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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We booked a cruise to Norway visiting Honnigsvaag and the fjords just a few weeks before it due to sail. We got a very good price for an outside cabin and, having cruised with P&O once before several years ago, were very excited about ... Read More
We booked a cruise to Norway visiting Honnigsvaag and the fjords just a few weeks before it due to sail. We got a very good price for an outside cabin and, having cruised with P&O once before several years ago, were very excited about it. The cabin was fine, spotlessly clean and adequate bathroom, storage etc. The staff were, without exception, marvellous. They were chatty, friendly, helpful and engaging. They seemed genuinely interested in ensuring passengers had a good holiday. The ports of call were good and we visited places we had not been before. However on entering the Arctic Circle, which was a highlight of the trip for many of us, we were disappointed that there was no fanfare to recognise this and we were only told hours later. We could never really hear the Captain's information. The rest of the trip was highly disappointing. The food throughout the ship was not of a very high standard. The MDR, we were in the Alexandria second seating (which we were allocated) and the food was bland, unappetising and often inedible. This was not just our opinion, as several tables did not often return and we all tried the other restaurants and Horizon. Horizon was okay but breakfast was boring, lunch too. Choices were repetitive. Afternoon sandwiches were rather sparsely filled. Bread throughout the entire trip was mass produced, white sliced loaves, rolls etc. My husband liked the little bites in The Glasshouse and we ate in Sindhu three times. The Beach House was by far the best option. Let's face it, cruise food is a huge part of the experience and this rather spoiled the trip for us somewhat and if the general chat was anything to go by, for many others too. The entertainment was the usual stuff, Roy Walker, cabaret style shows etc, which are not our cuppa tea but others liked them. They had some lectures which were all by the same person and all war related. Fine if you are interested. There was bingo, quizzes etc, all like a pub night out really and not to everyone's taste and there was very little else. The cinema showed recent films but too recent to bear watching again if you had already seen them. There were several bars to choose from, some extremely comfortable and drinks were well priced. Shore excursions were a real rip-off, grossly overpriced but if you like to relax on a trip knowing you won't miss the ship then these are the option for you (and me) but it is infuriating to find out what others paid to do the same things privately. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Last minute (and cheap) booking meant that we were one of the last times getting on but fair enough as we could go straight to the cabin and pretty soon we were off. A glass of sail away champagne was almost £7.00 and as this is often a freebie on other lines this wasn't indication of standards with P&O. The staff made the trip for us, they were brilliant but I heard that quite a few travellers cancelled the 'tips' before the trip even started! They deserve every penny and more. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Good cruise no moans from me ,food good meridian freedom dining worked very well table for 2 easy to get only had a pager couple of times.one note glasshouse is not working on this cruise empty most of the time more crew than some ... Read More
Good cruise no moans from me ,food good meridian freedom dining worked very well table for 2 easy to get only had a pager couple of times.one note glasshouse is not working on this cruise empty most of the time more crew than some passengers some nights,had drink at the bar but not like other P&o ships just boring.did 3 excursions but best for a laugh was GIbralterbar walk. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Efficient and friendly check in.Our inside cabin on deck 12 was excellent for buffet and swimming pools.Cabin small as with most inside cabins but adequate and dwell maintained byan exceptionally efficient steward, Jeffrey, probably the ... Read More
Efficient and friendly check in.Our inside cabin on deck 12 was excellent for buffet and swimming pools.Cabin small as with most inside cabins but adequate and dwell maintained byan exceptionally efficient steward, Jeffrey, probably the best we have ver had in our 17 cruises.We asked for rubber mat for shower and a sewing kit and both appeared instantly.He was great when the whole areas toilet system packed up early in the cruise, soon rectified by the engineers. The shower was an efficient hand held head (unlike those on the Azura). Pools were good 1.05 deep. But a lot of the time quite chilly. Usual trouble with people putting out towels and books and just leaving them Alexandra restaurant staff Parvin and Ballam looked after our table of 8, Making meal times a pleasure.The food could have been improved, but the buffet was very satisfactory. Entertainment was mostly good," We,ll meet again" was special. No 15% Gratuity charge on drinks. Very fair. We had good weather and calm seas on Bay of Biscay. Cant comment on excursions we do our own thing. Ship not too large just. We had not visited Corfu before and the four of us got a taxi and had a 2hour trip around the island. delightful. Venice, P and O charged £15,00 for ferry, if you paid on quay 15 euros.. Gibraltar which we adore had a departure of 2 pm which was not enough time. All down to docking fees. All in all a good cruise, in good weather. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
