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Sail Date: October 2014
Went on a 3 night taster cruise in May and loved it. Took my family this weekend to show them that P&O was worth a try and leaving their regular cruise line. BIG Mistake - First the food; we like informal dining and after the first ... Read More
Went on a 3 night taster cruise in May and loved it. Took my family this weekend to show them that P&O was worth a try and leaving their regular cruise line. BIG Mistake - First the food; we like informal dining and after the first night there were two themed nights in the buffet restaurant - fish, and oriental. there was no alternative if you didn't like fish (or in my case are allergic to seafood), and when I asked if there was an alternative I was told to go to formal night, by a very rude head steward! The late night buffet was a few (not very fresh) finger sandwiches, chips and dried up pizza - definitely not up to other cruise line standards.the service was slowed down by having our cutlery and trays handed to us, and not being allowed to pour our own tea and coffee. Perhaps if the four staff they had allocated to this totally unnecessary task had been used to clear the tables they might have been cleared in a more timely manner The 'Brought in entertainment' Lynne Fredericks what a charmless insipid performer she was! So much so that we took my elderly father to watch her, and left to get ready for the evening, and he didn't even know she was singing. Highlight of the entertainment was Flyright a soul/motown/swing trio who entertained in every way and were excellent. The entertainment on the 'sea day' would never have encouraged anyone to go on a long cruise with lots of sea days. There was a dance class and quiz (at the same time) in the morning and then talks on on acupuncture, hair and feet!! I'm so disappointed with everything about this cruise, but the catering offering and service in the buffet were particularly bad and the attitude of the management in the buffet was simply unacceptable.   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our first cruise. The previous year we have booked a 3 week cruise in eastern Med, but my wife was taken seriously ill for months so we had to cancel. We were both very apprehensive, I was desperate to switch off and ... Read More
This was our first cruise. The previous year we have booked a 3 week cruise in eastern Med, but my wife was taken seriously ill for months so we had to cancel. We were both very apprehensive, I was desperate to switch off and relax/unwind. My wife with all her aches and pains just wanted to know she would be comfortable, especially as we had to take a wheelchair (collapsible) and use it at times. Drove to Southampton, lovely lady took our keys and parked our car, porter carried our bag, I wheeled my wife, we were on the boat in around 15 minutes. I was stunned - speechless. Zero hassle. Very very friendly staff at shore (P&O please take note they were great !). Sat in the chair on the balcony, just honestly could not believe we were actually there. Trekked/Wheeled around the boat, no issues at all getting around, just the corridors where the rooms are were difficult to squeeze down with a wheelchair and meeting a trolley laden with towels (regular occurrence) but there's always a way around that. Food in the evening very good. We swapped to the early sitting (once we found we could do that). Wine started at £15 a bottle and tasted good. Service in restaurant generally very good. Orangery (buffet restaurant) very large, very busy, not so many staff - so did not go there much as we preferred a more quiet time. Crows Nest bar deck 13 at front of ship was lovely, I'd sit in the leather chair, enjoy a beer, watch the sea. Bliss ! Oh, and the breakfast in the Medina restaurant really was excellent each morning. We were in the other main restaurant for the evening meal (cannot remember name). Room was fine, a little bit cramped, but OK. Wife would prefer the mini-suite but if we booked that it would have been a whole heap more. Bed very comfy. Chap who maintained rooms (Sachin) very helpful. Bathroom surprisingly good (I was not really expecting much there). Boat sailed at night, which was lovely as it helped you sleep, the gentle slight rock as the boat sailed. Wife thought bought looked a bit tired - but it is going in for a refit in Nov 2014. I could see what she meant, but to me it was not an issue, I was just enjoying myself. Did our own thing at Zebrrugge, got the complimentary coach (wheelchair friendly) to the train station, then 6 euros each for a return to Brugges which was just 20 mins away. Then as we had the wheelchair we got a taxi from the station into the marketplace which was around 7.50 euros (I gave a tenner). What a truly lovely place, never thought it would be this good. I you have never been before, pop it on your list of things to do - you would not be disappointed ! Trip back to the boat was just as easy as the trip there. The one coach which was wheelchair friendly offered to be there at the station at an agreed time ! Sailed back to Southampton. Found out we had to be out of our cabins by about 8am (ish), people getting us off from the shore team were stupendous again, and were with us right up to the car as my wife was being wheeled around. We didn't actually go to any of the events in the evenings, so I cannot say anything to that. Driving home, past the ship, was fairly sad. Would have like to stay a lot longer. By the time we got home, I was determined to book next cruise. Found the perfect one, Canaries in January, but the balcony cabins and suites all gone. Gutted. There is only one other company which goes from Southampton in the good old English winter, and it doesn't look like they have any room either (only allow 6 people with wheelchairs - even though collapsible - and wife can walk a bit). So, there you go. I'm hooked, wife thinks they are fine. I want to book at least 2 a year now - so got to get a few extra jobs ! Especially if we have to book the mini suite type thing !! Anything negative ? Well there always going to be a few niggles in life. Both in the main restaurant for dinner, and the other for breakfast, if you ask for something out of the ordinary - or at the wrong time (glass of orange say at end of Breakfast) the waiters seemed to think that I'd asked them to walk on water as they had such a look of shock on their faces. Happened a couple of times for things. Waiters up in the Orangery were not exactly a happy bunch, but I get the feeling there were not enough staff there (funnily the main restaurants seemed to be over-staffed !). For new first time people like us, we were totally lost, with the amount of things you had to find out about.Our cabin had been prepared for another couple who had gotten upgraded to the mini-suite, so the format of our cabin was wrong, and the welcome pack and evening bookings were all addressed to them - no mention of us. Sachin fixed the room though, and I found the other people cruising on the boat so friendly and helpful we soon learnt the ropes ! Oh, and on day 2 we seemed to park up in the middle of no-where for a whole day with a bunch of tankers and container ships ? Odd ? How am I going to wait until April when more ships become available for the Canaries ??? Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Recommended by friends to try the 'Aurora'. having experienced Adonia, Arcadia and Oceania. Aurora is a mid-sized ship, just how we like it not to small or large. We did know it was a 'Strictly' cruise but we chose this ... Read More
