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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Aurora Cruise R718 to Zeebrugge (Didn’t dock!). Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October 2017. DAY 1 - Friday 20th October- Southampton Our first experience of a 2 night cruise and back-to-back cruise all in one (although I am doing ... Read More
Aurora Cruise R718 to Zeebrugge (Didn’t dock!). Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd October 2017. DAY 1 - Friday 20th October- Southampton Our first experience of a 2 night cruise and back-to-back cruise all in one (although I am doing separate reviews for each). The 2 night taster cruise to Zeebrugge didn’t start well, as CPS car drop off was, for the first time, poor. The normal arrangement for a 2 day cruise is for passengers to self park in the short stay car park, but I had called CPS many weeks before and they had linked our two cruise bookings, telling me that I could ignore the self parking option and should pull up at the terminal to be valet parked as normal. I had called CPS again the day before the cruise to confirm and was, once again, told this would be no issue and CPS staff would be available at the terminal. As we arrived at the terminal, we first had a battle with the traffic marshal’s, who seemed incapable of understanding what we had arranged (and were quite offhand) and then, as we arrived outside the Mayflower cruise terminal, there wasn’t a CPS operative in sight. After a phone call to CPS (when I was kept on hold for 10 minutes) and a further wait, two CPS staff members eventually arrived. During the time that we were waiting I noticed that the porters were just standing idle alongside the building waiting for passengers to take their cases to them. Even though I had two large cases, a carry case, a wheelchair and my wife to attend to, no effort whatsoever was made to assist. When I asked an idle porter whether or not there was porter service today, he replied “No, there never is”. Perhaps he meant on 2 day cruises, but this attitude was shocking none the less. Thankfully, as we entered the terminal building, first class service immediately took over. We reported to assisted embarkation and didn’t even have to take a seat, as we were escorted straight to check-in and were through security and on board within around 10 minutes. A record for us. Due to high winds when Aurora had docked, the air bridge wasn’t attached, so we had to board up a steep ramp from the dockside. Thankfully we were assisted by two pushers for this bit. Even though we had an embarkation time of 1430, we were in our cabin by 1310 with both cases already present. Very impressed. We were staying in C152 (Accessible Balcony) which was the same cabin that we had stayed in for our 16 night Baltic cruise in May. We instantly noticed an issue with the bed, in that one half was higher than the other! Also, the previous occupants had stupidly left the safe locked, rather than open as instructed. We could not find our steward, so unpacked and stowed the suitcases under the bed. More than an hour later, we eventually found our steward (Lawrence) who told us that the previous occupant had hired a Mobility at Sea special bed and that the normal bed had not returned as planned. He said he would sort it out and called the deck manager to unlock the safe. Next stop the Glass House, where we each traded our Peninsular Club vouchers for a freebie glass of champagne. The staff have all changed since our May cruise, but were just as friendly. We also noticed that food was available during the afternoon, even though it was a changeover day. We had already had an early lunch at Maritimo Lounge in Ocean Village, but will keep this in mind for changeover day on Sunday as we are staying on board. Then to Anderson’s for the muster drill. When we returned our life jackets to the cabin we were impressed to find that the bed had already been changed and was now level! Up to the Crows Nest for a sailway drink and observation as we pulled forward off the berth, turned (as the ship had docked facing inland) and cruised out past the Isle of Wight. Horns were honked between us and Azura as we passed her. Azura is delaying its departure by 24 hours due to former hurricane (now storm) ‘Brian’ which is due to engulf the English Channel tomorrow. As we are heading North, we are departing as normal, although we will have to come back through the remnants of it. During out time in the Crows Nest we were joined by a lovely couple who lived on The Isle of Wight, so were able to have a good chat about the island. We weren’t overly fussed about the main dining room menu, so tried to get into Sindhu, which although only had about 4 couples in it was apparently full! We ended up in the Beach House where the manager recognised us from May. We experienced exemplary service but my beef sizzling platter wasn’t as tasty as before and none of the deserts appealed, so I just had Eton Mess ice cream, which was very nice. We didn’t fancy the Headliners show (Fantasy) as we had seen it in May and didn’t rate it, so we went to Carmen’s for a Showaddywaddy tribute band called Shomaddymaddy. Pure cheese, but we actually quite enjoyed it as the music was good, even though we couldn’t see the band once the dance floor had filled with people dancing! Our final port of call was a repeat visit to the Crows Nest, as the male members of the Aurora Orchestra were performing. However, they were playing jazz, which is about the only style of music that I intensely dislike, so we retired to bed, although I first popped out to the Horizon buffet for a Horlicks nightcap. DAY 2 - Saturday 21st October- At Sea (Zeebrugge cancelled) Although we had heard a lot of people talking very loudly as they passed our cabin late at night, we both managed to sleep well, probably assisted by the combination of alcohol, Stugeron and rocking motion! At 0745 (0645 UK time) we were woken by Captain Turnbull making an announcement that, due to high winds, we were unable to dock at Zeebrugge and would have a day at sea as he had not been able to find a substitute port. Although quite understandable, it’s a shame for those who had booked the cruise specifically to go to Bruges, not least as there are no other stops and this is now a cruise to nowhere! We both commented on how professional and comprehensive his announcement was e.g “the safety of the vessel and all those aboard is, and always will be, my first priority”. We had a leisurely breakfast in the Medina restaurant where the waiter remembered us from our last cruise. During the morning, we cruised up past the Thames Estuary (passing wind farms and gas platforms) into the North Sea, prior to turning around 180 degrees off Lowestoft and heading back towards Southampton - and storm Brian! Lunch in the Medina prior to popping our head into Carmen’s for a singer , Sadie Ebbon, whose 11.15pm show had been brought forward to 2pm due to the unplanned sea day. We stayed for a few songs but weren’t really getting in to it, so we left and went to Anderson’s for a quiet read. By now there were a few more white peaks on the waves and more noticeable movement. We have noticed how busy the ship feels compared to our last cruise on Aurora, which is not helped by everyone having to stay on board and it being autumn, so few people are on the open decks. Although the P&O blurb talks about this being a ‘Discovery Cruise’, the staff on board refer to it as a ‘Party Cruise’ and you can see why. Lots of large groups including quite a few hen parties. We assume that, to keep costs down, they might be sharing 4 adults to a cabin, which also explains the relatively high passenger density. As the ship was busy, we returned to our cabin for a rest and to read. The wind was now force 9 with gusts up to force 11. The balcony divider door is rattling loudly and our patio door out to the balcony is draughty and doesn’t keep out the noise of the wind. We ordered a cream tea from the new room service menu. This took around an hour to arrive. Our steward is pleased that we are staying on board. He explained that on changeover days he works almost all day and evening and has just 90 minutes off during which time he has to rest, eat and call home. The band ‘Caravan’ are on board again, so we decided to go to the 7.30pm Bee Gee’s Tribute show which we had very much enjoyed when we were last on Aurora in May. There was no member of the entertainment team present to provide the commentary between each song and the lead singer attempted to do it but really struggled due to his strong Philippine accent. Thankfully the songs were still good. We decided to have dinner late, so hot footed from Carmen’s to the other end of the ship to the Curzon Theatre for the early (8.30pm) show of a Madness tribute band called Badness. They were the same group that had performed the Showaddywaddy tribute and we enjoyed this performance as much, especially as they didn’t just sing Madness songs but also other Ska groups such as The Specials and Bad Manners. We left before the end as it was 15 minutes before the Medina restaurant closed to new arrivals, so we hope that the show is repeated on our follow on cruise. Dinner in the Medina restaurant was the Marco Pierre White menu, as it was the Black Tie night. Other than the Beef Wellington, I didn’t particularly enjoy the other courses (other than the delicious port infused Stilton to finish) so may dip into the non-Marco choices next time that menu appears. As we had finished dinner very late and the ship was being buffeted by Storm Brian now that we were in it’s path in the English Channel, we retired to our cabin. It was difficult to get to sleep due to the fact that the ceiling of the cabin above the bathroom door was creaking and banging as the ship was being thrown around by the storm. That said, we didn’t feel sick at all and obviously slept well when we eventually got to sleep as we didn’t awake until we were alongside in Southampton. As we were doing our first back to back cruise, there are no disembarkation comments to make and anything beyond this point will feature in the next review. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Our friends had been trying to persuade us we would love cruising for many years, so this year we decided to give it a try. We chose the canary cruise as it fitted in well with school holidays. We have a 10 year old boy and also travelled ... Read More
