; less packing! The blue funnel? Looks much more striking that the previous insipid yellow one. The union flag emblazoned on the bow? It actually looks really stylish. Put Aurora alongside most other cruise ships (I shall not name examples but I am sure you can think of a few) in port and it really does look to be something special What I should also add is that before booking this cruise I spent many enjoyable hours researching a wide range of cruise lines, ships within P and O's fleet, different itineraries, the deck plans for Aurora and something about each port of call. As a consequence I booked the cruise and cabin that I felt would be most suited to our needs. Aurora not only did that but added so much more than we expected. Maybe some of the people who write poor reviews for Aurora have done so because they had not made themselves aware of the product offered by P and O / Aurora. What is the point of having a go at the dress code, Club Dining or even the fact there may be a few (and it was not many) people with wheelchairs on board? All these things can and should be found out before making a cruise booking. Aurora does what it says on the tin to a very high level. I sincerely hope the cruise industry continues to offer the vast array of cruise types on offer and that those seeking a cruise spend a bit of time trying to get the right cruise for them. The three of us are still in awe at the experience of a cruise holiday provided by P and O and their beautiful Aurora. Maybe Aurora is not for all but it was exactly right for all of us and our needs/expectations. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Just back from my first ever cruise and it was the greatest holiday both I and my Mother, who accompanied me, have ever been on. Nearly everything was superb from the food, the ports the cleanliness of the ship, the staff and the bars. ... Read More
Just back from my first ever cruise and it was the greatest holiday both I and my Mother, who accompanied me, have ever been on. Nearly everything was superb from the food, the ports the cleanliness of the ship, the staff and the bars. We only went on one planned excursion, the 2 day 'Splendor of Saint Petersburg'. The guide was amazing and we saw some unforgettable sights. However the itinerary was so packed we were knackered and Mum's knee barely survived it. At the other ports we used the free shuttle buses provided, never having to wait for even a minute for one. I thoroughly recommend skipping Brugge and walking round the seaside resort of Blankenburg instead, beautiful town with shops, a pier and some excellent Belgian beer cafés. Helsinki and Tallinn are also fantastic but Stockholm did nothing for us with lots of homeless beggars as well as parks with sleeping tramps. Our favourite time of day was dinner, we never took a table for 2 instead sharing with fellow passengers for amazing food, superb (and very well priced wine) and stimulating conversation. Entertainment fell below expectations. The Headliners put on some amazing shows (particularly Killer Queen) but old fashioned comedians and a passenger talent night which included a dramatic reading of the Diary of Anne Frank (no really) failed to cut the mustard. This was a shame as the woman in charge of entertainment was putting in hard shifts. The cabin was fine enough, we had a deck view right at the stern. Savio kept it immaculate, servicing twice every day. Not huge but met our needs. Overall it was a fantastic holiday that will give us fond memories for the rest of our lives. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Friends/family had continually mentioned about my sister and I going on a cruise, both of us are divorced and travel regularly on holiday so we took the plunge and booked a mini cruise to see Bruges in Belgium as well as Guernsey, as a ... Read More
Friends/family had continually mentioned about my sister and I going on a cruise, both of us are divorced and travel regularly on holiday so we took the plunge and booked a mini cruise to see Bruges in Belgium as well as Guernsey, as a taster cruise. We were texted/emailed re a change in itinerary a couple of days beforehand. It was quite a long time actually boarding Aurora. We decided against waiting for the queues in the buffet as not enough time before our muster meeting. Our muster point in the Cinema was changed from 16.00 to 16.30 (we would have had time for a late lunch in the end) after we had left the cabin with the lifejackets and waiting for 10 mins, so by the time we had had the rescheduled muster meeting at 16.30 and returned to the cabin, we noticed the ship moving, we had no time to get to a top deck with our bottle of Prosecco to wave goodbye to Southampton so made do with a glass of wine on one of lower covered-in decks - not what we had planned. The itinerary was reversed because of the poor weather so Guernsey was first due to the tender boats, one of which was directly underneath our cabin so we were woken at a very early hour by the noise of the tender mechanism being swung out to lower the tender boat. We spent a stormy night at sea and on arrival at Zebrugge (having put our watches forward an hour) were informed that we could not berth so the trip was OFF. We spent a day at sea going up and down the English Channel in a Force 8 gale, most decks were out of bounds (obviously) and when we saw the White Cliffs of Dover, we put our watches back not realising that the ship was staying on Belgium time so we were an hour late for dinner and missed the first show. (We were not the only ones onboard that did this). The toilets blocked. We asked our waiter to ask the wine waiter to order more wine for us and he never returned. There was a very long wait for cocktails in the bar. The bed linen did not smell very fresh. Now I know you cannot help the weather but perhaps we should have stayed with the itinerary and gone to Bruges first - the whole point of my booking this cruise as a cruise to Zebrugge to visit Bruges seemed to be a better option than flying/coach/train - how wrong was I? Plus points, nice cabin and balcony, good food, good entertainment. It was unfortunate that this happened on our first cruise as I was planning a Caribbean cruise for January 2016 but am not sure I want to take the risk regarding ports not accessible because of the weather - as bad weather follows me around the world! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our first cruise. The previous year we have booked a 3 week cruise in eastern Med, but my wife was taken seriously ill for months so we had to cancel. We were both very apprehensive, I was desperate to switch off and ... Read More