Recommended by friends to try the 'Aurora'. having experienced Adonia, Arcadia and Oceania. Aurora is a mid-sized ship, just how we like it not to small or large. We did know it was a 'Strictly' cruise but we chose this cruise for the destinations as we had not previously visited the Canaries. Embarkation at Southampton very smooth including free parking and we in our cabin by 2.00pm. At 4.00pm we were required to attend life-boat drill, very informative and professionally organised. The ship is about 14 years old and will undergo a refit in November .Only 'tired' areas were noted in our cabin/balcony. Soon exited Southampton, rounded Isle of Wight and proceeded across the Channel for our first destination Lisbon. Our cabin steward was excellent and nearly always in the corridor and able to help with any issues or concerns. We did note on embarkation that the electric hand-dryers in the public toilets had been switched off (no explanation) but see below regarding the dreaded 'novovirus'. We chose to have dinner 2nd-sitting in the Alexander restaurant on table of 6 and met excellent dining-companions with whom we shared our table for each of the 13 nights, even despite the attraction to dine in the surcharged restaurants (Bordeaux and Pennant). The waiters (2) and wine-waiter were faultless and we enjoyed the silver-service provided although I understand this may soon be withdrawn by P&O to be replaced with a 'plated' alternative?. The atmosphere was great and the menu excellent. Out of the 40 odd courses we enjoyed over this cruise only 2/3 were queried and immediately replaced with an alternative. Breakfast choice is either self-service in the Orangery (Ok it can be busy but the choice of food is immense and the quality perfectly acceptable, OR you can eat in the Medina (only open I recall till 9.30 am) At lunch we could eat either at the Orangery (self-service) or the Medina (Alexandra does not open at lunch-time) or the Bordeaux. At the Medina you are allocated a shared-table unless you insist upon a table for 2. Shared tables are a great way to to meet fellow-passengers. Menu choice also excellent. The Bordeaux is smaller, more intimate but does have a restricted menu, nevertheless he quality of the food is excellent but you need to avoid the 'rush' periods as you are required to wait for an available table. The Orangery served afternoon-snacks and limitless tea/coffee and there is a Costa Coffee aboard (for which you have to pay). Entertainment was, shall I say 'varied'. The Headliners performed 2 shows but then due to sickness/illness they were unable to continue but P&O drafted-in emergency replacements including a Welsh male singer (West-End and opera style). Only criticism was that his repertoire was almost identical to the scheduled male vocalist already listed. The 'Strictly' theme resulted in several evening performances given over to dancers and 'evenings' with their celebrities including Craig Revel-Horwood who was very professional and open about his career. Aurora has its own small orchestra and has set-performers including Lynn Frederiks (not only great vocalist but also multii-talented with saxophone and flute) plus 'Caravan' 5-piece band who performed throughout the ship. Many (yes many) on-board quizzes and other activities (surprisingly not many that incurred a fee, except Bingo), excellent ex RAF man who gave informative talks on Red Arrows/Dam Busters. Many activities of course for dancing-guests including Ballroom and Line Dancing tuition but sadly no pole-dancing. Organised deck-games, cookery-demos etc. The only gripe, did not actually affect us, there were somewhat a preponderance of passengers who preferred 1st sitting at dinner (6.30pm) to the extend that the restaurants were packed, yet 2nd sitting (8.30 pm) was far more relaxed. As a result the 1st sitting guests then moved to the entertainment venues 'en bloc' thus all available seats were taken and many could not get a seat to the shows. The entertainment Director 'Michael' countered this by providing live tv-feed to the 'disco' area. Not quite the perfect solution but when the restaurants hold approx 800 guests and the theater about 500 then you can see what I mean. The 1st sitting guests could of course have waited to see the 2nd performance of the shows (at 10.30pm) but perhaps it was a long-day for them, especially as many guests were pensionable-aged and several infirm/wheel-chain bound. Into the 3rd/4th day we learned that the dreaded 'novovirus' was on-board (or perhaps had been there before we left Southampton). Suddenly the busy waiters/staff became far more busier, guests were given blasts of hand-cleanser at all venue entrances. The self-service Orangery became 'staff-service' only but still no restriction on the amount of food you needed to overfill you plate! Captain Vago gave a daily count of the cases reported and counter-measures including deep-cleaning of affected cabins and quarantine of guests were the norm. Fortunately we were NOT affected, neither were the great majority of guests but P&O's professionalism and best-practice ensured the outbreak was limited. Believe me if this was serious we would not have been allowed to berth at the Ports of call and the itinerary was not affected. However, we learned that some passengers were oblivious to the risks involved, some guests were seen not to bother to wash hands in the toilets including the comment ' these are my hands I'll wash them when I want' attitude! Also, think about it, all guests are required to sign the declaration document before embarkation regarding their own health. How many passengers who have saved and waited many months/years to go on this cruise are going to admit going to admit that they have a bug and perhaps will not be allowed to board? Lisbon was brilliant great weather, smaller city than I envisaged. Great experience when the ship just managed to fit beneath the bridge. We took hop-on/hop-off bus around the city, saved on excursions. Lanzarote - Aricife port is a dump but so are many industrial areas. We took excursion to fire-mountain and black-sand desolation which was well-worth the trip. Pity we missed out on other popular places including beaches. Gran Canaria - great little tour Maspalomas looked fab. would certainly like to return. La Palma, did our own thing, small less popular island but very friendly and nice little town to explore. Madeira - been before but this time weather quite hot. Again did hop-on-hop-off bus which actually travels outside main Funchal promenade and into the nearby hills including Winston Churchill's favorite bay and pass Reids Hotel not that big, needs exterior re-painting). El Ferrol - what a waste of time. OK if you want to visit La Compostella Cathedral (tour) but the town itself was dreary. Probably not helped by the wet-day, The little-town has little to offer (except Naval Boat Building museum outrageous entrance cost of 1 euro per person), we could not even find a cafe open so after quick 2 hour tour back on board and probably best experience of the day was a 4-piece kilt-clad local bag-pipe band who gave us a sail-away along with 4 locals for support. Overall we enjoyed this cruise at 60+ we were not the oldest aboard but made many friends, excellent dining companions and fellow drinkers. Would love to experience Aurora again (after the refit).   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
I was very apprehensive as this was our first cruise but we thoroughly enjoyed it. The strictly theme was excellent and we couldn't believe the quality of the entertainment. We stayed a 5 star hotel in Tenerife earlier in the year and ... Read More
I was very apprehensive as this was our first cruise but we thoroughly enjoyed it. The strictly theme was excellent and we couldn't believe the quality of the entertainment. We stayed a 5 star hotel in Tenerife earlier in the year and we had only one night of good entertainment compared to every night on the Aurora. I loved the old fashioned elegance of the ship and I hope they don't change it too much during the refurbishments. We had lovely dining companions (Andrew and Suzanne) who had cruised before and gave us plenty of tips. The cabin was kept spotless by our steward Julmax and I was surprised at the size, I had expected it to be much more cramped. Unfortunately the dreaded Norovirus infected some passengers and so strict rules were applied in the dining areas and we could tell the Captain was annoyed as he actually said it must have been brought onboard by a passenger. It did not affect us enjoying our cruise however we haven't got the urge to book another, I think we would perhaps go earlier in the year as the weather wasn't fantastic, think we had only four days of sunshine. If I had only one gripe it would be that the sunbeds on the top deck at the stern, were very dirty and despite my mentioning it at reception, nothing was done. I wiped mine down with wet ones! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
This was our first cruise & after reading some reviews we were a little worried what we might be letting ourselves into, we needed have bothered it was terrific. Everything about the cruise we enjoyed Embarkation/disembarkation this ... Read More
This was our first cruise & after reading some reviews we were a little worried what we might be letting ourselves into, we needed have bothered it was terrific. Everything about the cruise we enjoyed Embarkation/disembarkation this was so simple & took 20 minutes before we were in our cabin Eating was 1st class, wonderful food, great choices & something for everyone, we never had a bad meal Cabins, we had a balcony & this was really nice clean & plenty of space TV had a sky news channel, film channel & other choices. Crew & staff, they were really nice people always pleasant chatty & happy to help. Cleanliness, the ship was spotless, staff were forever cleaning morning, afternoon & night. We chose club dining & were on a table of 8 & we met some lovely people both dining & on the ship. Entertainment, once again there was something for everyone & some excellent singers/musicians. Ports of call, we got off the ship at every port & done our own thing, we enjoyed every port of call & the weather was superb. There was people of all ages on this cruise & as I said there was something for everyone. We are booking again for next year & can't wait. Finally I would just like to say, the people who write all these negative reviews must be living on another planet or more to the point snobs. So if you are not sure about cruising for the first time take my advice forget the negativity & go for it, cruising is for everyone not just for the snobs.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