Our friends had been trying to persuade us we would love cruising for many years, so this year we decided to give it a try. We chose the canary cruise as it fitted in well with school holidays. We have a 10 year old boy and also travelled with friends and their 10 year old. The night before, we stayed at the Southampton Central travel lodge. This was clean and comfortable. Parking was limited, but we were able to pull up outside and drop off/pick up luggage, and there was plenty of parking a short distance away. The hotel was well situated, near to the shopping centre where there was a great selection of restaurants and bars. The embarkation process was great. We arrived 30 minutes early, handed over our car and were processed straight onto the ship. I don't know if they were using more than one entrance, but we did notice later that lots of families had had their photos taken on boarding the ship; we never had that option. Once on board, we did feel that we were not given much information about the sequence of events. We were anticipating a mandatory safety drill (which happened efficiently) and were looking forward to the 'sailaway'. Unfortunately we missed this as there were no announcements made. Our cabin was great - very clean, reasonably spacious and very comfortable. Our steward was efficient and very unobtrusive - our son had a sofa bed, which he said was more comfortable than his bed at home, and this was cleared away in a morning whilst we were at breakfast and set up again in the evening whilst we were at dinner. The toilet blocked a couple of times, but a quick phone call to reception and the problem was sorted very quickly, from outside the cabin. The food was amazing! We had breakfast and lunch in the Horizon self service restaurant, where there was a good choice of hot & cold dishes. Although it was school holidays and the cruise was fully booked, we never had any problems in getting a table or having to queue for food. The staff were very efficient at clearing the tables and keeping everything scrupulously clean. We had afternoon tea twice, once in the Medina restaurant and once in the buffet. The tea was nicer in the restaurant, but I preferred the flexibility of the buffet where you could choose the exact cake you wanted without feeling you might be depriving someone else on your table. I am sure, however, that if we had requested extra cakes it would not have been a problem. We were on freedom dining and always dined in the Medina. The food was fantastic - always lots of choice and the waiters were friendly. On a couple of occasions we praised a particular dessert and they brought us a second helping! Our son is a fussy eater, but even he managed to find lots of things he liked from the children's menu, and the staff were great at bringing the kids meals out quickly so they could go to kids club and we could continue our meal at a more leisurely pace. There was also a fantastic buffet at 10;30 pm, but sadly we were usually too full to manage any. We went to a few shows - one based around 70's hits, a Queen tribute and an Adele tribute. They were fantastic. I would advise arriving in plenty of time if you are in a group and want to sit together. We felt the family bingo was a bit lacklustre, and the prizes were a bit naff, but the normal bingo was great fun. Our son and his friend adored the kids club. They were given an itinery at the beginning of the cruise so they could select what they wanted to go to and they wanted to go to everything!! The premises looked a bit sparse for their age group, so we were a bit wary, but they obviously kept them well entertained. Our son is not very sporty, so we were surprised that he often chose to participate in the football coaching, but they really boosted his confidence which was lovely. We didn't really do many excursions as we thought the boys would prefer to be on ship, but we walked along the front in Madeira to the cable car which we all enjoyed, although the toboggans were closed. We also did a paid excursion in Lisbon, going on an amphibious vehicle which meant we could see all the sights without the children moaning that they didn't want to walk and they enjoyed the river part too. It was well worth the money and next time we will probably book more excursions. The only minor criticism of the whole cruise was that every talk seemed geared up at trying to make you spend more money. My friend and I went to a pamper party on day 2, which was one sales pitch after another and I had a manicure which was excellent but spoiled by the pressure I felt to book another treatment. I was also a little concerned about treatments which were being advocated to treat health conditions, as I felt that people could be misled and some of the claims sounded rather spurious (I am a doctor myself). Overall, we all agreed that it was the best holiday we had ever had - so much so that both families have booked another cruise for next year. Unfortunately, one of our cases went missing at Southampton. No one seemed particularly concerned to help us, or the other handful of families who seemed to have befallen a similar fate. Eventually, we had to fill in a lost baggage claim and are still waiting to find out if it will be returned to us. On the plus side, I have not had to do much washing!!! Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We don't cruise every year but we were in need of a holiday and a cruise is usually a great treat. We spent time in Southampton with family the day before but had to wait to board til 2.30pm. Boarding was very quick and efficient. ... Read More
We don't cruise every year but we were in need of a holiday and a cruise is usually a great treat. We spent time in Southampton with family the day before but had to wait to board til 2.30pm. Boarding was very quick and efficient. Food was available at the Lido deck but we were a bit late and had to make do with a tiny salad until our dinner at 8.30pm. We really should have gone to self serve as it was late for us to eat and although we sat at the table promptly it was nearly 9.30 before we got our meal. I don't count the mushroom starter which was awful! The meal had lightly warmed up new potatoes and a grey looking fish. I complained and perhaps this helped us to get a nice table at 6.30 for the rest of the cruise. Mealtimes were enjoyable because of the company and the attentiveness of the waiters but food was generally disappointing. Often it was lacking in taste. A steak was tough, a waldorf salad was lacking in celery or walnuts- you needed a magnifying glass to find any trace. The Greek salad had no feta cheese and the bread was usually doughy. The bread was exceptionally nice once and I remember about 4 really nice meals out of 11 days. My husband a chocoholic complained to me that the chocolate had little taste. The chocolate brownie did though to be fair. Salads in the self service were watery and again very little taste. Our cabin with balcony was lovely and near to the laundry for washing or ironing. We like dancing but all the lessons during the day were for beginners. The ballroom at night was very quiet maybe because it was school holidays and a lot of families were on board.The shows were quite good- what you would expect on a cruise and the acts they brought on board were good too. We got bored with the disco as the DJ seemed stuck in a rut- so much good music to play and he kept going back to Tamla and baggy trousers! We shared in a couple of quizes but not many activities to suit us. The last two nights there was so little choice, we both read our books and had early nights. We are used to finding our own way at ports of call and when we discussed our days at dinner with other guests, we often found that we had a better and more interesting day than those who had done the excursions! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our first time cruising and we are glad that we chose P & O's Aurora to celebrate our special anniversary year. From check-in to disembarkation, the whole P&O experience was extremely smooth and efficient. We ... Read More