This was our first cruise. The previous year we have booked a 3 week cruise in eastern Med, but my wife was taken seriously ill for months so we had to cancel. We were both very apprehensive, I was desperate to switch off and relax/unwind. My wife with all her aches and pains just wanted to know she would be comfortable, especially as we had to take a wheelchair (collapsible) and use it at times. Drove to Southampton, lovely lady took our keys and parked our car, porter carried our bag, I wheeled my wife, we were on the boat in around 15 minutes. I was stunned - speechless. Zero hassle. Very very friendly staff at shore (P&O please take note they were great !). Sat in the chair on the balcony, just honestly could not believe we were actually there. Trekked/Wheeled around the boat, no issues at all getting around, just the corridors where the rooms are were difficult to squeeze down with a wheelchair and meeting a trolley laden with towels (regular occurrence) but there's always a way around that. Food in the evening very good. We swapped to the early sitting (once we found we could do that). Wine started at £15 a bottle and tasted good. Service in restaurant generally very good. Orangery (buffet restaurant) very large, very busy, not so many staff - so did not go there much as we preferred a more quiet time. Crows Nest bar deck 13 at front of ship was lovely, I'd sit in the leather chair, enjoy a beer, watch the sea. Bliss ! Oh, and the breakfast in the Medina restaurant really was excellent each morning. We were in the other main restaurant for the evening meal (cannot remember name). Room was fine, a little bit cramped, but OK. Wife would prefer the mini-suite but if we booked that it would have been a whole heap more. Bed very comfy. Chap who maintained rooms (Sachin) very helpful. Bathroom surprisingly good (I was not really expecting much there). Boat sailed at night, which was lovely as it helped you sleep, the gentle slight rock as the boat sailed. Wife thought bought looked a bit tired - but it is going in for a refit in Nov 2014. I could see what she meant, but to me it was not an issue, I was just enjoying myself. Did our own thing at Zebrrugge, got the complimentary coach (wheelchair friendly) to the train station, then 6 euros each for a return to Brugges which was just 20 mins away. Then as we had the wheelchair we got a taxi from the station into the marketplace which was around 7.50 euros (I gave a tenner). What a truly lovely place, never thought it would be this good. I you have never been before, pop it on your list of things to do - you would not be disappointed ! Trip back to the boat was just as easy as the trip there. The one coach which was wheelchair friendly offered to be there at the station at an agreed time ! Sailed back to Southampton. Found out we had to be out of our cabins by about 8am (ish), people getting us off from the shore team were stupendous again, and were with us right up to the car as my wife was being wheeled around. We didn't actually go to any of the events in the evenings, so I cannot say anything to that. Driving home, past the ship, was fairly sad. Would have like to stay a lot longer. By the time we got home, I was determined to book next cruise. Found the perfect one, Canaries in January, but the balcony cabins and suites all gone. Gutted. There is only one other company which goes from Southampton in the good old English winter, and it doesn't look like they have any room either (only allow 6 people with wheelchairs - even though collapsible - and wife can walk a bit). So, there you go. I'm hooked, wife thinks they are fine. I want to book at least 2 a year now - so got to get a few extra jobs ! Especially if we have to book the mini suite type thing !! Anything negative ? Well there always going to be a few niggles in life. Both in the main restaurant for dinner, and the other for breakfast, if you ask for something out of the ordinary - or at the wrong time (glass of orange say at end of Breakfast) the waiters seemed to think that I'd asked them to walk on water as they had such a look of shock on their faces. Happened a couple of times for things. Waiters up in the Orangery were not exactly a happy bunch, but I get the feeling there were not enough staff there (funnily the main restaurants seemed to be over-staffed !). For new first time people like us, we were totally lost, with the amount of things you had to find out about.Our cabin had been prepared for another couple who had gotten upgraded to the mini-suite, so the format of our cabin was wrong, and the welcome pack and evening bookings were all addressed to them - no mention of us. Sachin fixed the room though, and I found the other people cruising on the boat so friendly and helpful we soon learnt the ropes ! Oh, and on day 2 we seemed to park up in the middle of no-where for a whole day with a bunch of tankers and container ships ? Odd ? How am I going to wait until April when more ships become available for the Canaries ??? Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
