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Sail Date: August 2019
Been 6 times now and this was up there with the rest of them. SHIP Been on the larger ones but Aurora is my favourite. Very attractive ship with lovely wide Promenade Deck and tiered aft. RESTAURANTS Medina and Horizon ... Read More
Been 6 times now and this was up there with the rest of them. SHIP Been on the larger ones but Aurora is my favourite. Very attractive ship with lovely wide Promenade Deck and tiered aft. RESTAURANTS Medina and Horizon restaurants were excellent as always. Great selection of food and always fresh and hot. Everyone smiled and welcomed guests in and out. Where we had to wait for a table for two in the Meridian the wait was only 25 minutes max. Just enough time to pop to Andersons bar to enjoy a pint. We also paid £15 each to see the galley where they make and prepare all the dishes and it was a real eye-opener. Spotless and everyone working to a Trojan standard. Told there is only one Soup Chef and one Potato Chef, etc. This is partly so if there are any complaints the Galley Manager knows who to talk with and also where they are only cooking these items day-in-day-out they always come out perfect. If you do this make sure you have a very early breakfast or none as the visit starts at 10.30am and they serve large trays of canapes along with Champagne. SERVICE Five star throughout. Many staff who you made eye contact with would say 'Good Morning/Afternoon' as they passed you in the corridor. This included the lowest-ranked staff all the way up to the officers. Ask for anything and you will get it. SHOWS The Headliners Theatre Company performers were outstanding as were the comedians and guest singers. The show choreography was also really good. ISSUES Just a couple. Room Service used to be free. It still is for breakfast but other things are chargeable now. The mattress was only 5 years old but was one with springs that had had their day. Woke up the first couple of mornings with bad backs but reception sorted it. When booking it is also not made clear that you CANNOT do Freedom Dining unless you are a Select booking or you are very lucky. We assumed Select booking meant you could choose which fixed dining time you could have, ie 6.30 or 8.30. We assumed that Freedom Dining was for everyone - but beware it isn't. The dining Manager showed us a list of over 150 people who were trying to change to Freedom Dining. Maybe some of these also made this mistake. Due to personal health reasons we did manage to get this changed and greatly thank P&O for this. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because it included all the most beautiful fjords and port stops that I had seen recommended on various websites. Stops included Eidfjord, Flåm, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Andalsnes and Olden. Twelve nights obviously ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it included all the most beautiful fjords and port stops that I had seen recommended on various websites. Stops included Eidfjord, Flåm, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Andalsnes and Olden. Twelve nights obviously gives you a broader experience than just seven. Not for you if you want to go further north in Norway or combine fjords with other countries. I had very high expectations for the scenery, and it definitely did not disappoint — just incredible! The best shore excursion was from Olden, taking a boat ride on a lake called Lovatnet (get seats on open-air upper level to take photos). We handled our time ashore differently depending on the port — sometimes just on our own, sometimes with an excursion offered by P&O, and sometimes with an excursion we booked ourselves. It was our first time on P&O and we liked it a lot. No complaints at all. Nice to have no children on this cruise. Food was excellent, everything was very well-run, inside cabin worked very nicely for us, and we enjoyed several of the entertainers. Almost all the cruise passengers were British, and since we are Americans this added a very interesting and pleasant aspect to our experience. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
First cruise to the Baltic and turned into a wonderful experience. Lots of variety in ports and a different experience in each. First time also on this ship and instantly became my favourite Service was excellent Food terrific ... Read More
First cruise to the Baltic and turned into a wonderful experience. Lots of variety in ports and a different experience in each. First time also on this ship and instantly became my favourite Service was excellent Food terrific Entertainment amazing. Best singers and dancers yet. And Paul Ruck tribute to Eric Clapton is as good as it gets Photography team were also brilliant and came away with 30 AFFORDABLE photographs Stateroom a little on the small side but it didn’t matter The ship has large choice of venues and areas for relaxation Never even used two of the pools and one was enclosed Balconies a little tight but again not a problem Stateroom service was excellent and unobtrusive Buffet option was more than adequate Occasionally experienced strong winds and the ship handled it really well Excursions including embarking and disembarking were dealt with very efficiently and excursions very good value Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