This was our first time cruising and we are glad that we chose P & O's Aurora to celebrate our special anniversary year. From check-in to disembarkation, the whole P&O experience was extremely smooth and efficient. We chose CPS parking to leave our car with, and felt like VIPs when we arrived as they unloaded our cases and took our car away. Having been quite independent travellers having to encounter airports over the past few years, we found the whole having your bags efficiently delivered to your cabin for you quite a wonder. Disembarkation was equally as efficient thanks to both P&O and CPS's services, with our bags delivered outside and our car ready and only a short walk away. Aurora is a traditional mid-size ship with plenty going on, but not so large that you get lost or feel intimidated by too many fellow passengers. The public areas are all very smart and clean and we particularly liked the ‘Crow’s Nest’ bar overlooking the front of the ship. We mainly picked this cruise because of the itinerary (including Venice and Dubrovnik), but we also enjoyed the relaxed sea days between days in port. We had fantastic weather, so spent many an hour sunbathing by one of the three pools or dolphin watching. There were plenty of sun-beds and chairs on deck, so didn't ever encounter any arguments over people marking their favourite spot with towels. The only negative about the Aurora was the onboard gym which was quite small with limited equipment. Even though we are gym bunnies in our home life, the lack of equipment and efficient air-con gave us a good excuse to take a break from the gym and walk the lovely prom deck instead which was much more fun. The food and service on Aurora was excellent. We were on Freedom Dining and never encountered getting a table at the time we wanted to dine (which was generally quite early) whether we wanted to share or have a table for two. We generally ate in the Medina restaurant for breakfast and dinner, as we felt we would be less likely to overeat when the food is served to us. Both the food and service were excellent here - we especially enjoyed the Beef Wellington which was served on one of the Marco Pierre White Gala dinner nights. Also enjoyed occasionally visiting the Medina for afternoon tea as the scones were beautifully warm and fresh. The MaitreD' and all the staff were friendly, polite and efficient, as were all the staff onboard who would always give you a friendly 'hello' when you passed them. The Horizons buffet was also pretty good - the hot meals were generally quite traditionally British such as a daily roast dinner (possibly to please the older crowd), so we generally opted for the salads and cold meats and fish which were all good, as were the yummy desserts. We also tried the speciality restaurants 'Sindhu' and 'The Beach House', the former being excellent but the latter not so (just bigger portions of American style food). There was plenty to do on the ship, especially on sea days, and everything going on was outlined in the daily 'Horizons' pamphlet. We particularly liked the quizzes and destination talks by Sam, but there was also activities such as deck quoits, shuffle board, water colour painting etc etc for those interested. There were clubs for the children, so despite it being the school holidays it never felt that there were too many kids running around. In fact, the children were generally better behaved than some of the old people on board (some of whom, who had perhaps been on too many cruises in their time, were a bit moany!!!). There was generally quite a mixed demographic on board, but more elderly cruisers than I expected with it being school holidays. We noted that the service and facilities offered to disabled guests appeared to be excellent, even though we didn't require this ourselves. On port days, we did an equal mix of organised excursions and our own thing. The tours we picked were all excellent and efficiently organised, the only drawback being the whistle-stop nature of our visits due to the time constraints. We did the 'Classic Mount Etna' on Sicily, 'Venetian Islands and Gondola Ride' in Venice and the wine tasting trip in Sardinia and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. We also noted that P&Os organisation of tenders and shuttle buses was good, the only niggle being our return from Dubrovnik when we had to queue for a while as it was busy and the coaches were having trouble getting in. We loved the way that P&O thoughtfully provided cold water to guests returning to the ship, as it had reached over 35 degrees on some of our port days. Some of the evening entertainment including the resident 'Headliners' was a bit cheesy, but good fun. We particularly liked the 'Destination Dance' and 'New Romantics' evenings which took us back a bit. The highlight was an excellent soul/Motown group called 'The Flyrights' who had the audience up on their feet. Everything was very much geared towards a British audience, from tea and biscuits in the cabin to the 'We'll meet again' show on the last night. I would imagine that non Brits might be a bit bemused by it all! Being first time cruisers, we may be a little starry eyed about everything P&O and Aurora had to offer, but we thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise. So much so that we have already booked for next year! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This cruise was very good. My criticism would be of the Reception staff or lack of them, but they did deal with enquiries and a bathroom breakdown very well. The service was very good and staff did anticipate needs very well. The ... Read More
This cruise was very good. My criticism would be of the Reception staff or lack of them, but they did deal with enquiries and a bathroom breakdown very well. The service was very good and staff did anticipate needs very well. The entertainment was of a high standard and the food excellent with a good choice for all diets. Shore excursions were well organised and very good guides but quite expensive, worth doing your research and using the local transport if you are able to. For me I didn't think there was enough quite areas for reading and when in the spa having a treatment there was a lot of noise going on outside the spa, next door in the pool area with staff moving sun beds etc, not very relaxing. The ship was very clean and could not be faulted. I spoke to some parents and they rated the kids club very well. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I was one of 6 in a group that had a limited window of time when we could all go away. We have heard good things about cruising to Norway and so we decided on Aurora. This was the first P&O cruise that I had done so I was keen to see ... Read More
I was one of 6 in a group that had a limited window of time when we could all go away. We have heard good things about cruising to Norway and so we decided on Aurora. This was the first P&O cruise that I had done so I was keen to see what it was like. As my title suggests we were generally very impressed with everything apart from a lot of mechanical noise when we were coming in to port for about an hour before actually tying up the boat. Our cabin was very forward F503 and we were surrounded by various winches and pulleys that were being used when the ship was coming in to dock. Unfortunately this was normally early in the morning so we had interrupted sleep on every day that we were stopping somewhere. I did complain about this to Reception twice and I was told that I would get a visit to my cabin to hear what was going on and nobody appeared on either occasion. This was very disappointing and poor customer service in my opinion as it shows to me that nobody cared. In light of this I would caution anyone that is looking to book a cabin on Aurora and to try and keep away from the forward lower cabins if at all possible. I would note though that our cabin steward was excellent and helpful so no complaints about the cabin itself other than it is quite small compared to others. Other than that I could not fault the boat. The food was excellent and plentiful and varied. The level of service was high with lots of happy people looking after you all the time in all locations. The boat is not huge but still felt comfortable and uncrowded. The entertainment was pretty good although I would not get too excited about the in house dance troop. On our cruise we had Jack Pack, Roy Walker and Mandy Mulen the Magician. Jack Pack were good and Roy Walker was excellent with some classic stand up. The audience were in stitches. The variety of tours was good and we had some excellent excursions in different parts of Norway. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this cruise due to its itinerary (Norwegian Fjords) and suggestions from family to try P&O as we have always been a Royal Caribbean cruisers. After our journey from Lincoln to Southampton we left our car with a meet and greet ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to its itinerary (Norwegian Fjords) and suggestions from family to try P&O as we have always been a Royal Caribbean cruisers. After our journey from Lincoln to Southampton we left our car with a meet and greet company (Parking4cruises) which went very smoothly with a slight wait for the single greeter to process 3 cars ahead of us. We had a embarkation time of 3:00pm and it appeared so did many others as there was a queue out of the registration hall into the car off load area. However the processing went fairly quickly and we were on-board within an hour. We went straight to our cabin and were very surprised to see our luggage already there, excellent service. Although we only booked the Saver Price we were extremely pleased with our Outside Cabin, on deck 5 Forward, very spacious and enough drawers and wardrobe space for all our clothes. The ship was very quiet in terms of engine noise (helped by very smooth seas), very quiet in terms of fellow passengers who were of a mixed age group from babies to 80+ but the average age would be 50+. Being just before the main school holiday there were very few children on-board. Being first timers on P&O we did not know what to expect in terms of ambiance but now put it as very British with no razzle and brashness of Royal Caribbean, only reserved politeness with a Last Night of the Proms feel to entertainment. We used Freedom Dining which worked extremely well, no waiting for a table and always a choice of size. The waiters were very good but the wine waiters needed to be more attentive. The food was above average, the main dining room had plenty of fish choices, however my wife being a non fish eater was disappointed in the chicken dishes (too dry). We always had breakfast and lunch in the buffet dining area which was excellent. We did dine in Sindhu one evening, the specialty Indian restaurant to great acclaim although we found it difficult to sleep that night as we were rather full! Bar prices are reasonable (equivalent to top hotels in the UK) and with P&O allowing drinks to be taken on board for personal use in the cabin allowed us to partake of a pre-dinner drink whilst changing. The entertainment was not always to our liking but listening to fellow passengers it was well received by them. Entertainers of note were Catch 22, a resident band playing many venues and genres). guest artist Paul Anderson a classical/Spanish guitarist playing in small intimate venues and guest Headliners Jack Pack.. Being the Norwegian Fjords we expected dubious weather, however we had blazing sunshine throughout the trip apart from one day in Bergen and the days sailing back to Southampton. The ship docked right in the heart of all the ports and thus it was a short stroll to the centres. We only booked one excursion and that was in Bergen to go up in the cable car on the Heights and Highlights tour. A very good tour with time for at the top of the summit for coffee and cake and photographs. Although it wasn't a clear day (Bergen has 320 days of rain!) the clouds kept moving and opening up various gaps down to the city and surrounding areas to give wonderful vistas. Disembarkation was simple and straight forward although we were allocated a 10:30am time, however this didn't worry us too much as we had no timescales to keep to. Overall we very much enjoyed the trip and our first time on P&O and would certainly consider them again when choosing another cruise. There were only 2 comments we made on-board and they were: The gym and jogging area did not open up until 8:00am - to late for me My wife had a spa treatment which was excellent but felt the product sales afterwards was too heavy and intimidating. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We had had mixed reviews with regards to P & O and so decided to try for ourselves for the first time with P & O, we opted for a smaller ship and liked the design at the back of the ship of the Aurora so went ahead and booked 7 ... Read More
We had had mixed reviews with regards to P & O and so decided to try for ourselves for the first time with P & O, we opted for a smaller ship and liked the design at the back of the ship of the Aurora so went ahead and booked 7 nights to the Norwegian Fjords. Embarking Southampton allotted a time to board which we found to be ideal, through check in and security not a problem. Straight to our cabin and our cases were there, unpacked and then ready to explore. We had cabin B168 Portside and liked the layout and presentation very much, so far so good. Went to the back of the ship from our cabin which was a good walk and found this area to be a great meeting point, with plenty of seats and the sail aways took place in this area on the bottom deck. Deck 7 was also great as you can walk the entire deck without having to stop or go up a few steps. In the evening we opted for traditional dining at 8.30 and a table of 8, this was really good and the company great as were the staff who looked after us in the dining room. The entertainment in the Theatres was timed so that you can get to a show after dinner, we had Roy Walker comedian who did 2 nights and Jack Pack who also did 2 nights both were excellent. For Excursions we did the Tropical Flora of Norway which was excellent the colours of the flowers were beautiful and it was also very interesting to hear how the island came into being. A definite for anyone who enjoys gardens. In the afternoon we walked around Stavanger. In Olden which is very beautiful we did the Birksdal Glacier by coach with our Guide who told us lots of information about the area, took us to view the Glacier and later we travelled by boat along the lake where the coach picked us up for the last part of the journey, In the afternoon we took a little train that operated in the opposite direction of where the ship was and again this was interesting and very beautiful. The nex day we were in Andalsnes and we opted for the scenic Rauma Railway this was again excellent, with dramatic scenery we went by train first and the return journey was by coach, again the guide was very good and kept us well informed. In Bergen we decided to do the tour bus around the town and we also did some walking around the shops and the Fish Market area. Homeward bound and a day at sea, we sat back on deck and reflected on the journey and we had both thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience on the Aurora. The Captain kept us all fully informed each day and nothing was too much trouble for the staff we met. Will definitely go on this ship again in the not too distant future. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My wife and I have been on a few dozen cruises on many different lines and ships over the years. I'm not one for keeping count but I'm guessing we've done about thirty cruises in all. We chose to go on Aurora simply because ... Read More
My wife and I have been on a few dozen cruises on many different lines and ships over the years. I'm not one for keeping count but I'm guessing we've done about thirty cruises in all. We chose to go on Aurora simply because some members of our family were going on her and we wanted to join them. There were nine people in our group - six adults and three kids. I have to say that both the ship and the service exceeded my expectations. Embarkation was quick and efficient. The room (balcony C321) was immediately available - and it was clean and perfectly fulfilled our needs (and we normally book a suite). Because it was a smaller ship, by modern standards, it didn't feel too busy in the public areas. We had anytime dining (nine of us) and we didn't have to wait for a table at any time. A first for us! All the staff on board were friendly and keen to help. Again, that's not always been the case on previous cruises on different ships. The three kids were well catered for in the kids' clubs (including the night nursery). The food was outstanding and there was a very wide choice on offer in the various restaurants. Not once were any of us disappointed with any meal ordered. I don't normally write reviews but on this occasion I made an exception because I wanted to give credit where it is due. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our 9th cruise with P&O. Embarkation/disembarkation was very good. The cabins being ready at 1pm is a really great idea, it saves wandering around with trundler's/suit carriers etc. We haven't sailed on Aurora since ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise with P&O. Embarkation/disembarkation was very good. The cabins being ready at 1pm is a really great idea, it saves wandering around with trundler's/suit carriers etc. We haven't sailed on Aurora since 2010 & she is still a beautiful ship, very easy to navigate. Our cabin C299 was great, very clean & we had a brilliant cabin steward, Roda who was super efficient. We opted for first sitting, fixed dining in the Alexandria restaurant, our waiter's, Joseph & Jebb were charming & very efficient & a pleasure to know & food was very good. Sarah, our wine waiter was very good at her job. The entertainment was good, the headliners were a new troupe & they suffered a couple of injuries a few hours before a show one evening & it clearly affected their confidence that night but, like all of us, they are only human & you make allowances for that. The singer Lorraine Brown was incredible, it wasn't my era of music so I wasn't sure I would enjoy it but she was flawless. Reception were always helpful & service all round the ship was very good (I don't know how people find so much to complain about in reviews, maybe they are asking for the impossible!!) Ports were very good especially Salerno, beautiful!! The captain, Robert Camby, was superb. The evening before we were due to dock at Salerno he announced that strong winds were expected the following morning & could prevent us from entering the narrow port so he had decided to "get a lick on" during the night to get us to the port a lot earlier than our original arrival time to beat the winds & we did, superb quick thinking by a very professional Captain. Fantastic staff, fantastic cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