My second cruise on Aurora - and three years later it was just as lovely. An outside cabin with my daughter was perfect, especially with a walk in shower - great. Everywhere was clean and my only disappointment was my single bed, as the ... Read More
My second cruise on Aurora - and three years later it was just as lovely. An outside cabin with my daughter was perfect, especially with a walk in shower - great. Everywhere was clean and my only disappointment was my single bed, as the mattress was not comfortable. I understand the Aurora will be in for re-fit next February, and this was my only complaint ! The food and service was excellent, especially at the Café Bordeaux, but did not take an evening meal there as the Medina Restaurant was excellent. The food and service in The Orangery was very good, the tables always quickly cleared by smart young men. Always clean uniforms. Embarking at Southampton was swift, although Disembarkation could have been better as crowds gathered around the Reception area despite having been told not to do this. Baggage was easily located on leaving the ship. Tenders well organised when necessary. This cruise to the Norwegian Fjiords was lovely. Wonderful scenery, excellent guides on coach excursions with good English. Entertainment under direction of Cruise Director Michael was very good and the Sail Away from Bergen with Officers volunteering to be drenched with buckets of ice water for Macmillan Charity was great fun - a bid to drench Michael for £100, followed by dip in the swimming pool was a very generous offer and well worth the experience !! An excellent atmosphere to say goodbye to Norway. Looking forward to another cruise on lovely Aurora.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
Aurora. August 2014. Norwegian Fjords. 7 nights, outside cabin. This was our first cruise, so I cannot make any form of comparison to other cruise lines or specific cruises. However, I would guess that first time reports have a certain ... Read More
Aurora. August 2014. Norwegian Fjords. 7 nights, outside cabin. This was our first cruise, so I cannot make any form of comparison to other cruise lines or specific cruises. However, I would guess that first time reports have a certain cache of their own and so I offer this to the forum having spent a long time reading feedback on all sorts of operators and ships in the month leading up to departure. I was increasingly concerned about just what we had booked given the wide range of reviews of Aurora. Having spent a week with her, I would struggle to recognise the ship based on some of the remarkably negative things that have been submitted. I made excellent use of the brilliant feedback forum, so in the spirit of passing on experiences, here goes. OK, each to their own and there is a good overall percentage rating, but I think it is a fabulous ship and generally it was brilliant. I'll be as honest as I can and list the good and not so good, but I would have to say that I needed to get really picky to get to anything I thought was less satisfactory. Could do better: A more leisurely speed of service in the restaurants. Plates being whipped away from fellow diners before you had finished a course. A 5 course meal in under an hour is not really the best idea. Cyber? Not on this boat. Surely the technology exists to improve mobile internet access? Group dining allocation...whoah! This didn't work for us as we ended up with an 'interesting' person on our table and we didn't really fancy asking to move in case she went bananas! We dined in the Alexandria only 3 times as a result of this reticence, cowards that we are! Entertainment was mixed. Sorry, but some real toe-curling acts. The good: Food. Remarkable. You can gorge all day or eat plentifully and healthily. I had read negative things about The Orangery before we cruised but we found it to be outstanding. Their curries, prepared by the mainly Asian staff, are as good as I have had anywhere on the UK mainland. Service. Sensational. The bar guys in the magnificent Pennant bar were legendarily good. Glen is wonderful. We were happy to give them an additional tip. Cabin. Clean and very quiet. I anticipated roaring engines so I brought ear plugs. Not needed, Aurora is as quiet as a mouse on Deck 6. Rocy is a lovely man and his towel animals were superb. The few joggers in the morning could be heard pounding the Promenade deck above us, so I'd go for deck 5 or above 7 if we choose this ship again. The Casino. Roulette is great fun, when you win. Atmosphere. Very nice, a good blend of age groups and a good time was had by most people I saw. Drinks. A superb range and very reasonably priced. Aurora, what a gorgeous ship. This was a fantastic introduction to cruising and we'll do it again soon. Wonderful, thank you beautiful Aurora.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Just returned home from a 12 cruise to the Canary's on board Aurora. Found the ship to be easy to navigate and clean on the whole but perhaps a little tired and the forthcoming refit is going to be a timely one. Food was fantastic ... Read More
Just returned home from a 12 cruise to the Canary's on board Aurora. Found the ship to be easy to navigate and clean on the whole but perhaps a little tired and the forthcoming refit is going to be a timely one. Food was fantastic in all the places we eat and it was a nice surprise when dinning in the Marco Pierre White restaurant to be joined by the man himself who we found very engaging and seemed to have plenty of time for everyone. Having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean last year my only criticism of P and O would be the requirements on the formal nights with P and O insisting on their formal nights the dress code be extended to all the on board bars except Champions Bar, hence making the majority of the ship out of bounds to passengers who did not wish to be involved in the formal nights. Personally we found this a bit restrictive. With Royal Caribbean on formal nights only the restaurants required dress of the day with all the usual drinking places on board being no restricted and in my opinion a much better idea. On the whole with the Entertainment being a high standed and all staff highly professional the cruise was very enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
a just returned from a 17 night Central M editerranean cruise, Cadiz, Ctania, Corfu, Split, Venice, Korcula and Gibraltar. My husband is disabled so on arrival at Southampton we were met by wheelchair assistance and were on the ship within ... Read More
a just returned from a 17 night Central M editerranean cruise, Cadiz, Ctania, Corfu, Split, Venice, Korcula and Gibraltar. My husband is disabled so on arrival at Southampton we were met by wheelchair assistance and were on the ship within about 15 minutes. The cabin was lovely and spacious and our cabin steward throughout the cruise was very attentive. Captain: Neil (did I mention I come from Derbyshire) Turnbull was fabulous. As it was school holidays he had his wife and4 children on board but this in no way detracted him from mixing with and entertaining the passengers, Full marks Dining: we opted for 1st sitting at 6.30 and had very good table companions. We were intending to eat at some of the speciality restaurants but the food was so good in the Medina restaurant that we didn't bother with the extra expense. Our table waiters, Savio and Jibi were superb and were always cheerful and funny Cabin: As I said before, this was very spacious and light - we had a balcony on C deck. The steward met our every need and was very friendly. The bed (king) was fabulously comfy and there was a huge amount of storage space. I love the fact that P & O provide tea/coffee making facilities in the cabin. Other lines could take a leaf out of their book on this matter. Entertainment: First class, there was something to suit everybody, plenty of deck games, dance classes, shows, both in the Playhouse Theatre and Carmens (more of a nightclub atmosphere with tables and chairs and a bar service). I particularly enjoyed all the different quizzes, particularly the Battle of the Sexes (teams of men versus ladies) held every sea day afternoon. This was hosted by Emma and Paul who added to to fun by their banter throughout. I also enjoyed the syndicate quiz which was held every night with the winning table receiving a bottle of wine. The shows were, on the whole, very enjoyable and the resident Headliners worked very hard to produce some excellent shows. Ports of call: We enjoyed all the ports and went on one or two P &O excursions. These were very good value for money with the exception of Leisurely Korcula where we were in a mini bus for 2 1/2 hours with no stops to get out for photos. If you were sitting on the right hand side of the bus (as we were) you couldn't see all the views. I did tell the tours desk team about this and they said they would be looking into this for the future). Most of the ports have the local sightseeing City Tours bus close to hand and they are excellent value for money and provide a hop on hop off service. Venice was my favourite port and we had a commentary as we entered and a classical sail away. Disembarkation: Very swift and well organised. Overall, a wonderful cruise and I can't wait till our next one   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