First time back on Aurora since the refit. Although we like the modern, larger ships, Aurora seems to draw us in. We had a fantastic time. We were allocated early dining on a table for eight. The first night we were alone so ... Read More
First time back on Aurora since the refit. Although we like the modern, larger ships, Aurora seems to draw us in. We had a fantastic time. We were allocated early dining on a table for eight. The first night we were alone so bagged the best seats near the window. The following night, 4 others joined us and we couldn't have wished for better table companions. We had some great laughs and good evenings together. Food was great in the mdr, good selection and always well cooked. The buffet had good choices but we only had the odd breakfast and lunch there, but was sneaking up for cheese and biscuits and hot chocolate to take back to the cabin. Service was very good in all areas, although I think their efficiency can sometimes be mistaken for trying to rush you. As soon as you finished, the dirty plate was gone and next course was on its way. Entertainment was great in general, although the house band were very poor and one of the entertainment team just didn't seem interested, reading her kindle in the DJ booth and sighing when anyone requested a song. The headliners were fantastic although not usually my thing but did enjoy their shows. Soul kinda wonderful, the Base Tones and Phil Melbourne had us dancing or laughing every night. In summary, despite her creaking and swaying, we still managed to have a fantastic holiday and can't wait to return. Andy Read Less
35 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The Journey to Southampton We got the free coach as part of our Select fare from Bolton to Southampton.  Thankfully we did, as there was a crash on the M6 which closed the motorway. After a long, nearly 9 hour journey through the back ... Read More
The Journey to Southampton We got the free coach as part of our Select fare from Bolton to Southampton.  Thankfully we did, as there was a crash on the M6 which closed the motorway. After a long, nearly 9 hour journey through the back roads of Wales, we arrived in Southampton at around 4:45pm.  We were due to arrive before 2pm, with Aurora sailing at 4:30pm.  If we had not taken the coach, conceivably we would have missed our cruise departure.  The coach itself was fairly comfortable, it was a new 19 Plate one of the grade given to football teams by Ellisons.  Sadly, the seats were slightly hard as they had not yet been broken in.  All in all, it was fantastic and we will definitely take the coach to Southampton as it was a stress free way to start the holiday. Checking In Process We hurried into the terminal after getting off the coach, and were processed very quickly by the team at Southampton.  They were happy that the final coaches were arriving, and they could finally get Aurora underway.  Check-in was very smooth, they scanned my husband's card for payments, took our passports, and gave us our cruise cards.  They did retain my husband's Australian passport (but returned it before St Petersburg.)   After checking-in we went through security quite similar to an airport.  All hand bags were scanned through x-ray machines, and we went through metal detectors.  These are quite sensitive, and security staff were telling everyone to leave on their watches and keep their wallets.  This led to some frustrations when the detectors kept going off.  Just a heads-up that you might want to put everything in a jacket pocket to go through the x-ray to avoid the pat down/run over with wand mess. Boarding Aurora We then went on board Aurora at reception on Deck 5.  First impressions were that it was a lovely ship, with a bright vibrant interior.  Not overdone, and more classically decorated.  There was a photographer at embarkation, but he was busy with a larger group so we slipped by unnoticed.  We grabbed the midship lift to deck 10 (B Deck) where our cabin was located in the forward section.  I quite liked the new carpets on B Deck.  We easily located our cabin, which was a large inside.  It had a large King size bed, full size sofa, desk/dressing table, small coffee table, 2 side tables with four drawers each, a large 4 drawer chest, safe, coffee/tea making, and a large wardrobe (2 doors full length with shelf above, 1 door had space for hangable separates).  The bathroom was small but serviceable (and a rather nauseating pink colour) with a shower, toilet, sink and cabinet for goods.  