Wanted to go on a short cruise with grandchildren and family so this looked good. Embarkation was quick and well organised. We had three balcony cabins which were fine size wise. Food was great, entertainment a little amateur but that ... Read More
Wanted to go on a short cruise with grandchildren and family so this looked good. Embarkation was quick and well organised. We had three balcony cabins which were fine size wise. Food was great, entertainment a little amateur but that did not spoil our enjoyment. Of course the weather was a big factor and was lovely. Anne Franks house and city tour was most enjoyable plus the journey down the canal was really restful. The port was bustling with river traffic and we enjoyed sitting out in the evening sun watching it. Took the shuttle bus to Blankenburge which has a super beach, coffee on pier and then mandatory stop at chocolate shops. Staff were great, our waiters were most attentive and cabin always clean and tidy. All in all a great introduction to the family to cruising, especially as youngest grandchild usually suffers from travel sickness but was fine throughout the journey. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this mini cruise for 4 nights to Amsterdam & Brugges to try cruising as a family for the first time. My children are 17 & 13, we booked interconnecting rooms, these were the larger inside cabins. Plenty of space for ... Read More
We chose this mini cruise for 4 nights to Amsterdam & Brugges to try cruising as a family for the first time. My children are 17 & 13, we booked interconnecting rooms, these were the larger inside cabins. Plenty of space for clothes, good sized bathroom, comfy beds. We booked Freedom dining, since we thought the children may prefer this and we wouldn't be restricted where we ate. I had also pre-booked two of the Select restaurants on the ship, having read bad reviews about the food on board. I needn't have worried, we ate in Sindhu, the curry restaurant, which was simply superb. The Beach House, which was ok, but it was on the formal night so felt very overdressed in there, the Horizon restaurant is ok as a self serve for a quick snack or breakfast but The Medina was lovely, food outstanding and with waiter service. We only had to wait for a table to become available once. The ship is medium sized, has 3 pools, a cinema, theatre, golf simulator (which wasn't actually open when we sailed), lots of bars and lounges to relax in. My only criticism would be that when we finally docked in Amsterdam (having taken 24 hours to get there), it was very slow getting off the ship. We didn't book any excursions, choosing instead to make our own way and have free choice. We visited Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam for 9Euros, opposed to 35Euros each going with P&O. I would certainly think about another cruise with P&O, probably for longer and without the children next time. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Our 10th cruise with P&O but our first on Aurora. Having experienced poor service on a 4 day cruise on Ventura a few months earlier, we were concerned that P&O standards were falling, but our confidence was restored with this ... Read More
Our 10th cruise with P&O but our first on Aurora. Having experienced poor service on a 4 day cruise on Ventura a few months earlier, we were concerned that P&O standards were falling, but our confidence was restored with this cruise. Aurora is a lovely ship. She has all the essential attributes including a wide, full circuit, level (no steps) promenade deck, a Crows Nest and a beautiful design (particularly the tiered stern). Being a small ship (by today's standards) she is easy to get around. We cruised out of the school holiday season so the profile was over 80% retired, which suited us even though we aren't retired, as the passengers were lovely and through Freedom Dining we met a lot of very interesting people who we chatted to around the ship or in ports. The ship had a real 'community' feel. We consider ourselves to be 'foodies' and were concerned at the number of negative comments and reviews regarding the food in the main dining rooms that we had read prior to our cruise. We dined in the Medina Restaurant and can honestly say that the food (quality and choice) was excellent throughout and the service was superb. We had different waiters most days and every single one, bar none, was First Class. The Glass House was fantastic (food and service) but hardly used. The Beach House was lovely but the new menu isn't as good as the one it has replaced. Sindhu on Aurora is poor compared to the version we have experienced on Britannia and Ventura. It is basically an extension of the coffee shop (so very noisy) and, again, the new menu isn't as good as the previous menu. It's a shame that Aurora doesn't have an Epicurean restaurant, as the version on Britannia is our favourite restaurant at sea. Entertainment was mixed. The Headliners Theatre Company was the weakest we have seen. They were good dancers but poor singers. Pianist and singer David Mairs was also poor and could murder some great songs. However, Harmony Duo (classical violinist and pianist), Clare Bonsu (singer), Caravan (particularly Bee Gees tribute) and speaker Diane Simpson were all fantastic. There was very little to do during the day. Our cabin (Accessible Balcony) was very good but, as with all cabins, sound insulation was poor between adjoining cabins. We could hear the TV of the cabin one side and our neighbour the other side woke us up between 5.30 and 6.30am every single morning with a sneezing fit. He made no attempt to stifle the noise so we had no need for an alarm clock. Joking aside, it was infuriating. The TV's on Aurora are pathetic. They are too small to watch, picture quality is poor, reception patchy, sound crackly and no interactive features whatsoever. Having enjoyed the superb versions on Britannia (large screen, HD quality, fully interactive etc), this was going back 30 years. The atrium on decks 6,7 and 8 is narrow and causes bottlenecks. The shops are also tiny. The ship does present some challenges for those in wheelchairs. The Curzon Theatre and Playhouse are poorly designed as there are only a couple of seats where wheelchair users can sit alongside their companion and other less disabled passengers tend to sit in them as they are the only ones that don't involve a step. You cannot get from front to midships on deck 8 in a wheelchair as there are steps. There are 6 doors out to the promenade, but none are automated (there is one automated door out to deck 13). There is an automated door from Champions to the promenade, but it has a heavy solid conventional door behind it (and a No Entry sign!) which renders it useless. In spite of the limitations and shortcomings (no ship is perfect after all), this was our best cruise to date. Aurora is a lovely ship. We experienced friendly and efficient service throughout. The itinerary (Baltics) was superb. We felt no movement at all (although seas were flat calm throughout). The passenger mix was lovely. Food and service in the main restaurant was faultless. This was cruising as it should be. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Also we wanted to leave and return to Southhampton as we had several days planned in London before cruise. Ship was excellent, food very good, cabin cosy with balcony but more than adequate ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Also we wanted to leave and return to Southhampton as we had several days planned in London before cruise. Ship was excellent, food very good, cabin cosy with balcony but more than adequate on Deck 11, A150. Excellent washing facilities 9 Speed Queen washers and dryers on our deck so washing never a problem. Ports of call fantastic. Couldn't fault this cruise at all loved every minute. Didn't attend any formal nights as husband didn't have a tux and most folks did but attended buffet which didn't bother us. Entertainment and lectures first class. Would recommend to anyone. Husband thought golf simulator could have been available more often! I would be happy to do a cruise with P & O again. We were very lucky with the weather and the seas were very calm. Some fog though but Captain did excellent job. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary as it went to many ports we hadn't previously visited and some we had not been to for a long time. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly We had an inside cabin on ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary as it went to many ports we hadn't previously visited and some we had not been to for a long time. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly We had an inside cabin on F deck, as we know from past experience that we spend very little time in the cabin and the cabin, whilst small, was fine for our needs The entertainment onboard was well organised and we enjoyed the shows although we did find that the cinema timings were rather odd on certain days e.g 2pm or 10.45pm ? The food in the MDR has in my opinion deteriorated over the years but there is always plenty of choice available in other locations around the ship, we also ate in the Beach House - which was delicious, and used the Horizon Buffet several times in the evening as well as for lunch and breakfast, this has been upgraded and is a beautiful light and airy area but P&O really do need to replace some of the glazed units as their seals have gone and you can no longer see though the glass. Service onboard was variable with some staff looking like they didn't want to be there however others were superb and I must mention Pragati one of the waitresses at the Horizon buffet, she was outstanding and a credit to P&O We enjoyed all of the ports and the port lecturer 'Sam' was the best I have come across in 30+ cruises, he was full of information and facts and helped make all the ports even more interesting e.g the impromptu treasure hunt in Klaipeda which saw many passengers rushing around with maps looking for a variety of small sculptures - great fun :) Skagen was also a brilliant surprise and well worth a visit and we even paddled, with one foot in the North Sea and one foot in the Baltic a real experience. We only took 2 tours preferring to DIY the rest but both of these 1) transfer to Gdansk 2) Frederiksborg castle were well organised We have cruised for many years and we hadn't been on Aurora for a while, she remains a lovely classic ship with a really nice atmosphere onboard although some areas would benefit from a little modernisation and some TLC All in all a fantastic cruise with some memorable ports this was our third cruise to the Baltic and I suspect it won't be our last ! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Chose this cruise for it's many different ports having been to the Baltic twice before. Interesting ports such as Riga, Travemunde, Gdynia, Skagen, Tallinn, Klaipeda as well as the usual Oslo, Copenhagen & St Petersburg. Cabin ... Read More
Chose this cruise for it's many different ports having been to the Baltic twice before. Interesting ports such as Riga, Travemunde, Gdynia, Skagen, Tallinn, Klaipeda as well as the usual Oslo, Copenhagen & St Petersburg. Cabin was well serviced and adequate. DIning was to a satisfactory standard in the Medina dining room. The entertainment was abysmal only the comedian was any good, the rest were boring rubbish. As usual the cruise companies excursions were over priced & in large coaches,we went freelance everywhere except St Petersburg where we went on a pre arranged 2 day tour with TJ travel,arranged online with no prepayment & they also arranged & sent us the visa, they were brilliant, 12 of us in a 16 seater instead of 40+ in a P&O coach, we used them previously & will use them again in future. The ship was a nice compact size & well maintained, suited us better than some of the mega cruise ships. We like P&O for the fact we can take own alcohol on board (for cabin use only) we took a few bottles of wine for pre-dinner. The ship was generally very clean with good service from all the staff. One interesting point is as the average age of passengers appears to be in the 60's and 70's why were there condom machines in the gents ! Although we were in an inside cabin we left the TV on at night tuned to the bow camera channel, we then know if it's night or day. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Pre-cruise Stay I stayed overnight before the cruise at the Holiday Inn on the waterfront in Southampton. There is nothing special about the hotel but it is very clean and comfortable. The public areas have been refurbished in recent ... Read More
Pre-cruise Stay I stayed overnight before the cruise at the Holiday Inn on the waterfront in Southampton. There is nothing special about the hotel but it is very clean and comfortable. The public areas have been refurbished in recent years and the bedrooms are gradually being refurbished. The ones at the front of the hotel overlook Southampton Water and are good for ship-spotting. Park-and-stay rates are available. The buffet breakfast was good quality and hot with plenty of choice. Embarkation I had been allocated a 3.00pm embarkation. I left the hotel at 2.00pm and it took only 5 – 7 minutes to drive to the Mayflower Cruise Terminal in light traffic. My car was taken immediately by staff from CPS – there wasn't a queue of any sort. Once inside the terminal building, I was told that I could check in straight away and joined the queue for the check-in desk. This was pretty efficient and after going through security, I was on board and inside my cabin at 2.30. Thirty minutes from hotel to cabin – well done P&O and the Mayflower Terminal! The Good Ship Aurora Aurora entered service for P&O in 2000, so whilst certainly not ancient, she does have 16+ years of service under her belt. Despite this, she is in fine fettle. Yes, you will see odd little rust-spots/patches but these are dealt with on a regular maintenance basis. Unfortunately, there was some fairly 'heavy duty' maintenance being carried out on both the Promenade Deck and an external staircase on Lido Deck, resulting in excessive noise at times. This is really something that P&O should do when there are no passengers aboard but unfortunately these ships are worked so hard now to maximise profits. Aurora has lovely public rooms, most of which are 'enclosed', rather than being open to a corridor or the atrium. There is a lovely observation lounge (The Crow's Nest) forward on Sun Deck, the Horizon Buffet on Lido Deck, Raffles Bar, Sindhu Indian Restaurant, the Playhouse Cinema and Glass House Bar/Restaurant on D Deck plus the two main dining rooms on E Deck. The remainder of the public rooms are on Promenade Deck and comprise the Curzon Theatre, Anderson's Bar, Masquerade Nightclub, Champions Sports Bar and Carmen's Show-Lounge. There are also various other useful spaces for children, card-players, casino buffs etc. Interior décor, fittings and furnishings are all in good condition. I was in a standard inside cabin on B Deck. These are not the largest of cabins but are certainly adequate. The queen-size bed (which can be two twins) was extremely comfortable and I slept very well most nights. Storage space was good with two two-drawer bedside cabinets, four drawers in the dressing-table and a triple wardrobe with lots of hanging space. There is a stocked mini bar (which I asked the steward to empty so that I Could use it as a fridge) and a safe for your valuables. This was big enough for my 10” tablet but would not take a laptop. There is a small-screen TV with a range of channels including Sky News and Sky Sports. Others are Film Channels and information channels. There are tea & coffee making facilities on a small table and a compact sofa. Again, all furniture and fittings were in very good condition. The compact bathroom included two corner storage cupboards and a shelf under the washbasin. The shower is big enough for an average-size person and has a curtain rather than a glass door. There was plenty of hot water with a stable temperature and the toilet flush worked well. Food There has been a fair amount of criticism about P&O food over the last couple of years and they had relatively recently introduced a new menu. I ate in the Alexandria Dining Room on second (8.30pm) sitting 'club' dining, meaning I had the same companions every evening. You can choose Freedom Dining, which means you choose when to eat each evening. The menu consists of 4 starters, 3 soups, a salad, 4 main courses 3 desserts and cheese & biscuits. There are also 'Always available' starters and main course plus 2 'Signature' or 'Always available' desserts plus a 'Chef's Choice' 'Classic Roast' and 'Daily Grill' main course. Additionally, Ice Cream, sorbet and a Sundae were available. You will not go hungry! The quality of the food was generally very good with both meats and fish being generally well-cooked and to my liking. Food was served hot and was usually tasty, with a couple of stand-out desserts: White Chocolate Mille-Feuille with Toffee, served with marscapone and basil sorbet; Milk Chocolate & Pistachio Delice, Dark Chocolate Sauce & Sweet Fennel Ice Cream – outstanding! Our waiters and wine waiter were all very friendly and really efficient. Breakfast in the main dining room gave plenty of choice, with everything being tasty and of course freshly cooked. There is a different daily special each morning. The breakfast buffet in the Horizon was okay but quite repetitive and the quality was variable as it usually is in large