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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was probably the least enjoyable of our 17 cruises with P&O (6th on Aurora), but I should stress that the majority of this was not down to P&O. We did the Northern Lights Cruise during the same 2 weeks last year (also on ... Read More
This was probably the least enjoyable of our 17 cruises with P&O (6th on Aurora), but I should stress that the majority of this was not down to P&O. We did the Northern Lights Cruise during the same 2 weeks last year (also on Aurora) and had a spectacular display of the Northern Lights over two nights, with a weaker display on a third night. This year we had almost permanent cloud cover and on the two ocassions that we saw the Northern Lights they were incredibly weak. If last year was a 9 out of 10 display, this year was 1 out of 10. We also had fog (with the dreaded fog horn disiturbing sleep a few nights) and rough seas, with a lot of sudden lurching, for 24 hours on the return which became tiresome. Other than the 24 hours mentioned, Aurora rode the seas very well. As a point of interest, Viking Sky (the ship that ran into difficulties) arrived in Alta on our second day there and followed us back down the Norwegian coast a few days later. Last year we stopped in Tromso on the way to Alta, which was a lovely place and we really enjoyed our visit there. This year we made a maiden call (for P&O) to Narvik, which was a very poor replacement. Nothing much to see in the town. I also had a bad experience with a P&O tour. I had booked a snowmobile tour at £310 and it was stressed that the price was per snowmobile, not per person, so if you went as a couple you shared the snowmobile and the driving (and paid £310 between you), whereas if you went alone, you paid £310 but had sole use. At the snowmobile centre they tried to force me to share a snowmobile with another passenger when we had both paid £310 each. Naturally I refused, but it was a battle and spoiled the experience. Also the Snowmobiling was supposed to be ‘in mountains and places inaccessible by foot’ but was back and forth across a frozen lake. This was the same as I had done the previous year in Alta for around £100 less. The tour was also advertised as providing the history of the Narvik to Sweden railway line and its role in the Second World War. This didn’t happen either. Worst of all, my complaint about these issues back on board was handled very badly. They preferred to believe the word of the tour agent (who was naturally covering their back) than a customer of some 23 years standing. Very naive and short sighted of them, as we have now decided to do far fewer P&O tours on future cruises as a result. The scenery along the Fjords and ashore is fantastic. We had seen much of it last year, so didn’t quite get the ‘wow factor’ that passengers seeing it for the first time would have experienced, but it was lovely none the less. Temperatures were fine. Just like a cold U.K. winter. Most of the time it was within a few degrees of freezing, with the coldest we had around minus 7 degrees. Last year it was minus 15 to 20 degrees, so much colder. In spite of it not being that cold, the staff decided to keep the very heavy fire doors to the cabin corridors closed on all decks. Whilst this was needed below deck 7 (which is all they did last year, even when it was MUCH colder), this year they decided to do it on ALL decks. This just wasn’t necessary as the areas around the lift areas between decks 8 and 11 were incredibly hot and there would have been far better temperature dissipation with the doors open. We fed this back on the ‘First Impressions’ form and, thankfully, they kept the door outside our cabin open thereafter (my wife is a wheelchair user and, in addition to the door not needing to be closed, it made access to and from our accessible cabin very difficult). Service in the Medina Restaurant was absolutely superb. Well, to clarify, it was superb as far as the waiters and managers were concerned. The wine waiters were poor. Difficult to get hold of and one was actually quite rude. Food was perfectly acceptable, but not quite as good as on our previous cruises on Aurora. One disappointment (noted by many) was the absence of lobster from the Marco Pierre White menu. The current chefs seem to think that us Brits are scared of anything remotely spicy, so tone everything down to mild, bordering on bland. Great shame, as we loved trying all the tasty curries at lunchtime years ago. The Glasshouse and Beach House were great (as always) and whilst the Sindhu Restaurant on Aurora is our least favourite Sindhu in the fleet, we enjoyed Tiffin lunch in there. We met some lovely fellow passengers (including some we had met on previous cruises, which was fantastic) and enjoyed some pleasant chats. The average age of passengers on Aurora is usually mid 70’s (they didn’t quote a figure this time but last year the Captain mentioned the average age was 73) and although we are a few decades younger, this suits us. We aren’t fans of P&O’s ‘1960’s holiday camp’ style of entertainment so tend to avoid much of it, but the Headliners troupe on this cruise were very good (we find that they vary enormously from very good to poor), but sadly left after this cruise. Electra (two female violinists) were absolutely superb. Jane Davey (presenter) was very confident and engaging, but we found that her desire to find a wise crack in almost every line became irritating and diluted the substance matter so much that we lost interest. Stuart St Paul (former stuntman and film director) gave some fairly interesting talks, but was rather full of himself. The Port Presenter (Sam) was very good, other than the Butlins style “if you have been to Norway before, shout ‘whoop whoop’ additions. Dear God, when will P&O wake up to the fact that it’s now the 21st Century! When we disembarked, there were 1,000 workmen waiting to embark to assist with Aurora’s refit in Brest, France. A total of 1,800 workmen will toil over the next fortnight to bring her a little more up to date. We are back on board next month, so will play ‘spot the difference’. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This cruise was part of a package deal offered by our travel agent. While the first part of our trip (bus trip) lived up to and actually exceeded our expectations we were disappointed with the cruise. The food overall was terrible with ... Read More