As we were having a look at the cabin, we had a knock on our door with our cabin steward, Elvis, letting us know that our luggage had arrived.  He helped us lug it in, but there was no time to unpack as we needed to attend the muster drill. Muster Drill One great thing about P&O is that they make sure that you are always aware of where you are supposed to be going, with our muster station A printed on our cruise cards.  Our muster station was the Curzon Theatre on Deck 7.  We made our way there through the crew staircase which we were directed to by Elvis.  The drill itself was painless, we grabbed seats near the front, sat through the demonstration, donned our lifejackets and it was time to go.  Even had time to unpack, and enjoy a drink in the Crow's Nest watching the sailaway (and seeing Celebrity Edge go on her maiden) before dinner. Dining on Aurora My husband and I choose Freedom dining, which meant we had to dine in the Medina restaurant on Deck 6.  It is a lovely restaurant, yet again with an understated decor.  Her staff are what makes her a gem, they were all lovely, apart from one pair of waiter's who work near the main doors near the windows.  We had them several times for breakfast, and always found them to be slow, consistently forgetting things, and just didn't seem very interested in their jobs.  This was the only time we ever encountered poor service on Aurora.   We ate most of our meals in the MDR, party because my husband has a disability which makes eating in the buffet difficult for him.  We did not regret this choice at any point in time.  The menu's were varied, we could always find something we wanted to eat, and freedom dining was perfect for us.  If we did not have freedom dining, it is likely that we would have needed to go to the buffet some more as the select times are either a bit too early or too late for us.  On average we ate at 7:30pm each night, some nights we joined a table and others we waited for a table for two which would usually take no more than 20-30 minutes.   The Medina had four sessions of food service a day: Breakfast (varying from a 7am start to a 9:30am finish - this depended on whether it was a sea/port day) Lunch from Noon until 1:30pm Afternoon Tea from 4pm until 4:45pm Dinner from 6pm until 9:30pm There was never any issue with the quality of the food for us in Medina.  We did hear several remarks from people who said they didn't fancy the food and preferred the buffet.  As we did not eat in the buffet much, I cannot comment on the quality and consistency of the food, however, I can certainly state that having a sit down meal is better than the savagery I witnessed in the buffet for the one breakfast and dinner we ate there. The Buffet We went for two meals at the buffet - one breakfast and an evening meal after the first day in St Petersburg.  I have never seen such appalling behaviour from people who are truly old enough to know better.  One of the highlights for me was when I was getting some fruit, my tray on the counter sliding along, selecting things, a woman old enough to be my grandmother kept repeatedly slamming her tray into mine, sighing and making passive aggressive comments to her husband about me.  That was enough.  The food quality as we saw it was fine, but I couldn't bring myself to go back to the buffet after the behaviour.  Additionally, you can never be 100% sure if the food has been contaminated by people who came before you.   The Lido Grill We had a lunch at the Lido Grill, and the food was quite nice.  It was also a bit easier than wading into the buffet as the seating area in front of it is quiet in comparison.  They stock a nice selection of sandwiches, salads, desserts, along with hotdogs, pizza, burgers and fries.   Sindhu Sindhu was a highlight for us.  In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we went there twice, once for an ordinary meal and the second time for the tasting menu.  The food was wonderful, and the amounts were incredibly generous with the lobster biryani containing two full lobster tails.  I fully intend to eat at Sindhu the next time we are on board a P&O ship. The Beach House On the final black tie night neither of us could be bothered getting dressed up so we went to The Beach House for a meal.  It was lovely food, and incredibly well priced.  I would go back anytime I didn't want to dress up again in the future, which is a major bonus for us if we are just knackered and can't be bothered.  If it was an evening casual night, it is unlikely I would go, as while the food is good I do not consider it different enough from the fare in the MDR. The Bars There is a wide variety of drinking establishments on Aurora which are designed to suit your particular wants and needs.  Some are more suited to coffee and tea, and others to boozy concoctions.  We found that we spent most of our drinking time in Anderson's or The Crow's Nest.  