Embarkation @ Southampton was brilliant. Cabin F235 ok for 2, very clean, you do need earplugs. We pre-booked speciality dining for 4 nights this was not necessary as we were given 8.30 dining we sat with 4 wonderful people. The food was ... Read More
Embarkation @ Southampton was brilliant. Cabin F235 ok for 2, very clean, you do need earplugs. We pre-booked speciality dining for 4 nights this was not necessary as we were given 8.30 dining we sat with 4 wonderful people. The food was fabulous much better than NCL which after 3 nights was still the same choice. The choice of menu was brilliant, so to the service. Basically no matter where you dine the food & service is fabulous. Entertainment bit like FAME. However, during sea days there was quite a lot to do, dancing lessons, cinema, board games, deck games. Some of the evening shows were in the disco area. On our ship we had around 200 children all well catered for with the Creche and special teas for them. Lots of small swimming pools, the ship was almost to capacity but as there were 200 little ones there was never a shortage of lounges. I did complain to the DJ Steve on the Tuesday evening by 10.30pm there were perhaps only 30 people in the bar he decided that he wanted an early night I think and basically gave up. When I asked him to liven up the music he said' what is the point, there are only few people in the bar', my answer "If the bar is open until 2.00pm then play the music until the last guest leaves' he was not happy. Basically Steve you need to smile a bit and give the impression that you like your job! Ports La Coruna, just take a walk for a couple of hours. The ship docks 10 minutes from the Old Town. If you want to see the Lighthouse' then you need the tour bus. Oporto. we had the guide, very interesting 3 hours non stop walking some of it up hill, near the end of the walk you will be shown the shop to purchase your Port. Tell the guide to carry on without you. The guide took us down the hill spoke to us briefly then said meet me back here in 40mins. so we had to walk all the way up the hill to buy the Port, then back again to meet the bus. When you buy the Port take it out of the box and check to see if you have a vintage date on the bottle to ensure value for money. Cadiz had to miss out you can only do one of them. Seville, fabulous but over 2 hours drive to get there, then only 3 hours to sightsee. But well worth going. Lisbon, great docking area 20 minutes to the Old Town and the Monastry but it is UP HILL we booked the tour to Estoril, a long way for 1 hour. We drove PAST the the Belem Tower then had 10 MINUTES at the Monument of Discoveries which was the only reason we booked this trip. When you dock you can pick up a taxi and drive perhaps 10 minutes to the M of Discoveries. My advice take the taxi. We left Lisbon on time to sail to Guernsey, beautiful evening. All of the 'Sail Aways' except Southampton we left late so the Sail Away party was a flop! Back to Lisbon, after we had been sailing for about 2 hours the Captain announced that a passenger was ill and that the ship was going to have to turn back to Lisbon. We sailed back waited for the ambulance boat and it was similar to a fishing boat, I would not have to be lifted off the ship and sailed back to the shore in a oversized dingy. Forget the helicopter, if you think you need 999 then do it before you embark! We waited nearly 2 hours for this to happen. Then we sailed. The captain then had to attempt to make up the time 6 hours in heavy seas. At 8.00am all was going well so we thought. Then at around 11.00 am the Captain announced that Guernsey was off due to lack of time. Many people were annoyed especially as they were not allowed to spend in the duty free shops. Why did he not inform people earlier? He went on AND on about the fact that it was beyond his control. We gather from his tone that many people had complained to him. OK but did he have to announce that he was the Captain and that on his ship 'HE WAS GOD' come on Captain, I accept you have a very important job but with all respect you are NOT GOD! Just to say sorry to disappoint everyone would have done. Buy the way nothing as yet from P & O. One lady had tried 3 previous cruises with P & O and all had failed to dock in Guernsey. When we looked into the figures it is almost impossible to sail from Lisbon to Guernsey get everyone off the ship into small boats and do the tours. One other passenger packed her bags when she heard and stayed in her cabin! Yes Guernsey was a pain but to Azura's credit ie the entertainment team especially Ailene ( Wonderful talented lady ) gave us extra shows so we made the best of it. Disembarkation a pain. We did leave on our allocated time 10.15am by the time we got to the baggage claim we were then in a long line for the taxis. Due to the poor design of the taxi rank only 2 taxis can take on passengers, it just needs a few line painted and it would allow at least 1 extra taxi. We then took 55 minutes to get to the main road. Nightmare road design. If you get 2 ships in then there is only a single road to get out of the port. We live 20 minutes from Southampton but it took us 2 hours to get off the ship and get home! Glad we were not taking a flight home! Would we sail with P & O again, yes. Sailed with NCL 3 times the no flight is wonderful. Thanks to Tamesh, Sylvia and Rose ( waiters ) and Ailene, good luck. PS Booze is very cheap. Lots of people took a bottle each of whiskey etc in their baggage we also saw many people after their tours arrive back with bottles and they did not have to check them in until the end of the cruise. We bought the wine package 'Commodre' good value. You can take the wine to the bar areas BUT you have to tell the wine waiter in the restaurants to arrange this   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Yesterday I arrived home from my first ever cruise, I couldn't have been more sad to leave, not only was this my first cruise, but it was my first 'big' family holiday, which made it all the better. Everything about the ... Read More
Yesterday I arrived home from my first ever cruise, I couldn't have been more sad to leave, not only was this my first cruise, but it was my first 'big' family holiday, which made it all the better. Everything about the cruise was perfect, I do not have one complaint, the service and looking after you will receive is outstanding. Dinner especially was one of my personal favourite times, you are given your table which you will sit at every night, with your two allocated waiters, who are also outstanding.  Rocky and Alfredo were my table waiters, they were extremely kind and attentive, but also funny and made the time even more enjoyable. You'll be given a drinks waiter too, ours was Elvis. And, if your like me and have special dietary requirements etc. someone who specialises in this, will give you the menu for the following night each night, so you can order early and they have time to discuss with the chef if there is any ..