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Sail Date: March 2019
This was a cruise In Search of the Northern Lights, and sadly we didn't find them! Too much cloud cover. We didn't mind thought as the ship was lovely and we saw parts of Norway including Alta at the very top. Some people were ... Read More
This was a cruise In Search of the Northern Lights, and sadly we didn't find them! Too much cloud cover. We didn't mind thought as the ship was lovely and we saw parts of Norway including Alta at the very top. Some people were very disappointed as the tours were terribly expensive (£135pp for the northern lights tour and £210pp for huskies). We decided to stay on the ship and watch out from there. The itinerary was changed at the last minute, so the ship docked at Haugesund instead of Bergen, which was another disappointment. Haugesund is pretty enough but there is not a lot there. The next stop was Narvik. This is only the second time a P&O ship has docked there, and you can see why! If you are going to this port on a cruise, book an excursion, as there is very little in the town at all. On no account do what we did and walk in from the ship. We were told 40 mins but it was an hour and a half over snow and ice. Also do not be tempted to do the Ofoten railway independently. The ship's tour lays on a bus to bring you back. Without this you would be waiting 4 hours for the train to return. Alta our most northerly stop is of more interest. A visit to the Ice Hotel is well worth doing. Last stop was Stavanger which is a very pretty town to explore. The cathedral is closed for renovations and will be so for a couple more years. Aurora is a lovely ship. Our cabin was F190 which was fine. Midships and low down so it was quiet and did not move about too much. We did have a terrific storm after leaving Alta, and people high up and at the front had a bad night of it. Entertainment was mostly first class. There was a wonderful classical pianist called Philip Smith and a very talented duo of violinists called Elektra. The speaker, Jane Davey, was terrific. She is half Norwegian and gave really entertaining talks on life in Norway. There is certainly no lack of things to do on the ship. We were spoiled for choice. Disembarkation was speedy and trouble free. So a great cruise overall, but I wish the ports of call had been Bergen, Tromso, Alta and Stavanger. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Chose this cruise for the interesting ports of call and it certainly delivered on that front ! Visby and Klapeida were our favourites and of course St Petersburg continues to fascinate and amaze us. We loved all the ports and enjoyed all ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the interesting ports of call and it certainly delivered on that front ! Visby and Klapeida were our favourites and of course St Petersburg continues to fascinate and amaze us. We loved all the ports and enjoyed all our excursions except Gydnia which is a lovely place but the excursion we did was very rushed. We think the P and O excursions are actually good value, especially with loyalty discounts. The Captain Neil Turnbull was great and kept us up to date every day with weather and funny little comments. He was seen around the ship and was always very friendly. The staff at all levels were exceptional and they made up for the minor irritants we experienced. The cabin was kept spotless by Mariam and thank you for her hard work and endless cheerfulness. Now the food and entertainment this is where it all goes a bit downhill....Food on formal nights is just laughable really...I am not going to don my dressing up gear for 3rd rate so called Gala dinners, Marco Pierre White, did you really come up with that weird menu !? What has happened to yummy things like lobster ( not that dried up little morsel we get now ) and fillet steak, we ate at the supplementary restaurants on every formal night as there was nothing to tempt us on those 4 nights on the MDR menu. Main dining room breakfast is still awesome and delish. Lunch in MDR boring, boring, boring, we only went once but looked at the menu every day, no inspiration there. The other nights in MDR were passable, all the food was tasty enough ( soups always nice ) but nothing to write home about and reminded me of hotels trying to be posh in the 1970's akthough I must say the desserts were always very good. Buffet was okay the few times we used it for quick lunch but what has happened to pizza at the Lido ? We were looking forward to a slice of pizza for lunch some days and now you can only get pizza from room service ( extra charge surprise, surprise). Beach house we ate there 3 times and all meals were nice and worth the bit extra ( fajitas too spicy for me and it was not explained on menu that they were spicy hot so maybe that could be added P and O ?) Sindhu, we got a deal on second night for £11 extra per person and the service and food were pretty good. Glasshouse was a letdown on first try, we had fillet steaks and they were chewy..when we told waiter they just kind of shrugged it off...no offer of free dessert or anything to make up for it. We tried again, second time round we had the Neptunes feast...if you are hungry don't bother with this, we had literally 6 prawns, 6 scallops and a tiny crab to share ! This cost £16 extra...I don't mind a bit extra but come on P and O this was a rip off.