My husband, myself and four friends boarded Aurora for a mini-cruise to Belgium and Guernsey. This was our second cruise with P&O, the first being on Oceana last November. Embarcation was quick and well-organised as last time and we ... Read More
My husband, myself and four friends boarded Aurora for a mini-cruise to Belgium and Guernsey. This was our second cruise with P&O, the first being on Oceana last November. Embarcation was quick and well-organised as last time and we only had to wait a little while to enter our cabin. Our luggage followed shortly afterwards.We had booked a balcony cabin allocated on arrival. It was on deck A midships. We were extremely impressed, with the decor, and the clever use of space; two large mirrored bathroom cabinets and two large mirrors in the bedroom area with shelved cupboards behind were two examples. The cabin was spotless and our steward was very helpful and friendly. In fact, for the whole of this cruise we were very impressed with the friendliness of the staff, it seemed a very happy ship. The ship itself from the exterior and the interior, looked brand new, a very successful refit! The food onboard was excellent. Because we had booked the cruise separately and earlier than our friends, our dining allocations were different. The staff in the Alexandra Restaurant took the time to organise a table for all of us so we could dine together each evening. Our waiters were excellent. The evening entertainment onboard was superb, from the West End style shows to comediens and the nostalgic Motown music from Jimmi James. There were two port days the first of which was at Zeebrugge. In hindsight we should have booked a scheduled tour of Bruges but chose to make our own way instead-mistake! First we took a coach to Blankenburgh, a seaside town, then had to wait forty-five minutes for a train. What made it worse was the fact that there was little shelter from the sun, the temperature hit 33c that day. By the time we got to Bruges there was little time before we were thinking about returning to the ship. However, our second port was St Peterport in Guernsey.There was only a five minute walk to the city and what a lovely place, meandering streets, a shopper's paradise and plenty of restaurants and pavement cafes. All in all, we had a super holiday and will certainly cruise on Aurora again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Our third cruise - and the first with P and O - was to the Norwegian Fjords. It was somewhere I had wanted to go for a long time and this cruise did not disappoint! We drove to Southampton the previous day and stayed overnight at the ... Read More
Our third cruise - and the first with P and O - was to the Norwegian Fjords. It was somewhere I had wanted to go for a long time and this cruise did not disappoint! We drove to Southampton the previous day and stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn, which was only five minutes from the ship, and offered an inclusive stay and park package with an excellent included breakfast. The room was first class and we had a view of cruise ships from our window. The ship: Aurora, fresh from last year's refit, was a superb ship; yes, she is one of the smaller, older ships, but this meant elegance and space, and it never felt crowded despite having over 1800 passengers on board. The general appearance was good evidence of the refit, with very attractive décor and furnishings - it felt like we were in an old, elegant, hotel, and yet there was much that was modern and classy. P and O have done a wonderful job here! Fellow passengers were generally older, but there were quite a number of young couples with young children on board, and there seemed to be excellent facilities for child care available. The cabin: Because of booking fairly late there wasn't a lot of choice, and we were on the lowest passenger deck in inside cabin F119. Turned out to be a good position, close to the self-service laundry for some first-day ironing, and on the same level as reception - at the bottom deck of the three-tier Atrium. The cabin was more than adequate with good storage and wardrobe space, decent bathroom (shower only), and well-furnished. It was well-kept by our steward, Domingos, who looked after us well. The big plus with P and O is, of course, the provision of a kettle, tea and coffee in the cabin! Food and drink: We had booked Freedom Dining, so were in the Medina restaurant. We dined there on four nights and the food was generally good to excellent. Only one night did we feel it could have been a bit better, when the food was dry, as though it had been kept warm too long. The service was prompt, and the waiters generally friendly and attentive. The other