(for me I have a nut allergy) in your chosen meal. The food is amazing, I enjoyed my dinner every night, there were so many amazing choices to chose from it was great! The entertainment in the evening it brilliant, you have lots of choices, there are many bars, for eg. There is a bar called carmens, which there is a show preformed every evening, (but there's also a theatre which is brilliant if you want a proper sit down show), there is a bar called champions, which is a sports bar and since the World Cup was on when we were there, we Spent a fair amount of time in there, there's a bar called Masquerades, which is like your after hours 'night club' if you like, no one under the age of 18 is allowed in after midnight. There's also many others, some that are quieter or more formal, but we didn't visit them often, for no reason other than personal preference! If you go with kids, Aurora is great too, the have a kids club on during the day, everyday, called Jumping jacks, this is for 5-8 year olds I believe but there lots of clubs for lots of ages (including a teen club), but my little cousins loved jumping jacks, then at night time each night they do a 'slumber party' where the kids go in the pjs and watch movies etc, and can stay until 11pm (but like I said there's lots of different clubs that will have different times). The off ship days are of course amazing append will be different for everyone that goes so I won't go into much detail about that. But personally our family really loved the on ship days, there are three main pool ares, the crystal pool (which a roof can be closed on, on days the weather may not be great), the riviera pool, and the terrace pool which is located right on the back of the boat and is were the sail away party's are located. Our family stayed in the crystal pool for the majority, not because the weather was bad, although a couple of days it wasn't great, but on the 35 degree heat days we stayed there too, because the roof was off. All pools are great family pools and also have hottubs in crystal and riviera, which are lovely! You have food served basically all day in the main restaurant, that's were you tend to have your breakfast and lunch, unless you book to go somewhere else, like Marco Piere Whites which we had lunch in for a special occasion. There is also a spa on board that is supposed to be amazing we didn't visit it, for no reason other than we were too busy doing other things! There is lots of lovely shops to visit, they open around 5pm ish, you have clothing stores, makeup stores, perfume, jewellery (especially high end watches), then a kind of general needs store you could say, which sells toiletries, meds and sweets! Your rooms will be lovely and clean no matter which type, we had a bath/shower balcony room, but my cousins had a room without a balcony that was very large space wise and all rooms are cleaned to the highest standard, you will also have your own cabin steward, who visits your room twice a day, once in the morning before 12pm, to make your bed and give you clean towels etc, and once in the evening when you have gone to dinner, to roll down your bed, and removed the towels you have used. Both embarkation and disembarkation are very fast and simple, a lot easier than flying. OVERALL, this is the most perfect holiday, for ALL ages, I will keep the memories of it forever, it is an experience not to be missed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Having read disparaging reviews of the age of the ship, I was expecting to see evidence of that, and to find non-functioning ameneties. All were satisfactory. The quality of the cruise exceeded expectations as far as the ship and its ... Read More
Having read disparaging reviews of the age of the ship, I was expecting to see evidence of that, and to find non-functioning ameneties. All were satisfactory. The quality of the cruise exceeded expectations as far as the ship and its facilities are concerned. There are grounds for criticism. The range and quality of evening entertainment was poor. Two resident entertainments, Cool Blue - musicians, and Lyn Fredrick – music and song, were most disappointing. A brilliant band, Calypso, was replaced after a few days with another band, Caravan. The latter would have been very good but for the lead singer. In the various bars, each entertainer takes a 15 minute break every 45 minutes. During the break CDs are played – at a volume which your dog might possibly hear, but you won’t. People exit en masse. If you enjoy sirloin steak, eat it when you go ashore. Your jaws will hate you for it if you choose it on the Aurora. There is a bar/lounge called Masquerade. This is the most dreary, ill-designed room I can imagine. WIFI is rediculously expensive. BUT there are many more excellent features which made this an enjoyable cruise. Here is a list of some of them. CHECK-IN. From arrival of taxi to sitting on Lido deck – 20 minutes. SERVICE. First class in every aspect – Reception; cabin steward; restaurants (all of them); bars; room service (on shore-excursion morning woken by requested ship’s wake-up call and received tray of pre-ordered food and drink 15 minutes later: brilliant; ENTERTAINMENT (except that above). The Horizon magazine showing the day’s activities is first-rate. The Entertainment Director Jon Bartram is superb, as are the Headliners guys and gals who were tremendous, and their choreography and stage management were superlative. There were many daytime activities: I joined in the cricket and nearly crippled myself. The Dance Instructors Roger and Ann are excellent. Some Jazz would have been welcome! CABIN. Had an inside cabin and it had all the facilities one could expect. The kettle and provisions were a boon. FOOD. Masses of it. Menus were varied and adequate portions of decently prepared ingerediants were provided. Give the sirloin steak a miss! Silver service is still provided on the Aurora, surprisingly. The Alexandria is a very pleasant restaurant with sea views. There is a comprehensive choice of wine and the wine service was very good. For celebrations you have to pay for a cake, but the staff decorate your area with ballons, and a large group of waiters makes it special when they gather around the table and enthusiastically sing to you. We were blessed with terrific weather on a very stable medium-sized ship which we enjoyed very much. If there were any who did not enjoy the cruise, we did not see them. P & O did a lot right. We will go with them again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
We were so looking forward to our cruise with P&O especially as we were informed we were upgraded to a mini suite. The mini suite was magnificent a and had everything you could wish for in a stateroom. Unfortunately our cabin steward ... Read More
We were so looking forward to our cruise with P&O especially as we were informed we were upgraded to a mini suite. The mini suite was magnificent a and had everything you could wish for in a stateroom. Unfortunately our cabin steward did not clean the cabin well. I noticed the whb was grimy and I cleaned it myself. In the 14 days that followed the steward dried the whb but did not clean them. Used coffee cups were not cleaned properly. We found the food very ordinary and the service perfunctory. The exception to this was the staff who served our evening meal and the wine waitress. I had to stop ordering poached eggs as they were inevitably very underdone. we were regularly served stale toast. At breakfast the staff gave little time to look at the menu, the food was quickly served and the staff retreated to a server to continue their conversations which we had clearly interrupted. There was no sign of any supervision. The captain in his welcoming address clearly told us to tell them of any problems and not tell cruise critic. After a couple of days I decided to do just this and went to the reception and asked for a feed back form,. I was told I would have to wait until the end of the cruise for this. Someone should tell the Captain. I filled in the feedback form at the end of the cruise and detailed our experiences. I received a reply saying they were delighted I had loved the experience.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
I have sailed on P&O's Arcadia and Ventura and cruised with RCI,NCL, Cunard and Thomson. This cruise was a complete let down when compared to all of the other cruises I have been on. The food selection and quality is poor and the ... Read More
I have sailed on P&O's Arcadia and Ventura and cruised with RCI,NCL, Cunard and Thomson. This cruise was a complete let down when compared to all of the other cruises I have been on. The food selection and quality is poor and the organisation in the Orangery buffet restaurant was chaotic. We paid £12 each extra for the Pennant Grill (which is basically part of the outside deck of the buffet restaurant, with tablecloths). The food was ok but if you wanted certain menu items such as steak or strawberries you had to pay an extra £3 to £5 per item on top. The food wasn't even worth the extra money and I have eaten better in some of the main restaurants on other cruise lines. The ship is a smaller older ship, which we knew when we booked the cruise but there seems to be no atmosphere. The staff have to be the worst I have ever experienced. They seem miserable and uninterested and at times I felt like I was putting them out. I don't want to be waited on hand and foot but I have had better service in McDonalds. The only staff member who was pleasant and helpful was our Cabin Steward 'Glenn'. I was really glad this was only a 2 day cruise, I wouldn't like to spend any longer on this ship (perhaps the staff feel the same way and that is why they are so miserable). I feel very let down by this cruise, I traveled with 6 others experiencing their first cruise and feel I have let them down and should have suggested a different cruise. Save your money and precious holiday time and choose a different ship or cruiseline. P&O you need to sort things out on this ship, the standards aren't acceptable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