This cruise was part of a package deal offered by our travel agent. While the first part of our trip (bus trip) lived up to and actually exceeded our expectations we were disappointed with the cruise. The food overall was terrible with the vegies, what there were, being so overcooked and mushy, the salads very lacking, dried out and not pleasant. The cut fruit we so yearned for at breakfast appeared to have been prepared the night before and left uncovered in a cool room. It was so dried out and the worst we have ever had on a cruse. This was in the main dining room so very disappointing. If you just wanted meat on this cruise this would be the cruise for you but we also enjoy our salads, vegies and fruit so for us this was a huge disappointment. In saying that the steak appeared more stewed than grilled which was also disappointing. Not happy at all with the food. We also had to battle for about 5 days to have our onboard credit credited to our account. It was only that there were 31 in our party and most had this problem that we feel they eventually addressed it and sorted the problem for us. While it was just my husband and myself battling to have our account sorted they were not very helpful. The front desk staff tried to help but appeared to be being blocked by their seniors who they turned to for help to solve our problem. It was only after the majority of our party realised their onboard credit was incorrect and started flooding reception with queries that they agreed to help us instead of trying to push the problem back onto us to resolve ourselves. Our cabin was lovely. Our cabin attendant was great and always had our cabin cleaned to a very high standard. It was well laid out and spacious enough for us. It had lots of cupboards and wardrobe room. Very nice. The onboard activities, while plentiful and varied, overlapped a lot leaving us not able to attend some we really wanted to as they always clashed with others. Better programming of these activities would be good. We noticed the wait staff were not as friendly and welcoming as on other ships. While they did what was required of them, albeit it sometimes very slowly, many appeared very tired and worn out and we got the impression they were overworked. Some really appeared to struggle with tiredness. Not sure on our experience with this cruise we would seek out another P & O cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose this cruise to be with friends and living locally departure was convenient from the port of Southampton. Only second time on P&O and was hoping for a better experience but let down firstly by poor administration and secondly by ... Read More
Chose this cruise to be with friends and living locally departure was convenient from the port of Southampton. Only second time on P&O and was hoping for a better experience but let down firstly by poor administration and secondly by our two experiences in the main dining room. We were only a group of three in two different staterooms. When we made our reservations were promised dining together but on ship the Maitre D,s did not appear to be able to carry out such a simple exercise. We did eventually get a joint table by having met a senior management officer and discussing the problem with her, but by that time we had made the decision to eat in the Glasshouse Bar/Restaurant. The Glasshouse was totally different, a wide selection of dishes, all of good quality and presented with a flair. The team lead by A-Jay provided excellent service. Wine selection and Cocktails were better than a four star hotel. Stateroom, and outside single was snug and kept clean by the steward. It did however require a bit of TLC. Generally however the ship,s public areas seemed clean and looked after. Entertainment and activities are not our thing so no real comment except to say the pianist who played in various public areas seemed to have a rather monotonous itinery. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Longer than usual 7 night cruise and gave more time to settle in. the scenery was fantastic. The weather was warm unusually. But Norway is very expensive for everything. A man’s belt was £50. Way more than the UK. A railway journey ... Read More
Longer than usual 7 night cruise and gave more time to settle in. the scenery was fantastic. The weather was warm unusually. But Norway is very expensive for everything. A man’s belt was £50. Way more than the UK. A railway journey listed as spectacular, forgot name, was terribly noisy. Cost about £50 and more booked via ship. Not worth it. Did not find it good as packed out and with the dreadful screeching noise of the tracks was unbearable. Pleased to get off. A snack out was so expensive I either made rolls at breakfast time or I collected rolls from the breakfast area made up. Ship excursions are very expensive and rarely worth it. Better to soak up local atmosphere at each port. Norwegians mostly spoke good English and were charming. The food on P and O has gone downhill. Silver service a few years ago but preplated now. Portions very small. One potato! Ask for more and you get a truckload to embarrass you to not ask again. Bad! I would never travel with this cruise line again. Been on Aurora twice and Arcadia. Warning. If you like you balcony doors open Arcadia’s are not sliding and you have to wedge a coffee table in the gap to get some fresh air. That’s it! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary and we thought we would try a no fly cruise, never again! Too slow and frustrating. There was apparently damage to the prop shaft thrust bearing so we had to lose a day to Cannes, with ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary and we thought we would try a no fly cruise, never again! Too slow and frustrating. There was apparently damage to the prop shaft thrust bearing so we had to lose a day to Cannes, with a stop over in Barcelona whilst a team repaired the said part, it meant an extra sea day with no additional activities laid on to make up for this. I found the staff on the whole to be very good, our room attendant Jesroy was courteous and meticulous. However some of the dining staff need to learn not be be condescending, I even felt the dining room manager during afternoon tea sneer at me as I asked for gluten free and onion free because of allergy and intolerance to these food stuffs - you would have thought I asked for the earth - I felt like I was an inconvenience. The general age of the clientele appeared to be of the older population which made the music choices and entertainment be for their tastes, whilst it was good, it did not reflect my need - so perhaps this is not the liner for me - I need one that appeals to younger people. The line is obviously well suited to disabled and those with additional needs as I noticed very good care and help of those who could not carry out their daily activities without help. The ship looks aging and in need of a refurbishment. I felt it did not represent value for money - drink packages are not available other than wine for dinner. This makes for a very expensive bill at the end of the cruise which is difficult to budget for. I am a little unhappy with the tipping/gratuities system, according to other passengers and other online sources there is a question as to whether some staff get enough of the tips and salary to be fair. It seems unless a department gets all excellents in the feedback the staff could get reduced payment - I do hope this is incorrect - as the pay for these jobs is low enough without the gratuities being cut from poor feedback which may not relate to how well they do the job but rather systems, or one individual. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because of the destinations on offer and to celebrate our ruby wedding anniversary. It is also a short drive to the port for us. Check in was quick and efficient. We had an interior cabin which was fine for our needs ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the destinations on offer and to celebrate our ruby wedding anniversary. It is also a short drive to the port for us. Check in was quick and efficient. We had an interior cabin which was fine for our needs apart from the location on A deck (too high especially on windy days) and too close to the bow. Our cabin steward was very good. I was disappointed in Aurora’s Atrium. It was very small compared to other ships I’ve been on. We chose freedom dining but only used it a few times for dinner. Breakfasts and lunches in the self serve restaurant were usually good. As the choices on offer for dinner in the formal restaurant were often not to our taste, we ate in the self service more often. However the meal themes were repeated far too often. For example Asian appeared three times. Only a few of the meals we ate in the formal restaurant were of good standard. Dry chicken and fish and tough steak were the worst. A lot of the meat in both venues was tough and poor quality. I’ve had better meals at our local Wetherspoons! Having to pay for ice creams was rather mean. Also Costa-lot coffee has been brought in forcing people to buy hot drinks and cakes. The cost of dining in the “special” restaurants wasn’t very transparent. They were omitted from all the promotional material. Very off putting. The single entertainment acts were good but were rolled out for two separate performances to pad out the entertainment schedule. There were no “well known” acts at all. Especially disappointing as I have been told by former passengers that people such as Brian Conley and Michael Ball have been booked in the past. The in house shows, apart from the dance themed one were absolutely dire. Poor singers and dancers, hammy “story led” shows with cringeworthy dialogue and acting to match. I personally hate these types of shows. Some of the costumes looked cheap too. They also had a strong American bias. This was worst in the show tribute to BRITISH service men and women which featured singers and dancers in American GI uniforms. So disrespectful. The production team should hang their heads in shame. We could not fault the staff in both restaurants. They were first class. The reception staff were not so good. The one excursion we booked was the highlight of the cruise. A trip to Krka National Park to see the beautiful waterfalls. However because of the over cautious description of the trip, many people were put off. The “1 1/2 hr walk over rough terrain” as described was actually an easy 45 min to one hour stroll over mostly flat boardwalks. The description mentioned 200 steps. There were 50-60 at most. We enjoyed all the ports of call, especially Croatia. What we were annoyed about was the hidden charges for shuttle buses in some ports. £5 per person each way. We were not told about these before the start of the cruise. Having to pay a “minimal” fee of £7 per session for yoga and Pilates was disappointing so I didn’t go to them. £7 is not minimal to me. The show business presentations by Ken Joy were brilliant. We also met some lovely people. Finding our cases in the luggage was difficult because they were all spread out and not placed together. I doubt if we would choose P and O again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose P and O/Aurora on this occasion due to the destinations offered and the convenience of a UK to UK round-trip. Aurora is well proportioned,smart and generally clean,but certainly shows her age. P and O is cruising aimed wholly ... Read More