The bar staff from Anderson's (in particular) were fantastic.  One quick note about Anderson's and the refurbishment - if they did the Anderson's carpet in the refurb it is already coming up in the back corners and has multiple pulls in places.  Additionally, outside in Charlie's there are several parts where duct tape has been affixed to the floor owing to loose/coming up laminate. The drink selection and pricing on Aurora was incredible.  I was never disappointed with a drink poured to me, and the wine selection in the Glass House and MDR was quite good.  Our bar bill was incredibly reasonable - coming in at around £500 for the two of us over a 14 day period.  We did not deprive ourselves of anything, as we drank what we wanted when we wanted, and had a bottle of wine every night with dinner.   One complaint was that Champions would advertise that they were going to be playing sport, but would then instead host quiz or music with branding of these events also being shown on all TV's.   The Entertainment We did not go to many of the shows as they did not sound like our cup of tea and spent more time listing to the musician's who were all talented.  One show we did go to was to see Deano as Phil Collins - I suspect I did this as much to bother my husband who dislikes his music as I did because I wanted to see it.  Being married has to come with perks, right?  The Laundrette Wow.  Just wow.  The laundrette was both useful and a massive bone of contention among passengers on the ship.  When I first went to the laundrette, I was confronted in the Deck 11 Forward one with eight very angry pairs of eyes staring into mine silently demanding to know what the hell I was doing there.  Feeling so unwelcome I backed away and went to one on Deck 5 Forward.  This is a much tinier laundrette and can be quite hard to find.  I managed to do my laundry there, and while talking to a crew member, a call came through that there was a 'disruption' in the Deck 11 Laundrette.  I'm glad I didn't stay there. The second time I used the laundrette, I made sure I was outside the Deck 11 one when it opened at 8am.  Someone had left clothing in the dryer from the evening before, and waltzed in at around 9:30 am to collect it which left some people waiting for a dryer.  If it had been me I'd have put it in a basket, but no one else wanted to do that. The machines on board are quick with a wash taking about 45 minutes, have cold and warm water settings, and have the option for an extra rinse.  The dryers work very quickly with it taking about 45 minutes to dry a large load.  There was no facility to purchase washing powder that I saw. The Internet In a word: Useless.  My husband needed to use the internet at sea to complete something which at home would have taken 30 seconds.  Speak to the in-charge in the library who tells us each webpage will be max 1 minute to load.  So we decide to use PAYG.  Never again.  30 minutes later it booted him, which is something we didn't know could happen, and he never accomplished what he needed to.   We complained to reception about the service they provided and the information we received from the internet in-charge.  They did not care and offered a derisory 20% off.  So I complained by letter to the HGM who righted it within ten minutes of reading my letter and refunded the charge with an apology.  It shows that the best way to have things dealt with is to consult management rather than the people on reception who seem relatively unable or unwilling to act in this case with the reception manager. The Dress Code On board we had four black-tie nights and ten evening casual nights.  For the black-tie nights we attended (three out of four) we conformed to the dress code with tuxedos and gowns on display.  However, I did get some snarky comments from people lining up for dinner at 6pm when we were off to Anderson's for our pre-dinner tipple.  Apparently to some individuals on board conforming to the dress code is 'showing off' and being 'overdressed'. The Evening Casual nights said no jeans for women, casual separates or a dress.  However, as the cruise continued I became a little more lax in my dresscode and my dark jeans were never questioned in the MDR.  They are, however, quite dark.  I did take a selection of cocktail-like dresses with me which were never worn and I stuck to my long flowing skirts mostly.  I also, on the final evening, got away with wearing my bright coloured trainers in the MDR, this may have been because they were feeling charitable knowing my clothing had made its way to the bowels of the ship and I was attempting to drown my sorrows in beer and wine. I think the major takeaway regarding the dresscode is that on black-tie nights, especially as the evening moves on, adhering to the dresscode is recommended and quite enjoyable.  I only usually get to dress like that very rarely so for three nights it was ideal.  