I have never used P&O before, having had great cruises in the past with Royal Caribbean. The Aurora was truly shocking 1/ The mainly-Indian staff simply could not care less, were surly, never smiled, and it felt to me like everything ... Read More
I have never used P&O before, having had great cruises in the past with Royal Caribbean. The Aurora was truly shocking 1/ The mainly-Indian staff simply could not care less, were surly, never smiled, and it felt to me like everything was just a bit too much trouble. 2/ The officers considered the passengers to be a nuisance and would sit by themselves and studiously ignore us. Not once did a ships officer even acknowledge my existence, let alone say hello or smile. 3/ The food was utterly appalling! - I mean, like something from the 1980's! The Orangery restaurant was like a motorway service station, except that the food was actually worse. Fresh fruit was bruised an completely inedible, the Salad's were lacklustre, the hot food worse than I was dished-up at the school canteen. Meals in the Formal restaurants sounded great on the menu, but what was delivered to my table actually made me laugh out loud several times. I'm not a fussy eater, but had to pretend that I did not have a hearty appetite and always only ate a few mouthfuls, to avoid offending my table-waiters, who actually were OK. The truth is that the Steak could be eaten (too tough), the Beef next night was equally cheap and sinewy, the vegetables were so overcooked that they had lost the colour of proper food. Oh the cheese board! - what a joke! - every night the same cheap, "Aldi" cheese was offered as if it was some fantastic cuisine. The only crew member I would rate is 'Carol' from the entertainment staff who was everywhere and worked so hard. Put her in charge, and dear god, replace the entire top tier of Officers, and start firing the useless waiters so the remaining staff begin to actually care about service. I'm furious, I wasted my time and money on this disgrace of a cruise ship. I can't explain my anger enough except to describe it this way: If P&O contacted me and offered a replacement cruise on the Aurora, in a Suite, somewhere fabulous, I would turn down the free tickets because I could not face that ship and those surly people again. Life is too short to spend time in the company of unpleasant idiots, and the Aurora people are exactly that. If P&O read this, my cabin guy was OK, my table waiters tried their best and Carol is a gem. Fire the rest.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
Aurora was the smallest cruise liner I’d sailed on for quite some time so I was somewhat apprehensive & fully aware I’d end up comparing it to relative giants such as IotS, Azura & Ventura. I needed not worry, our embarkation ... Read More
Aurora was the smallest cruise liner I’d sailed on for quite some time so I was somewhat apprehensive & fully aware I’d end up comparing it to relative giants such as IotS, Azura & Ventura. I needed not worry, our embarkation in Southampton was far quicker than the last time we boarded Ventura. I was somewhat annoyed we sailed whilst the muster drill was ongoing, I overheard numerous other passengers complaining about this also. It spoils one of the most exciting parts of the holiday and although I’m aware of the European cruiselines routinely doing this, I was disappointed to come out of our muster point to find aurora already 100 yards off her berth. A few other points I’d made were that bar prices on the whole are okay, comparable to average UK pub prices, staff on the whole are pleasant & our cabin steward + waiters in Alexandra were more than helpful. I wasn’t sure why they never opened the roof on the crystal dome? I found it a shame considering the good weather we had. The ship has a lot of nooks & crannies which I found quite endearing. Little spots here and there where you can grab a sunbed or a quiet drink. Andersons is as nice a bar as I’ve seen on any ship, the Crows Nest is also good and very few areas on the ship give you the idea that you are on a relatively old member of the fleet. Lunches in the restaurant [Medina] are a lot better some days than others. I found the Orangery to be hit & miss although it was an improvement to the Buffet offerings on Ventura & Azura in my opinion. Seating was plentiful and the alternative Sidewalk Café makes a pleasant change too. On the few occasions we ordered room service it took 50 minutes to arrive, not ideal. We found it better on port days to order breakfast in bed as it gave us extra time to get the children ready but had to abandon this plan near the end of the holiday after a fellow guest started removing our order off our cabin door… thanks for that. I felt the quality of food overall was good. Onto more on our fellow passengers, having witnessed plenty of questionable & rude behaviour from cruise goers over the years I was fearing the worst taking a young family on a ship that was likely to be full of a largely older crowd. I’d need not worry; the way fellow passengers (especially those who were older) constantly reacted to our kids was refreshing and heart warming. If I could get the right deal I wouldn’t hesitate going back onboard Aurora.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
We have just returned from our first cruise from Cape Town to Southampton, and to be honest this was one of the most regrettable choices that we could have made. To list all the disappointing items would be a mammoth task, but here goes ... Read More
We have just returned from our first cruise from Cape Town to Southampton, and to be honest this was one of the most regrettable choices that we could have made. To list all the disappointing items would be a mammoth task, but here goes for the main ones: The food in the Medina restaurant was awful, our first meal of roast pork was inedible and quickly convinced us to try the Cafe Bordeaux the next day. We checked the Medina menu each day, and realized that the choice of food was basically very poor British type 1980 pub food. The alternative, cafe Bordeaux was not much better and this at a premium of Pound 9.50 per person preposterous. Food rarely reached the table hot, was certainly not fine dining, desserts were the same as those found in the Orangery. Coffee was worse than our nescafe in our cabin. In order to have a half decent cup of coffee we had to pay Pound 2.20 for a cup of Costa The entertainment aboard the ship from Cape Town was very limited, listening to an athletic champion of 1988 in 2014 was very poor to say the least. Discussion on the Big Five or the sonnets of Shakespeare became quickly the best way for afternoon naps. The captain was often funnier than the comedians. My partner tried watercolor lessons, but a 45 minute (contract from P&O) for over 40 people was a total waste of time if one was there to learn something. Line dancing, Bridge, cha cha cha, along with poor food, awful and expensive shore visits seemed to be a very expensive first time cruise holiday, which we will clearly not do again. Luckily we had paid for and received a good cabin with an excellent steward that enabled us to spend a great deal of time playing solitaire, reading and longing for home cooking and finally being able to leave the ship. ( I dread to think what the passengers that have basic inside cabins without a balcony could be doing ) We will add this letter to the growing dissatisfied P&O forums, so really do suggest that you listen to the complaints, maybe invite Marco Pierre White to take the ship more often, maybe incognito? Finally having to pay 30 Pound for 100 minutes of internet time is the biggest rip off of the century, back in Southampton there is free WiFi on a local bus!!!. And in most hotels and guesthouses.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
We found getting on and off the ship easy and stress free. This was our first cruise and therefore we were uncertain was to expect. Whilst the ship's facilities were positive and the activity schedule appeared to cater for various ... Read More