We chose P and O/Aurora on this occasion due to the destinations offered and the convenience of a UK to UK round-trip. Aurora is well proportioned,smart and generally clean,but certainly shows her age. P and O is cruising aimed wholly at UK customers, with tilts toward tradition and home spun culture which span restauration, on- board media, entertainments,announcements and excursions. We booked a de-luxe balcony which was well sized and adequately provided with storage. The table-top TV and the hairdryer were antiquated and the sofa was lacking any upholstery, with torn cushions.The bathroom was well designed, but old-fashioned with wall panels which groaned loudly on bad sea nights.The constant aircon fans were sometimes difficult to avoid.The only perk our cabin type benefiited from was an atlas which turned out to be older than the ship and contained not a single map of the whole Mediterranean Sea!Our invisible steward was superb at keeping things spic and span. We chose Freedom Dining and eat pretty well exclusively in the Medina restaurant. We alternated between mixing and sitting alone and took whatever seating was available.Some people claimed always to sit at the same table, but we could not be bothered to find out how that worked.The choice of food was good at breakfast, adequate at lunch, but seriously disappointed in the evenings.Most evening main dishes turned out to be meat and two veg, despite exotic menu descriptions.All courses were served at speed,ready-plated and generally hot. Condiments were off limits as we found out when asking for vinaigrette dressing! We used the Horizon self -service little, due to the limited,unappetising buffet options,shortages of seating (on clean chairs) and general pandemonium. Many people aboard were suffering from colds and coughs and we contracted a version of these which we decided to treat with honey and brandy. The carefully selected brandy however was confiscated on return from shore because it 'contravened regulations'! An announcement on the last evening advised that more than half the next day's departing passengers were leaving Southampton by coach. It was evident throughout that there were some quite large groups aboard, who teamed up for many events and sometimes comandeered large swathes of the public rooms, but did not seek to engage outside their groups. For us the six sea-days to get to Gibralter and back was time badly spent, but the shore destinations were pleasing, even if the duration of stay was mostly quite limited. The staff were generally very courteous and a special mention of commendation for the incredibly patient people on the front desk. We concluded that the trip was rewarding for the ports of call, but that most of the rest was below standard, given the price. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
Arrived back from the Northern Lights trip on Aurora yesterday with mixed feelings. In general the holiday was very good and whilst I would certainly not criticise any of the staff on board I was disappointed with the ship. I know that ... Read More
Arrived back from the Northern Lights trip on Aurora yesterday with mixed feelings. In general the holiday was very good and whilst I would certainly not criticise any of the staff on board I was disappointed with the ship. I know that many people dislike the big ships, but for a tour like this where the outside decks were not particularly accessible for a lot of the time I found it claustrophobic. We were very relieved to have a balcony cabin. On the 12 night cruise there were several days when the outside decks were closed and even when they weren’t it was so cold and windy that it was quite unpleasant to spend much time outside. This put a lot of pressure on the inside areas. The entertainers were mostly pretty good, although a little predictable. As usual the Headliners put a lot of skill and effort into their performances but I found that the singers were trying too hard to sing loud, and should have focussed more on the tune and let the sound engineers make it louder. The speciality acts were also mostly enjoyable. The comedian early in the trip was funny, but had clearly been around for many years and some found his humour a bit tame. We enjoyed good performances by a singer trumpeter and violin player as well as the Brit Tones, although the latter should restrict the chat a bit. We didn’t get around to seeing the resident group, Caravan, until the last night and I regret that as they were excellent. We were on Freedom dining and had a table for two each night. Even so we met some very nice people on adjoining tables on many of the nights. The staff in the dining rooms were very pleasant and efficient as was our cabin steward. The first three of the four ports of call were all small places. In the first, Andalsnes, we had a trip to a skiing and climbing centre with the obligatory coffee and waffles. It became clear that no matter how bad the snow and cold the natives don’t let it bother them. We tourists were kitted out in our thermals but were met up in the mountains by the owner wearing a blouse and thin cardigan. We were most amused at the start of the trip when we all boarded the coach, only to be dropped off about 100 yards later at the Norwegian Mountaineering Centre. Tromsø was the next place and we just took the shuttle into tow and had a wander around. We had a glimpse of the Northern Lights but at this point I was a little underwhelmed as they just looked like slightly green clouds. The highlight of the