hotels ashore. There was an omelette station for nice, freshly-cooked omelettes where they also prepared poached eggs. There was always plenty of seating in the Horizon Buffet and waiters walked around in the morning pouring tea and coffee. Lunch in the Horizon comprised plenty of dishes to choose from and the quality was variable. Afternoon tea was served in both the Horizon and one of the dining rooms. The Lido Grill served burgers hot dogs and fried chicken but these were all cooked in advance rather than fresh which meant they were not that appetising. You could also get a small range of sandwiches at the grill but again they were not freshly made so not particularly appetising. I also ate in Sindhu twice which was really excellent. I did not eat in the Beach House as the menu did not remotely appeal to me – it is the sort of food you find on a Leisure Park and might eat after going ten-pin bowling. Entertainment Of course, entertainment is very subjective. The Headliners Theatre Group were just about average. I have seen better but also seen worse. The in-house bands were excellent but the cocktail pianist/vocalist was pretty poor. The Guest Artists were generally pretty good, with Clare Bonsu (vocalist) and Byron Johnston (Guitarist) being outstanding in my view. There was a comedy ventriloquist who many appreciated but who I found dreadful. A selection of films were shown in the cinema but none particularly appealed to me on this sailing. Daytime activities consisted of quizzes, deck-sports, seminars, lectures and Port Presentations. The seminars were sadly regurgitated selling opportunities that have been doing the rounds for years. Unfortunately there was only one lecturer on board and I had seen her on my two previous P&O cruises. The Port Presenter (from the Shore Excursions Team) was excellent, giving some historical perspective and also advice for passengers not taking tours. The Entertainment Manager was friendly and personable but I did feel he could have given a bit more information about what was on in the evening when he presented the theatre show each night. His Entertainment Officers were okay but again, I have seen better. Ports Oslo, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Talinn, Riga, Gdansk, Klaipeda, Travemunde and Skagen. The selection of ports was excellent and the main reason I chose this cruise. I booked P&O Tours in St Petersburg, taking three half-day trips over the two days. At all other ports I simply walked off the ship and explored. They all had their own charm – some more than others. My favourite was Riga and although I had been to Oslo once before, I fell in love with it a little. Disembarkation A few days before the end of the cruise, you were invited to visit the Pursers Desk (Reception) to book a time slot. I chose the latest possible, which was 1030. I was asked to vacate the cabin by 0830 and wait in the Crow's Nest Lounge. This was comfortable and not crowded. At about 0950 a member of staff came around informing us that disembarkation was ahead of schedule and we could leave when we liked. I waited about another 20 minutes and strolled off the ship and straight through arrivals – no rush, no stress. Summary A really good cruise to interesting ports. Great companions on my dinner table and met lots of friendly and interesting passengers around the ship. Food and entertainment pretty good. Oriana is still my favourite ship but I will be very happy to board Aurora again any time. I feel this size of ship provides me with an excellent cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Wanted to cruise the Baltic again and see additional sights in St. Petersburg. Aurora happened to have the cruise itinary that suited us and this was our second time on this ship and sixth time with P&O. Overall the ports of call were ... Read More
Wanted to cruise the Baltic again and see additional sights in St. Petersburg. Aurora happened to have the cruise itinary that suited us and this was our second time on this ship and sixth time with P&O. Overall the ports of call were as expected. Wish I could say the same about the ship she is looking tired in many places. Unable to turn off the air conditioning in the cabin or control the heat output, constant noise of the units blower was very annoying. When are P&O going to include free WiFi this should be a must now. I had a minor altracation in the Horizon food hall on the night of the 27th May 2017 when despite the warning notice regarding the importance of hygene etc clearly displayed on the chilled water machine against filling up your own containers there was a guy doing just that in full view of three restaurant staff. I mentioned to the guy that this was not acceptable and he stated that he had been given permission but was unable to tell by whom. Brought this to the attention of the stewardess on duty and she told me " it was not my perogotive to admonish any of the passengers". She failed to tackle the offending person at all and I was according to her clearly at fault. The answer I guess is instead of purchasing bottled water at £2 a litre on board which is what I did for the duration of the cruise you should just refill your own containers and disregard the hygene notices. Makes you wonder how many more food hygene rules are being disregarded. So it's goodbye P&O, not impressed. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Ship Aurora First time on board this ship. Very small. Pluses more personal and intimate. Relaxing not hussel and bushel. Limited activities on board. Food - I think P&O food is deteriorating in standards and variety. Still ... Read More
Ship Aurora First time on board this ship. Very small. Pluses more personal and intimate. Relaxing not hussel and bushel. Limited activities on board. Food - I think P&O food is deteriorating in standards and variety. Still good value for money. Accommodation - We took an inside cabin and was not disappointed. (Usually have balcony). The weather was cold so did not miss the balcony. All the places we visited were easily accessible by foot and you don't necessarily need to book excursions. As the ship docked right in the towns/villages we returned to ship to eat. Everything very expensive in Norway. Scenery beautiful. April there were snow capped mountains - some waterfalls which were lovely. Possibly a visit in June would give you a lot more waterfalls. From the places we visited we came away thinking life is much simpler the air norticeably cleaner. A very beautiful country and would definitely like to visit again in the warmer weather. We took clothing for all weather conditions and ended up wearing jumpers and not t shirts. Even in the evenings on the ship needed to wear a cardigan. Norwegians all speak very good English. The Kroner is the currency. Read Less
40 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
First impressions were of a beautiful ship with lots of wood, marble and chrome. This impression stayed with me throughout the cruise and made me think of how an elegant club would look. Service on board was excellent with the exception of ... Read More
First impressions were of a beautiful ship with lots of wood, marble and chrome. This impression stayed with me throughout the cruise and made me think of how an elegant club would look. Service on board was excellent with the exception of a couple of members of staff who were probably suffering from home sickness or just didn't like cold but dry Norwegian weather.
 The cabin was a disappointment with a carpet so stained it would have been thrown out if in anyone's home. Space and storage were fine but the small tv stood at an angle because the bracket it was fixed to was bent. The beds were very comfortable and even in heavy seas afforded us a very good nights sleep. The cabin we had was an inside one and was plenty big enough for two of us. Any longer than a week though and I would have been missing daylight. The cabin lights were not bright and seemed to be yellowish in colour which made it a dull place to be. Having said that we only slept and changed there as we were out and about from early on until late into the evening so it didn't really matter to any great extent. We saw little of the cabin steward but he did what he had to do and did it well. 
 The public areas are wonderful with the Playhouse cinema and Curzon theatre having very comfortable seats with plenty of leg room. The Costa Coffee seating area is far too small and finding seats was difficult on a few occasions. The Crows Nest is huge and finding seats was easy. We even found front window seats on three visits including our 30 mile passage through the Fjords after leaving Flaam. The sofas and chairs in all the public areas are very comfortable and look almost new. What I did find strange was the choice of films in the cinema. Two films were ok but another was a horror movie and to cap it all they showed a Mongolian documentary with subtitles! I think the Aurora was at the back of the line when films were handed out. The Headliners shows were good but not outstanding and the harmony singing group were also pretty good. Lyn Frederick the singer and musician was excellent and deserves credit for the hours she puts in. 