nights we ate in the Beach House, the Glass House, and Sindhu - all of which were excellent and worth the additional premium. Sindhu was the dearest, with a £20 per head premium, but was also the best, and we had a superb meal with excellent knowledgeable and attentive service. We had breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Buffet, and could not fault the food in quality or selection. The food available there for afternoon tea was equal to that in the MDR when we tried afternoon tea there on one day. The Lido Grill, in addition to the usual burgers etc., had an excellent selection of sandwiches and salads available all day. Drinks on board seemed to equate well with prices on previous cruises, and for those who like it, there was a Costa coffee shop. My companion's birthday fell during the cruise, and I had pre-ordered a birthday cake to be delivered to the cabin. This was excellent in quality and value for money. Activities and entertainment: Although we didn't avail ourselves of it much, there seemed to be a very good varied programme of activities during each day. The port talks were excellent, and the guest speaker, a retired Police Superintendent, was fascinating. The evening entertainment by the Headliners Theatre Company was superb. Although I gather that the same shows are repeated on all cruises, they were fresh to us this time - the energy and enthusiasm of the cast, plus the quality of the singing and dancing were excellent. I was amazed that we had four separate shows in a seven-day cruise (3 in the Curzon Theatre and 1 in Carmen's show lounge). Whether I will feel so enthusiastic about seeing exactly the same shows again on our next cruise remains to be seen! We didn't go to the other shows in the theatre, as they didn't appeal, but there seemed to be a buzz among the audience leaving the shows, so I assume they were enjoyable. Entertainers in the bars were generally competent and unobtrusive, and there was a Russian pianist every evening in Charlie's Champagne Bar, and this filled the Atrium with background music (although we couldn't actually work out what he was playing most of the time!) I went solo to the Captain's cocktail party, having been used to a Captain's welcome party on the previous two cruises (HAL and Princess), where the Captain introduced officers, etc. This one was a little disappointing, as the Captain said a few words and disappeared, and everyone was left to make their own conversation, which was a little difficult if you were on your own, and everyone else was in groups around tables. Ports: All lived up to expectations, and got steadily better as the week went on! Bergen was a lovely port and town for a stroll round; Olden was such an attractive village and rural area, with lots to see; Flam was equally attractive and interesting, and although it had more limited walking potential, it did have the railway; Stavanger was a wonderful mixture of old and new, with great pedestrian areas and waterfront bars and restaurants. The only excursion we took was in Flam - the Osterbo Mountain Scenery tour. We are aware of the extra cost of Cruise-line excursions, but we felt this one was good value for money, and we really enjoyed the waffles/sour cream/jam at the halfway point, as well as the scenery! Minor irritations: Embarcation was excellent once inside the terminal building, but there was a 30-minute queue to get inside. (Disembarcation was smooth and efficient, and our taxi back to the hotel for our car was waiting outside!) First impressions of the waiting staff on the first day were not good. They were trying to sell glasses of champagne for the sailaway party, but appeared surly, unsmiling and offhand with the passengers. We put this down to a difficult turnaround day for the crew, and although things were fine for the rest of the week, it did take the edge off our excitement about getting aboard! In contrast, the muster was dealt with quickly and efficiently - and with very entertaining good humour, as we were in the Curzon Theatre, being organised by the headliners' cast. The Dinner Menu stated "Roast potatoes, Brussel Sprouts and Carrots" - the plate contained ONE potato, two sprouts and three small carrots! I appreciated that if you are eating five courses this is ample. However, for a couple of nights we only wanted a starter and main course, so it did seem a bit mean! None of these minor issues were enough to spoil our enjoyment of a wonderful cruise,. which was excellent value for money, and I am happy to give it a five-star review! We are now looking forward to our next cruise - on Britannia! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
It was our first cruise with P and O. Been with Princess and celebrity . overall impression was good. Slick embarkation , but no welcome drink as we boarded. Outside larger cabin was good, even had a bath. TV was poor, both ... Read More