(see picture) Entertainment...who chooses the films..are they trying to send us into a depression..this is some of what we had to choose from...Murder on Orient Express ( quite good we watched that one but the sound was pretty fuzzy) then it all went downhill...other films we did not even bother to go to, Last days of Stalin, Churchill, The last Showman, some weird film about a woman in a mental asylum, Peter Rabbit, The railway children, the one film we did want to see, Red Sparrow, was cancelled because of a technical issue !!!! ?????? As for the in cabin offering, well I know we do not go on hols to watch telly but after a long tiring day ashore we do like the option of chilling in cabin with a good film..well, nothing there to be found...they do give you a printed TV guide but unless you can work out from one word what a film is about it is not much use. Mind you it did not matter much because the postage sized TV was so hard to see anyway. Poor Poor Poor...come on P and O get into this century when she goes for a re-fit. Would be nice to be able to see our bill on TV also please. Theatre shows...and live music....dire and boring except for the comedian (Jeff someone, sorry forgot his last name but he was pretty good). Do we really need that jingoistic flag waving we will meet again show anymore ? Not very diverse is it P and O ? Sack all the choreographers and bring in some new ideas...the dancers were not bad but they had terrible material to deal with. Lots of of the shows we had seen on other ships. Quizzes were fun and well run. We were so bored in the evenings that it took the gloss off our cruise. We ended up reading in the cabin for most nights...not really worth dressing up for formal nights is it if the shows are awful and the food is under par. I am sorry if I have moaned on a lot but those niggly things get under your skin after a while and if we had not been blessed with such lovely weather the cruise would have been bad for us. We were lucky as we got to be up on deck and in the pools a lot which was a lovely bonus. Cabin was fine, not a bad size for an outside with a nice sized bathroom with a bath so that was nice. Sea was smooth all the way there and back, never even knew we were sailing the whole time ! We are booked on Aurora for next year with Mum and Dad and really really hope the re-fit will bring forth some upgrades. I would be tempted to cancel our next cruise but Mum and Dad are looking forward to the Canaries so we will try again and hope for better food and entertainment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose P and O/Aurora on this occasion due to the destinations offered and the convenience of a UK to UK round-trip. Aurora is well proportioned,smart and generally clean,but certainly shows her age. P and O is cruising aimed wholly ... Read More
We chose P and O/Aurora on this occasion due to the destinations offered and the convenience of a UK to UK round-trip. Aurora is well proportioned,smart and generally clean,but certainly shows her age. P and O is cruising aimed wholly at UK customers, with tilts toward tradition and home spun culture which span restauration, on- board media, entertainments,announcements and excursions. We booked a de-luxe balcony which was well sized and adequately provided with storage. The table-top TV and the hairdryer were antiquated and the sofa was lacking any upholstery, with torn cushions.The bathroom was well designed, but old-fashioned with wall panels which groaned loudly on bad sea nights.The constant aircon fans were sometimes difficult to avoid.The only perk our cabin type benefiited from was an atlas which turned out to be older than the ship and contained not a single map of the whole Mediterranean Sea!Our invisible steward was superb at keeping things spic and span. We chose Freedom Dining and eat pretty well exclusively in the Medina restaurant. We alternated between mixing and sitting alone and took whatever seating was available.Some people claimed always to sit at the same table, but we could not be bothered to find out how that worked.The choice of food was good at breakfast, adequate at lunch, but seriously disappointed in the evenings.Most evening main dishes turned out to be meat and two veg, despite exotic menu descriptions.All courses were served at speed,ready-plated and generally hot. Condiments were off limits as we found out when asking for vinaigrette dressing! We used the Horizon self -service little, due to the limited,unappetising buffet options,shortages of seating (on clean chairs) and general pandemonium. Many people aboard were suffering from colds and coughs and we contracted a version of these which we decided to treat with honey and brandy. The carefully selected brandy however was confiscated on return from shore because it 'contravened regulations'! An announcement on the last evening advised that more than half the next day's departing passengers were leaving Southampton by coach. It was evident throughout that there were some quite large groups aboard, who teamed up for many events and sometimes comandeered large swathes of the public rooms, but did not seek to engage outside their groups. For us the six sea-days to get to Gibralter and back was time badly spent, but the shore destinations were pleasing, even if the duration of stay was mostly quite limited. The staff were generally very courteous and a special mention of commendation for the incredibly patient people on the front desk. We concluded that the trip was rewarding for the ports of call, but that most of the rest was below standard, given the price. 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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