We found getting on and off the ship easy and stress free. This was our first cruise and therefore we were uncertain was to expect. Whilst the ship's facilities were positive and the activity schedule appeared to cater for various entertainment options, I did find initially there was a lack of information, I felt as if I could do with a mini guide to cruising to help when I initially got on the ship. Day's 2 and 3 were better as we then had a newspaper that listed activities. In regard to food, unfortunately, I was generally disappointed. We were on second sitting, which meant that we were eating at 8.30pm, we arrived at 8.26pm on the first evening to be turned away. The food lacked imagination and flare. It is very bulk standard as was the service. They clearly wanted to rush us, so they could finish work, which was not create a pleasant experience. On the third night, I upgraded to a paid for restaurant, which was better, although still a long way from fine dining but the service was much improved. Our cabin was clean and adequate and our cabin assistant, helpful and friendly as were the staff in the casino and those taking photos, in the cinema and reception. The staff that unfortunately let the side down were the bar and catering team. Generally, overall I enjoyed the experience but for us, now we have been once, we would be more informed of what may suit us moving forward and will try a different cruise line in order to compare. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
I am afraid I have to join other reviews in criticising Aurora, this was our fourth cruise on this ship and we noticed a drop in standards since the last cruise at Christmas 2012. Luckily Captain Turnbull remained the same, just as funny ... Read More
I am afraid I have to join other reviews in criticising Aurora, this was our fourth cruise on this ship and we noticed a drop in standards since the last cruise at Christmas 2012. Luckily Captain Turnbull remained the same, just as funny and entertaining as ever, but the entertainment officer was not the usual standard. Our problems started with the flight from Manchester to Cape Town with a connection at Dubai making it a 24 hour journey to our destination and along with delays made it 28 hours! We were not offered a direct flight and in our naivety we thought a few hours at Dubai airport would be interesting as we had watched a programme about it on television. In the outcome we had to hurry through the airport to catch the onward flight to Cape Town and we had a shock to find we had another 10 hour flight from there. I'm sorry to say but I feel that were to blame for not making us aware of this at the time of booking, in fact when I asked we were told it was an 11 hour flight! After this bad experience we had booked at the Hilton Hotel in Cape Town , which was excellent, for three days but because of the ordeal it turned out that we really only had a full day for sightseeing. I think because of the stress of the journey it contributed to my husband being quite ill and having to see the doctor on the ship on our 2nd day at sea. This led to us cancelling our tour in Luderitz which was expensive so with the medical bill this cost us £240 for which we only managed to reclaim £50 on our insurance. When we joined the ship we felt at once that everyone seemed tired since this was the last leg of the World Cruise. Although it was expensive we felt it would be nice to visit ports in the West of Africa but the two stops in Namibia were very disappointing and we had great expectations of the Cape Verde Islands but we found St Vincent also quite dismal then with a further 3 days at sea to Lisbon the only bright light on the cruise as far as ports were concerned. The days at sea were very relaxing and we enjoy time spent in the Crows Nest playing our game of 'upwords', I can understand people complaining about lack of daytime activities but that is not a problem for us. We did feel a bit as if we were getting the tail end of entertainment as some of the shows were in the afternoon but generally we enjoyed the experience. The entertainment crew did not circulate as much as on previous cruises and we put the Cruise Director to blame for this. Since Aurora boasts its own cinema this helped to fill the gap in the entertainment. The food was a bit of a lower standard that previously but we found it adequate and from past experience we did not try the Bordeaux restaurant. The cabin was kept immaculate by our cabin steward and he was always finished by the time we returned to the cabin either after breakfast or dinner. We are quite disappointed with fellow passengers who have complained about smoking on balconies as we feel that is not such a big problem but it seems that P&O have listened to them and stopped it. I feel that some people are too critical of everything but the minority have to suffer. We have never been on a balcony and heard anyone on an adjoining balcony in an evening and the smoke from my husbands pipe usually blows over the sea. For the first time in 10 years cruising we have returned from this cruise not wanting to book another cruise. We may try again in the future but perhaps with a different cruise line Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
Aurora is a medium-sized ship with a walk around prom deck and a horseshoe shaped back - very popular with many stalwart cruisers. What a pity that economic pressures dictate that some cruise lines, P&O included, must move to larger ... Read More
Aurora is a medium-sized ship with a walk around prom deck and a horseshoe shaped back - very popular with many stalwart cruisers. What a pity that economic pressures dictate that some cruise lines, P&O included, must move to larger ships which is what many of us don't want! Having been on Oriana only 2 weeks before this cruise, comparison is inevitable and, unfortunately, because she is due for her refit later this year, at the moment we would say we much preferred the interior of Oriana to Aurora. Our dining room was the Alexandria and this was pleasant enough. The Orangery always seemed busy and it was quite chilly sitting in there. When the doors opened to the deck outside then it was very draughty. Perhaps something could be done about this on the refit? Occasionally they ran out of mugs and teaspoons and it was often necessary to queue, particularly one night when it was a Best of British carvery. Masquerade is a rather dull and dismal room with a low ceiling, dark furniture and a small dance floor. I understand it is due for refurb at the refit. As it is, there was very little atmosphere for dancing. Apart from the last two nights it was CDs not live dance music and there was a well-meaning but slightly irritating host who added "ers" to all the dances, saying "Come on all you quicksteppers; foxtroters, waltzers, rumba one-ers, cha, cha, cha-ers" etc. There is a good sized cinema and adequate theatre. The air-con blasted out in the cinema and it really was quite cool. The stairwells were cold too. The weather for most of the cruise was quite hot and much better than expected but inside I think Aurora is the coldest ship I've been on. The pub was a bit dark and a funny shaped area, no way near as good as on Oriana. The chairs and layout were poor. Hope this will be changed at refit. After 3 cruises in 5 months with P&O I'm getting tired of seeing the same old watches, bracelets, jewellery, perfumes etc on sale in the shops. We didn't use the spa or buy any photographs and will not do so as long as they are so over-priced! The syndicate quiz was very popular but the house wine offered as the prize is an acquired taste! All in all the entertainment was acceptable - no-one really stood out except perhaps the retired police officer who gave excellent talks. Again, having travelled a few times with P&O recently, we had already seen some of the shows. The average age range of passengers was probably 65+ and many didn't seem interested in the sail-away parties. Poor Michael, the CD, was flogging a dead horse at times trying to get passengers to join in. At one sail-away which included sister ship Oriana, Aurora easily lost out in terms of enthusiasm. I can't quite put my finger on why but the entertainment team on Aurora didn't seem to sparkle as well as on Oriana. The highlights of the cruise were its excellent ports of call, with the possible exception of Catania in Sicily where the traffic stopped just short of actually running you over. Cadiz was much better than expected and it was a shame that the call to Gibraltar was only half a day and on a Sunday. Another highlight was the ship's Captain, Neil Turnbull, who could easily have a career as a comedian should he ever give up the sea. His briefings, talk and "audience with" were informative and funny. Our cabin, C275, was clean, comfortable and had adequate storage space. It was well kept by our friendly steward who did seem a little reluctant to allow us more than 6 little milks or give us a laundry bag! There was plenty of hot water at good pressure but there was a step up into the bath through quite a narrow opening. The balcony floor covering had splats of paint dried on it and looked a bit uncared for. Embarkation and disembarking were smooth and the one tour we took (in Corfu) was well organised. The food was good rather than excellent. I understand P&O are moving to plated meals, which is a shame, and to freedom dining, which is good. One way in which I feel they can economise is to do away with the tradition of giving out copies of the menus when you leave - I don't really need these. I hope both Oriana and Aurora are going to have a place in P&Os fleet for a long time to come as the size and design of them are great. I hope to sail on both again, Aurora after her refit though. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We have just returned from R 401 world cruise - Hong Kong to Southampton, 47 nights. I agree with others that the food varied from edible to diabolical in quality, and diabolical in quantity. We were in Medina, 2nd sitting. On lobster ... Read More