I probably will never go to one of the black tie nights on cruises, just to give myself a break, and its also an excuse to enjoy the Beach House.  The evening casual nights - don't sweat them too much - a nice sundress, casual (non-jean) pants and sweater, or a neat business dress are all perfect.  You won't feel overdressed or out of place.  One interesting thing on Aurora was that Black and White night was not adhered to as strongly as I suspected it would be.  Many women were wearing pastels or bring sparkly red jumpsuits!  I did my bit though. The On Board Upsells We admired P&O's restraint when it came to the on board upsells.  The photographers were there - in the Horizon they told you where they would be and you could line up for a photo - but they were rarely, if ever, in your face attempting to force you to have your photo taken.  The way they sold photos was much better than MSC, where the photographers grabbed and shoved people to take their photo.  It was not at all intimidating, and there was no obligation to buy if you did opt to have the photos taken. The shops were lovely, had some nice things for purchase on board, but we did not purchase anything from them - not even duty free.  On board, P&O had brought on a speciality seller of Baltic goods including Amber jewellery and Russian arts and crafts.  Some of these were incredibly expensive - with a set of nesting dolls I saw purchased costing £2,250!  I did buy my amber jewellery on board, and found it to be good value versus what I found on shore in St Petersburg which may have also been fake.  Later in the cruise they had a lovely Russian market where we got a book about St Petersburg and some bits and bobs. I'll detail the other events P&O ran which we took part in below. The Wine Tasting This started at 11:30am, and I would have much preferred if it had instead started at 1:30pm.  We started with a glass of prosecco and moved on to taste five different wines.  They were all lovely, and Samir, led the talk well.  It was an informative, and very alcohol soaked experience which I would gladly do again.  Thankfully no spit buckets! Scenic Sailaway The Scenic Sailaway from Stockholm took place on the forward deck sections on each floor - we were allocated to B Deck (10th floor).  We were treated to a large variety of cocktails distributed on our deck by the lovely gents from Anderson's.  A favourite of mine was when one bar steward thanked us for making his tray lighter every time we took a drink off.  Was very enjoyable and managed to sup back about six cocktails.  Oh and be called crazy by the Captain after waving at him like a mad woman when we saw him on the bridge.  He's probably on to something! Champagne Galley Tour This event started at 10:30am, with a glass of champagne in the Medina Dining Room.  We were then taken in groups to the kitchen to meet the Executive Chef and learn how the kitchen operates.  We saw the hot and cold food sides, plus the bakery and wine storage.  It was very interesting to see, and meet the staff who work so hard to make so many tasty meals.  It is interesting to hear their experiences, especially the poor dishwasher who was not sure what to do when people started asking myriad questions about the industrial dishwasher.  After the tour we exited in the Alexandria Restaurant on Deck 6 Aft where we had more champagne and some canapes.  Overall, it was a lovely tour and I'm pleased we did it. Martini Class Finally, a great start time for an alcohol fueled day drinking session: 1:30pm!  This was held in Anderson's Bar at the counter, as we were told about four different martini's: the classic gin martini (with shaken and stirred varieties shown), the cosmopolitan, the English Breakfast martini and the French Martini.  The English Breakfast martini was my favourite, while my husband was partial to the French martini.  The English Breakfast martini is not on the menu, but you can ask for it in Anderson's and they will make it.  I would definitely do this talk again, for the cheap martini's if nothing else! The Ports Kritiansand In a word: Boring.  We left the boat early when it first docked, took a fetching photo of my husband with a stuffed moose, walked around the town centre, picked up some souvenirs and reindeer salami and went back to the ship before 11am.  We then spent the rest of the day at leisure.  I believe there was a lovely nap.   We did check the prices out for having lunch but found the cost of everything around the fish market and cruise port to be prohibitive.  So we just ate on board the ship.  There were no shuttle buses running as it was a simple walk into the centre.  Pretty, but nothing much to do. Copenhagen We had been to Copenhagen before and did the best thing in the city in our opinion: Feeding Hammerhead sharks at the aquarium.   This time we decided to focus our attention on the historical palaces and touristy areas.  