trip was Alta where, on the first night, we saw a dazzling display of dancing lights from the ship. The temperature was around minus 17 but the thermals coped pretty well. I managed to get some not-bad pictures using an app on my iPhone but as someone had mentioned you need to spend time watching as well as taking pictures. The last stop was Stavanger where we had been several rimes before, so we decided to redo the Pulpit Rock boat trip. Unfortunately the weather was pretty appalling and we could only just see the rock. During the whole cruise we had about 3 days and nights when the winds got up to force 10/11 (maximum is 12). In spite of that I did not feel at all I’ll, but sleeping was almost impossible. Without wishing to sound like a miserable old git, there were some things that were really disappointing. Whilst almost all the people we met were very friendly I was disgusted at the manners of some. 2 young people from the photography department gave a talk about snapping the Northern Lights. They were clearly a bit nervous but during a q&a session lots of people started leaving the theatre and it made it impossible to hear the questions and answers. As usual, it was the same after every show. I wonder what these people do that is so exiting it can’t wait a few minutes. I found the choice of guest speaker disappointing. Whilst probably very popular with people interested in the astronomical world, I found it rather dull. I expected that there may have been an alternative later in the cruise but he was the only one. The last complaint applies to most cruise ships and I’m thinking of starting a support group for people affected. Why on earth do cruise companies think that someone spending between £2000 and £10,000 want to steal some second hand coat hangers. I think we should all boycott ships that don’t have hangers with hooks !!! Seriously though, whilst I probably wouldn’t do a Winter trip to Norway again, and definitely wouldn’t go on Aurora, I’m glad I went and on the whole enjoyed the experience Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We like the Aurora for longer journeys having been on a world cruise on this ship. However were very disappointed with the entertainment on this South America Voyage. The majority of the acts - some good - were in the same vein ie songs ... Read More
We like the Aurora for longer journeys having been on a world cruise on this ship. However were very disappointed with the entertainment on this South America Voyage. The majority of the acts - some good - were in the same vein ie songs from the shows. We appreciate that it may be difficult and expensive to fly multiple acts long distances but perhaps P and O should take this into account when preparing these itineraries. The sailaways were poor - on one occasion the Ent. Manager was “shouting” to another ship! The Headliners shows were somewhat disappointing, most of which we has seen performed by other companies to a much better standard. Also the food is not up to past standard. The meals in the Sindhu and Glass House were very good. The staff are as always polite and always willing to help. Overall experience was average, we feel P and O need to take a better look at their clientele on these type of cruises. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We have traveled before with P&O and we have always been impressed with the entertainment, however this cruise we were left feeling ‘Is that it?’ Embarkation was slow, with us waiting an hour and a half, due to everyone ... Read More
We have traveled before with P&O and we have always been impressed with the entertainment, however this cruise we were left feeling ‘Is that it?’ Embarkation was slow, with us waiting an hour and a half, due to everyone arriving before their designated time. The food was brilliant as always, however, I felt some of the menu was repeated, almost as if they were trying to get rid of what they had left. I was also surprised by the amount of fish on the menu, not with sauces, just bland fish. Some of the ships layout was a bit odd, as to get to the Alexandria restaurant you had to go up to 7, go across the ship, and then come down again; otherwise the ship was nice, and the size was good compared to the amount of people onboard. The reception was very festive with decorations and a charming gingerbread village. The cabin staff were very friendly and they were always saying hello as you came out of your cabins. The entertainment was a different story, while the shows were enjoyable, some of the singers were a bit screechy and when they sang together (especially in that dreadful Michael Jackson rendition) it seemed they were trying to drown each other out and I think everybody in that theatre wanted to leave. I also felt that they were limited by the theatre size and as a result, they weren’t able to perform shows we had seen on other ships. The entertainment team did quizzes every night which we did partake in, but in the run up to Christmas, I don’t think anybody could do another “Guess that Christmas song” quiz. Continuing from that, on Christmas Day, the variety of things going on was very lacking, with nothing on apart from ‘Love Actually’ in the cinema. The Boxing Day panto was worth a watch, with it being very amusing in a car-crash type way. Unfortunately, our call to Amsterdam was cancelled and we were disappointed that there were no alternative arrangements in place after the previous time the ship was due to dock, it could not, similarly this happened the year before. Disembarkation was delayed as the gangways had disconnected; however this was beyond their control and they tried to correct it as quickly as possible. Overall, we would consider going again, but this is not a certainty. Read Less
Aurora Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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