I was very apprehensive as this was our first cruise but we thoroughly enjoyed it. The strictly theme was excellent and we couldn't believe the quality of the entertainment. We stayed a 5 star hotel in Tenerife earlier in the year and ... Read More
I was very apprehensive as this was our first cruise but we thoroughly enjoyed it. The strictly theme was excellent and we couldn't believe the quality of the entertainment. We stayed a 5 star hotel in Tenerife earlier in the year and we had only one night of good entertainment compared to every night on the Aurora. I loved the old fashioned elegance of the ship and I hope they don't change it too much during the refurbishments. We had lovely dining companions (Andrew and Suzanne) who had cruised before and gave us plenty of tips. The cabin was kept spotless by our steward Julmax and I was surprised at the size, I had expected it to be much more cramped. Unfortunately the dreaded Norovirus infected some passengers and so strict rules were applied in the dining areas and we could tell the Captain was annoyed as he actually said it must have been brought onboard by a passenger. It did not affect us enjoying our cruise however we haven't got the urge to book another, I think we would perhaps go earlier in the year as the weather wasn't fantastic, think we had only four days of sunshine. If I had only one gripe it would be that the sunbeds on the top deck at the stern, were very dirty and despite my mentioning it at reception, nothing was done. I wiped mine down with wet ones! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
We found getting on and off the ship easy and stress free. This was our first cruise and therefore we were uncertain was to expect. Whilst the ship's facilities were positive and the activity schedule appeared to cater for various ... Read More
We found getting on and off the ship easy and stress free. This was our first cruise and therefore we were uncertain was to expect. Whilst the ship's facilities were positive and the activity schedule appeared to cater for various entertainment options, I did find initially there was a lack of information, I felt as if I could do with a mini guide to cruising to help when I initially got on the ship. Day's 2 and 3 were better as we then had a newspaper that listed activities. In regard to food, unfortunately, I was generally disappointed. We were on second sitting, which meant that we were eating at 8.30pm, we arrived at 8.26pm on the first evening to be turned away. The food lacked imagination and flare. It is very bulk standard as was the service. They clearly wanted to rush us, so they could finish work, which was not create a pleasant experience. On the third night, I upgraded to a paid for restaurant, which was better, although still a long way from fine dining but the service was much improved. Our cabin was clean and adequate and our cabin assistant, helpful and friendly as were the staff in the casino and those taking photos, in the cinema and reception. The staff that unfortunately let the side down were the bar and catering team. Generally, overall I enjoyed the experience but for us, now we have been once, we would be more informed of what may suit us moving forward and will try a different cruise line in order to compare. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2012
Baltic Cruise MV Aurora 5th August 2012 Totally new to cruising so we were pretty excited, we were a party of 4 myself, my wife and two daughters. To save hassle we used AC Jenkins airport transfers for the delivery to and from ... Read More
Baltic Cruise MV Aurora 5th August 2012 Totally new to cruising so we were pretty excited, we were a party of 4 myself, my wife and two daughters. To save hassle we used AC Jenkins airport transfers for the delivery to and from Southampton and this was comfortable and seamless. The embarkation process involved a wait of about 30 mins in a long queue that moved swiftly. We were in cabin C294 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/7857561538/ This cabin has no balcony but is therefore slightly larger and is linked by a door to C296 where my 2 daughters were. The cabins were turned down twice daily by Kenneth who was a star. I chose the port side because we would be travelling in busy sea lanes and I wanted to see the traffic etc. Being at the back it was simple to exit C deck at the stern door and take some ship pics. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631113191244/ The engine noise is minimal and the gentle hum is totally acceptable and soothing. This cabin does have a tiny creak in livelier seas, it comes from a panel in the ceiling which can be cured by giving a sharp pull on the smoke detector or sprinkler whatever it is above the bed. In the cabin is a fridge, hair dryer (in the drawer) TV, loads of storage space inc under the bed, bath and shower. The bed was very comfortable. TV channels inc. forward view bridge cam, locality information, excursions, kids and some news. MV Aurora is "family friendly" inasmuch as they allow children on, the kids seemed to have a good time and the facilities for them were very good. Even though there were 1800 passengers the ship didn't appear busy and there was always a quiet corner to slip off to if you wanted. On this trip the MV Oriana sailed in company for some parts and this was pretty cool and made for some good pics esp. at night. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/7850337794/ MV Aurora is a huge ship, very stable, well laid out and has a useful quarter deck and stern section that is good for parties etc. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/7804512588/ You can have a look around the ship with this set of pics if you want. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631112932300/ There were 4 sea days and the highlight of these for me was the guest speaker cmdr Jeff Tall RN OBE. He is an ex commander of a Polaris submarine and a bit of a hero and tells a fine tale, the talks on the cold war and the Falklands were riveting. He also goes on some of the excursions so it would be worth getting a seat next to him on the bus if you're interested in all things RN. I had a plan for each destination. For Copenhagen it was simple to go onto Google Earth and devise a route. This involved walking along the canal front to Nyhavn, turning right to Rosenborg castle, re-tracing a little and turning right to the round tower, straight on to the T junction, turn left to the square, then into Stroget, lunch at the Stork fountain. Then over the bridge to the Church of our Saviour which was unfortunately closed due to weather. Then wander back to the ship along the canal side. I feel we saw a lot of Copenhagen and we only spent money for lunch and 3 euros to go up the round tower. There is a mini mart next to the round tower where you can buy water and sandwiches etc http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631122309360/ For Stockholm there is a 55m pilotage run in and out and it is rather spectacular. I wasn't sure where the boat was going to dock in Stockholm so I planned a P&O excurtion for the morning, involving a trip to a viewing point which was unspectacular, and a trip to the Vasa Museum which was totally spectacular. Then they left us in the old town for the afternoon and we walked back to the ship. The old town is very nice and one could easily spend the day in a cafe or two watching life go by at the old town square. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631127720538/ Forget evening meal leaving Stockholm, swiftly eat in the orangery and head on deck with some wine and watch the sunset over the archipelago - a highlight of the tour. Tallinn takes a nice photo, we used the free shuttle bus and explored the old town about 3 times by mid afternoon, we designated this a shopping spot and it was a good choice. If you decide to climb the tower at the town hall beware half way up is a very well hidden metal strut that will clobber about 50% of people going up - you have been warned. Lunch in the town square was nice but some places are faster than others, we ended up in a more expensive place that served very nice food indeed but at least they got on with it etc. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631139786220/ For St Petersburg I have no doubt at all that best option is to arrange a small group before hand and go with a local operator. We had a group of 13 in a 20 seater minibus operated by T J Travel. We saw a lot of St Petersburg over 2 days and it cost 565.00 dollars for 4 of us.... in total. We had a driver and guide (Anna) and use of a radio system where Anna talked into her microphone and we heard her in our wifi headsets - cool! I totally recommend this option... and Anna is a gem. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631143883552/ Leaving St Petersburg, at about 7:30pm we reached a Russian Naval base and that was pretty cool as well. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631224844774/ In Helsinki we took a P&O tour in the morning taking in the Olympic stadium, The Sibelius Monument, the rock church and the cathedral at senate square. We opted to stay in Helsinki and use the shuttle bus to return later on. Glad we did because there is a lot to see in Helsinki. You do need to be able to read a simple map. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631221331396/ Then 2 long sea days to Zeebrugge, we went under the great belt bridge at about mid night. There are 3 options at Zeebrugge. Shuttle bus to the local beach, Brugge or Ghent. We took a P&O trip to Ghent and it was fab. We sat in a number of restaurants for lunch and no one turned up to serve us so we went to MacDonalds. Views from the bridges are spectacular. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631235774406/ Ghent is very picturesque but about a 1 hour drive from the ship. Zeebrugges is also an interesting port for ship watchers, there were about 50 ships anchored outside the pilotage area. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/sets/72157631234696390/ Disembarkation was efficient and we were in our pick up bus by 9:20am. Small print: As a runner the best time to run is 8am around the top deck, after that it gets busy and you then have to use the treadmill etc in the gym. There are 3 pools, my 12 year old was too old for one, too young for another and didn't want to go in the one she was allowed.... hmm fortunately pools were not a big part of the holiday. The promenade deck close to sunset is a nice place to sit and have a beer. Jacket wearing is enforced, we went to crows nest to play cards and have a beer whilst the sun went down rather than go to the entertainment and jackets had to be worn. Food: Is just excellent at all sites. Toilets can get blocked, just ring reception and its unblocked from an access outside the cabin within 30 mins. This happened 3 times. It is definitely worth taking some beer and wine on board, I like a glass of wine whilst getting ready for dinner and perhaps when we come back from dinner. I also like a beer when I get back from a day out - well it is holidays :) There is a daily newspaper and it is very good. Information about sunrise/set, excursions, meeting points and times, TV, time to get back on the ship. V useful indeed. Leaving the ship. When the Captain announces that the gang planks are down and passengers can leave the ship, make sure you are at the orangery having a coffee, wait ten mins and then leave. Why queue? Drinks with your meals cost, a bottle of wine and 2 lemonades was £19.00 per night. at Dinner. 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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