 The Horizon buffet food was plentiful and good quality in my opinion. Getting tables wasn't a problem after the first morning as we went a little later to avoid the breakfast rush. The dining was fine with good service and good food, no complaints whatsoever. The Champions bar lacked any kind of atmosphere and once we used it a couple of times gave it a miss after that using the Crows Nest as our favourite sit down for a nice drink venue. Andersons Bar was nice but the waiters were pushy and hovered around you even before sitting down and deciding what drink to have. One night an elderly man asked us to move seats in the Anderson Bar as we were sat in the place he always sat. If he had asked with a please we may have moved but as there was no pleasantries at all we declined his offer! In fact we are as elderly as he was so we could see no reason to move. I have a feeling he had been on the world cruise and stayed on for this Fjords cruise so perhaps he did feel he had a right to the seats we had taken but we didn't agree.
 There were lots of electric scooters (are they called scooters?) being used around the ship for those who were disabled and there were no problems with them at all. In fact the able bodied passengers went out of their way to help and assist and I never saw any 'problems' that's mentioned occasionally on forums. The lifts were never crowded and we never had to wait but we did use the stairs if only going a couple of decks up or down. 
 The embarkation and disembarkation went very well and we were both on and off half an hour before our due times. The shops were always well stocked but the 'sales' of jewellery and watches etc were the usual quality but attracted lots of people. 
 My biggest moan and this is a moan (sorry) but its the old age problem of formal nights. Speaking as a person who has never owned a dinner jacket I took the time and expense of kitting myself out with everything as I and my wife follow the rules laid down by P&O. I didn't think I would like the black tie thing but I do and as I said we follow the rules. Outside the Crows Nest and other places there are signs saying what the dress code for the evening is. So on one formal night there were people in jeans, sweatshirts and trainers sitting in the Crows Nest ‪at 8pm‬! Please P&O either drop the rules entirely or enforce them. Nobody approached these passengers about their dress and they were sat just in front of the bar. Strangely enough we saw the same people the following evening when it was smart casual and there were no jeans or trainers to be seen. Perhaps they had been reminded of the rules after all? I would be happy with no dress rules but they are there so please P&O either ENFORCE them or DITCH them. Sorry my grumble is now over.
 Overall we had a fantastic cruise and we both loved it. Would I cruise on Aurora again? without a doubt I would as it's a great place to spend a holiday in such surroundings with good service, comfortable cabins and friendly people. Out of the two P&O ships we have sailed on my favourite is still the Britannia as there is more to do throughout the day. However Aurora comes over as a much more relaxed ship so it's horses for courses.  Last but not least I have read reviews saying she should be sold off as she's passed her sell by date with rust etc showing through. The crew are constantly cleaning, painting or varnishing but not once did any of these activities hinder or effect any passengers enjoyment of the ship. In fact above part of the promenade deck is a bit of decking for crew access only and they were working up there looking after machinery all day and we never even noticed them. It wasn't until we heard a noise and looked up that we saw them and they said they had been there all that time. Security both on board and in ports is excellent and I have no doubts about that aspect at all. I have tried to make this a very fair and unbiased review of Aurora and I think I have achieved this. There was nothing to dislike about her in fact just the opposite but my favourite P&O ship is still the Britannia. Being a larger ship she has more to do during the day but the evenings on both Aurora and Britannia are just the same absolutely superb with good company in a safe comfortable lovely environment. For anyone booked on the Aurora don't have any second thoughts or concerns, you will love her. Read Less
24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
So lets start with the basics - anyone who is looking for a no frills cruise then this is for you. The embarkation went well and we arrived at our cabin around the time that was scheduled for us on our documents - 2pm. We had the good ... Read More
So lets start with the basics - anyone who is looking for a no frills cruise then this is for you. The embarkation went well and we arrived at our cabin around the time that was scheduled for us on our documents - 2pm. We had the good fortune to be upgraded but to be honest the upgrade was probably only a little better than our original cabin as it was still small but functional. The one saving grace was our cabin steward who was charming and always very polite - our cabin was kept in spotless condition. We had booked freedom dining but this turned out to be a little bit of a bun fight because about half the ship had so maybe we will opt for the conventional sitting next time we cruise. We ended up sharing tables of eight most of the time which can be a little hard on the social side as people can be chatty or very quiet depending on their demeanor - or as we found downright rude! However the food was good but a little repetitive and the staff very efficient and friendly. The entertainment was very slow and disappointing - not much going on. The shows in the evening apart from the comedian Mickey Zany and the Britones were not very exciting. The dancers headliners are always good so no change there. Reception service was excellent. Shore excursions overpriced as usual and Norway itself very expensive - please try to do your own if you can as you will find on most ports small travel stops who do most of the trips at half the price. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
As my partner and I had never been to Norway we decided to give this P and O cruise a try. The Embarkation at Southampton went very smoothly, 45 minutes after arriving at the terminal we and our cases were in our cabin. The Aurora ... Read More
As my partner and I had never been to Norway we decided to give this P and O cruise a try. The Embarkation at Southampton went very smoothly, 45 minutes after arriving at the terminal we and our cases were in our cabin. The Aurora last had a facelift about 3 years ago and some of the décor might be described as a little dated, but we loved the cosy feel of it. Our suite cabin (B221) had so much storage space it was easy to forget where one had put things ! This trip we decided to try freedom dining for Dinner, this worked fine. We never had to wait more than a few moments to be seated as we were happy to share a table. As a result we met a very interesting and amusing bunch of fellow diners . The food variety , quality and service was excellent. We did not use any of the alternative dining venues as we had previously used them on other cruises and did not feel the need on a 7 day trip. Most evenings we went to the Curzon theatre where the entertainment was brilliant. The Headliners ship's dance group were very good and their final performance:- Destination Dance was fantastic definitely West End standard. We also enjoyed very much The Brit Tones Vocal Harmony Group and The String Idols Girls Violin Group. Of the 4 ports we visited, Stavanger and Haugesund we did our own thing and explored on foot. Flaam and Olden we used the P and O Excursions and both were excellent. We have cruised with P and O before and would certainly use them again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise from Sanfransisco to Southampton initially as a relaxing way home after visiting our daughter and her family who live nearby. Our Hotel was excellent and the excursion to Napa Valley Wine Country across the Golden ... Read More
We chose this cruise from Sanfransisco to Southampton initially as a relaxing way home after visiting our daughter and her family who live nearby. Our Hotel was excellent and the excursion to Napa Valley Wine Country across the Golden Gate Bridge was very interesting... The instant we boarded we felt at home, a wonderful atmosphere, everyone very friendly, including the staff, from the entertainment staff to the cabin stewards and restaurant and fellow passengers. The cabin we chose was an inside one which was very spacious, a haven after a very hot day or evenings entertainment. Always clean, fresh linen and a comfortable bed. Embarkation and disembarkation was well organised and went very smoothly. The food was excellent, both in the Alexandria and Horizon restaurants, (there was no need to eat elsewhere) and the entertainment brilliant. We found plenty to occupy us during sea days too, with such a wide variety of interesting talks and classes. We would definately cruise with P and O again, hopefully the beautiful Aurora. I can't understand the negative comments from some, because we found our experience faultless!!!! Thank you Aurora and P and O for a holiday to remember. Read Less
Aurora Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 5.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

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