We have just returned from R 401 world cruise - Hong Kong to Southampton, 47 nights. I agree with others that the food varied from edible to diabolical in quality, and diabolical in quantity. We were in Medina, 2nd sitting. On lobster evenings, I was served lobster amounting to two mouthfulls. Lunches were worse. Crab Risotto had a few minute pieces of Crab Stick, not crab. Plaice, when removed from the batter, was no more than two small mouthfulls. The final straw was the 'sticky lemon chicken'. I had to look for the chicken. Eventually, from among the stir fries, I extracted 4 tiny pieces of chicken. I took a photograph for posterity, and then complained to the officer in charge. I was served more chicken (6 pieces), all with absolutely no sign of 'sticky lemon', which we enjoy at our local chinese restaurant. To sum up, decent food was the exception rather that the rule. We found the entertainment acceptable, although not brilliant. The best, who was outstandingly good, was Bruce Morrison, who did a show based on Les Miserables, given a standing ovation. I heard there were no more that 50 or so people in for the Shakespeare Lecture, and the athlete was worse. A point concerning the On Board Spending Money (OBS). If any passenger is on a loyalty discount of 7.5% or 10%, you are not given this discount on goods bought with OBS. So for every £100 of OBS, you are in fact only receiving £90 (if on the 10% rate). The talk amongst the passengers was of the 'cost cutting' going on in P&O, which seemed to be much more apparent since their previous cruise. P&O do not cater well for the world cruisers with the number of shows now more limited. to 5 or 6. There is too much repetition with the entertainment, and people stop going to the shows. Nicki Chapman & Sue Holderness were very good. I appeal to the new management at P&O to get things sorted out. If that means increasing prices a bit, then so be it. The amount of adverse criticism I have read does not surprise me. Cabin staff were excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation were good. Luggage collection was chaotic. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
We had 13 nights which was certainly enough. Our only other cruise was with Cunard and the difference is startling. The pressure to buy drinks, especially by the pool, was at times insolent. The food was standard British fare, plenty of ... Read More
We had 13 nights which was certainly enough. Our only other cruise was with Cunard and the difference is startling. The pressure to buy drinks, especially by the pool, was at times insolent. The food was standard British fare, plenty of potatoes, at least two different ways every meal, well that will fill you up. Chips everywhere. On this note, Marco Pierre White why did you lend your name to this poor excuse for an exclusive restaurant on board? With a stairwell coming out in the middle, people strolling past, and food no better than the main restaurants I cannot see why he did it. Most cruise ships have a signature restaurant which you make a booking for and pay extra and which you are happy to pay for as the food and service is special Not so here. This one was free except for a dinner surcharge and as such gave no special food or presentation. Menu read well but the presentation and cooking was ordinary. Please Marco review your involvement. The theatres were small and the entertainment was constantly suffled around to fit people kn if an act was popular. On a positive note the cabin, balcony, was excellent, great to have a bath and a good sized bathroom. Our cabin steward did his job well. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
Please watch out for upgrade. The cabin we had chosen suited us but we were upgraded without our consent. The cabins that are avoided by the informed include the noisiest. From joggers allowed from 4 am jumping on the roof to parties ... Read More
Please watch out for upgrade. The cabin we had chosen suited us but we were upgraded without our consent. The cabins that are avoided by the informed include the noisiest. From joggers allowed from 4 am jumping on the roof to parties raising the roof till midnight just outside the door is not conducive to sleep. It was hell for us for the thirty nights aboard. Not much use complaining because the staff from the top down live on another planet. Those who think the food is good do not know what fresh fruit and vegetables are. The room steward seemed to be the only person who knew about cleanliness. The Orangery staff wafted around grabbing plates before one was finished the excuse for food served. In the dining room the waiters did not use handkerchiefs etc. but the back of hands or sleeves which was a little off putting. There was always staff standing around doing little. On other ships the cleaning was much more thorough with stairs being cleaned regularly. The entertainment was limited, repetitive and not always interesting. We learnt our lesson and will head back to Princess or Cunard and leave the UK P&O to those who know no better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
Having previously cruised extensively with P&O we were very disappointed at the continual decline in what this company actually achieves whilst still promising a whole lot more. Every previous passenger without exception agreed that ... Read More
Having previously cruised extensively with P&O we were very disappointed at the continual decline in what this company actually achieves whilst still promising a whole lot more. Every previous passenger without exception agreed that P&O cut back on what they were offering or were now charging for what was previously a given. A little for instance, they still serve petit fours after a meal but they're not worth the time even eating, so poor is the offering. The food is at best adequate, nothing at all outstanding, the meat is fatty the fish dry and the veggies laughable. Many of the crew and officers have been quite candid in agreeing that standards and quality has diminished, unfortunately the price hasn't !!! It's as if a smart Alec accountant has been through the ship and cut out or down any of the signature attractions P&O once had. This is not a cruise line that I would recommend to anyone expecting the "P&O ' experience, it's at best a 3 star offering, being promoted as a something more. The captain and the cruise Director both invited comment before we all left to comment on Cruise critic but the fact is neither is really interested or able to do anything positive. It's all a big sell. The cruise director was thought by many to be somewhat churlish in his attitude, which I am in full agreement with. Unfortunately he also thought he should treat the passengers like children too. My comment ?? Wake up P&O and start delivering what you are promising Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
Good food , excellent service, comfortable cabin . So why let yourselves down on relatively small items that spoil the cruise. Why ask for table preference and give the opposite to that requested I've been on P&O cruises many ... Read More
Good food , excellent service, comfortable cabin . So why let yourselves down on relatively small items that spoil the cruise. Why ask for table preference and give the opposite to that requested I've been on P&O cruises many times and it always happens. You ask for a table for either two or six and are given one of either four or eight and have to fight to get near what you want. Wi Fi is stupidly expensive and doesn't take into account how long it takes to send an EM . An insult to the cruiser . Go to the cyber room and hear the complaints! No assistance except embarkation and disembarkation to cover the yardage from gangway to coaches and taxis so you have to remain on board.no help from tour office except to purchase an electric chair! Poor exchange rates and expensive shops and drinks. Seems to me the company is being run by an accountant with no sales knowledge. 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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