It was our first cruise with P and O. Been with Princess and celebrity . overall impression was good. Slick embarkation , but no welcome drink as we boarded. Outside larger cabin was good, even had a bath. TV was poor, both in picture quality and content No programme for children No dedicated movie channel No personnel account page to check on your bill etc Food : Very poor compared with other cruises The salad bar was basic in the Buffet Little fresh fruit. Only apples, oranges and pears. Bananas once. We ate in the freedom dining restaurant . It was not great. I asked for berries for dessert. What a fuss... They brought me strawberries which was lovely. Asked again on 2 subsequent nights, but no luck. My husband is diabetic, as was probably half the ship, but no dedicated diabetic dessert section. Don't know how they could ruin porridge on a British ship, but they did... It was watery, tasteless and a bit like gruel..... Activities on board were ok. Entertainment was good. Enjoyed all the shows. The ship was generally too cold.The air conditioning was set too high in most places. Shame to get all dressed up at night, especially formal nights, to have to wear a sweater or similar. Even my husband was cold in his suit.The cabin steward was wonderful, as were others we were told. Disembarkation was also slick, We went on 2 shore excursions which were good. Strangely, the captain, officers and Doctor were never introduced to us as on other cruises. Rarely saw officers walking around the ship . All in all, we had a lovely time, but P and O should take some tips from the American ships especially regarding food and service. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Background: • Aurora was on a world cruise and we took up an offer made by P & O for this sector. • It was our first experience cruising with P & O Cruises (UK) • In the last five years we have cruised with Cunard ... Read More
Background: • Aurora was on a world cruise and we took up an offer made by P & O for this sector. • It was our first experience cruising with P & O Cruises (UK) • In the last five years we have cruised with Cunard (Queen Victoria – twice - and Queen Elizabeth, once); NCL (Pride of America); Oceania Cruises (Regatta); and Princess Cruises (Ocean Princess) Our commentary represents our honest assessment of the cruise based on our past experiences and expectations. __________________________________________________ Boarding Once we reached the check-in desk the process was prompt and efficient. However, progress through the queue was slow, taking over half an hour. Safety briefing This is potentially the most serious issue – we were not advised by any means (ie printed notice, pa announcement etc) of any safety briefing prior to the ship leaving Auckland. We do not know whether or not one was held, and if it was there was no follow-up as to why we did not attend. Our cabin • We had requested twin-bed configuration and this was confirmed by P & O in our travel personaliser on the website. However the cabin was configured as a Queen. It was (eventually) remade by the attendant. The room was somewhat smaller than we had expected. • There were no wine glasses provided (despite P & O making it very clear that passengers were welcome to take a modest quantity of their own wine on board) We did get glasses on request. • There were no cards for ordering room service breakfast (provided later after we asked for them) • No bath robes provided – we were advised by the attendant that they never are. This was the first time we have ever experienced this across several cruise lines. • We were disappointed with the small size of the balcony and the fact it was partially enclosed. Of more serious concern was the poor state of the paintwork around parts of the balcony which showed extensive rust staining. It seems hard to believe the ship recently had a £22 million “makeover”. • A tray of sweets provided was clearly quite old – some of the wrappers had come undone and a number of the sweets were stuck together. The tray itself appeared not to have been cleaned for a considerable time. On a positive note we did appreciate the facility of an electric jug and supplies for making tea and coffee. Housekeeping was generally of an adequate standard, though on one occasion the evening room servicing was missed. Bathroom toiletries were not replaced as we used them. The balcony did not appear to have been cleaned at all during the cruise – small pieces of rubbish that were there when we embarked were still there nine days later when we left. Dining We opted for freedom dining. Regrettably we were disappointed with the standard of food and service in the Medina restaurant. The waiters generally seemed to be going through the motions, with little or no interaction with the customers. Talking among themselves in their own language appeared to have higher priority. We found the menu offerings in this restaurant to be less than memorable. Of particular disappointment was the “New Zealand lamb” which was tough, poorly cooked and poorly carved – in a word inedible – and a poor advertisement for New Zealand produce. In general we found on a number of occasions that menu descriptions of some dishes did not always match the food that was presented – usually in terms of the accompaniments. Horizons Restaurant. The desserts apart, we could find little to recommend this restaurant for either lunch or dinner. We think the lack of a made-to-order sandwich bar and similarly made-to-order pizza & pasta to be a real shortcoming, as was the lack of ice cream machines. On the final night of the cruise, 6 March, we looked in at this restaurant at 8.15pm to find there were very few hot dishes on offer and most of the staff clearing away. Advertised dining for this restaurant was 6.30pm to 9pm. Lido Grill. Very small menu options which did not change at any stage during the cruise. Less than adequate. Sindhu Restaurant. An excellent experience with attentive and knowledgeable staff and quite wonderful Indian food. The Glass House. This became our favourite after Medina had produced such poor showings … once again excellent and friendly staff and although the menu was relatively small we could not fault the quality, taste or enjoyment of the offerings. So the question has to be asked – if the kitchens can do so well for Sindhu and the Glass House – why is the Medina such a disappointment? Entertainment We only saw two performances in the Curzon Theatre – Russell Harrison and the Headliners Theatre Company (“Blame it on the Boogie”). Both were excellent. It was a disappointment to us that a “Captain’s Cocktail Reception”, which we have enjoyed on other ships – including several within the Carnival Group – was not held on this cruise. Internet and library The two ladies operating this service were knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Well done. Tendering Due to lack of immediate berthage in Sydney, the ship anchored for the first day and passengers were transferred by tender to a landing near the Opera House. In general we had no problems with that … EXCEPT … that when returning to the ship conditions boarding the tender were such that they could be considered dangerous due to the violent movement of the tender alongside the jetty. (As an aside - I do have very significant small-boat handling experience, so feel well qualified to make this observation) Conclusions Do we regret having taken this cruise? Well, no. It all adds to our cruising experience. Would we cruise again with P & O Cruises, UK? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
This was our first P&O UK cruise travelling from the UK back to New Zealand. Previously we had cruised 6 times with Princess so we are not inexperienced at cruising. Aurora is a lovely ship, well designed in terms of passenger space ... Read More
This was our first P&O UK cruise travelling from the UK back to New Zealand. Previously we had cruised 6 times with Princess so we are not inexperienced at cruising. Aurora is a lovely ship, well designed in terms of passenger space and you never got the feeling of being crowded. Having recently undergone a major refit we were surprised to find that during two consecutive days of force 8 and one day of a force 9 wind that some cabins on level 4 and 5 plus Carmens entertainment area were flooded as water came in to these areas via poor sealant to their windows. Maintenance gave way to aesthetics? The on shore excursions were varied but very pricey. Going ashore and dealing with the locals for the same excursion produced huge cost savings. Port talks never mentioned currency conversion rates even a guide would have helped! Obviously the emphasis was on taking a P&O excursion but more and more people were doing their own thing as time went on and little coverage was made of this in the port talks. Entertainment was quite varied in type and styles, overall pretty reasonable. I do pity the round the world passengers as the repeats of the main shows every four weeks or so by the "Headliners" would be annoying to say the least. We were on for 48 days and frankly we missed the second time round shows. Nearly as bad as MASH...not again! Biggest plus: The cabin. Biggest downer: Horizon Buffet. Would we cruise with P&O. UK again? NO. We will go back to Princess!   Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it ... Read More
Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it with The Glasshouse which was noticably deserted for most of our cruise. Her well stocked Library is now crammed into the Cyber Cafe (dont think of sitting there quietly with a good book). The Sindhu restaurant has replaced the Library - OK for those who want a particular style of Indian food. Clealy the new features are centered around profit generation, but I doubt they will realise significant revenue as they are not in keeping with the British style of cruising. The change from the Pennant Grill to the Beach House does offer an alternative dining experience on the back of deck 12 which is recommended in the warmer climbs, possibly not so appealing on the Atlantic routes. The newly installed bulkhead which now divides the Vanderbilt room to provide a kitchen for the Sindhu restaurant lacks the original build quality, evidenced by the creaking whenever the ship gets into a lively sea - something which both Aurora and Oriana have not suffered previously. The multi million pound refit could have benifitted from removing the flaking paint and rust which is particularly evident around Deck 7 and elsewhere. On a more positive note Aurora still rides very well in rough seas - Coming through the Tasmin Sea in a Force 11 she remained very stable - so if your sea legs are not the greatest, this is the ship to choose. 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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