So, we once again got off the ship, took the shuttle into Copenhagen and started following a map for our very own photographic walking tour.  We looked at all of the palaces, along with the parliament buildings and some other historical sites.  After we finished our walk we took a canal boat tour, which ended up being a lovely way to spend our mid afternoon.  After we got off the boat we went for lunch in Nyhavn, which was expensive but tasty and washed it down with some Tuborg.  After lunch we decided to walk back to the ship along the waterfront which was a lovely way to end our day in Copenhagen.   A few things about Copenhagen: 1. It is expensive 2. The Little Mermaid is disappointing for most, yet also manages to be the busiest site in the city.  Key word is in the name: Little. 3. Remember your sunscreen - it was quite sunny there with limited opportunities for shade and my husband caught the sun.   St Petersburg Rather than take a ships tour, we booked the two-day All Highlights tour through TJ Travel.  On Day One we started at the Hermitage, which was an impressive building for its architecture and design.  The building and the art collection are lovely.  However, it was a pity that the Impressionists had been moved out to a new building, and I will need to revisit one day to see the Hermitage's collection.  We enjoyed the museum, but were not able to visit the gift shop, which annoyed my husband as he usually buys books from large museums which contain some of the photos of their collection. After the Hermitage we went to the Church on Spilt Blood which was a lovely church, which is unfortunately undergoing restoration works.  Our guide informed us that after the summer it will be fully under restoration for up to seven years'.  We then had lunch, which was god awful, under-cooked chicken, and soup which was a chicken leg floating in broth.  I was going to be hungry today.  After lunch we drove to Catherine's Palace to see the Amber Room.  It was a lovely palace, and we got lucky in that we got in before the major crowds.  People on other tours said that they had to wait a few hours to get in because of the crowds, in particular large Asian tour groups. We then drove back to St Petersburg and saw the Peter and Paul Fortress.  It was interesting to see it, and take some lovely photos.  After this my husband and I were going on our evening tour and met our guide at another area of the city.  Our new guide was incredible, and helped us understand Russia as it is today.  We went on the Russian Experience tour which included six shots of vodka.  I now think everyone needs to try horseradish vodka once in their life.  Just try it, don't think about it, it sounds like a horrible idea!  We had a lovely time that evening, I managed to buy my father a bottle of vodka, and we got a taste of Russian stout which was quite nice. Our second day in St Petersburg was an earlier start.  We drove into the city and did a canal tour of St Petersburg.  The highlight of this, was not the glorious scenery, but a young man who managed to run from bridge to bridge waving at us for the entire journey.  We gave him 5 EUR, as my husband said he certainly earned it.  We then took the hydrofoil to Peterhof and viewed the fountain park.  As stated above we did not get to see the opening ceremonies, which I would have enjoyed the spectacle of.  We did get a nice tour of the gardens, but it would have been nice to have been consulted regarding how we went about it.  After this we then went to lunch, which was slightly better than the previous day, but was still not very nice.   After lunch we went to Yusupov Palace, which was an interesting experience given the history of the place as the site where Rasputin was assassinated, and also that of the family.  I think it was a highlight of the second day.  We were advised by our guide to not buy the photo ticket and many in the group were unhappy with this advice as they decided they did want photos of the Palace.  Our final stop was St Isaac's Cathedral, which was a lovely church but by then I was all churched out.  My husband and I went through the motions, glad that the tour was nearly over.  We were then shuttled to the TJ Travel office, where we could pay for the tour, and do the 'shopping'.  I think that TJ Travel should be more open about the fact that the only shopping offered on the tour is in the souvenir shop where their office is located.   We quite enjoyed St Petersburg, however, next time I am there I would probably use my cruise line tours.      Tallinn Our next stop was Tallinn, Estonia.  It is a lovely small city with heavily cobbled roads.  As we were walking around the city touring the historical sites, we saw the tourist train as it was going over a set of cobbles.  It was bouncing everywhere and sounded incredibly loud, the poor passengers looked like they were regretting their life choices.  I was pleased we didn't get suckered into using it.  We greatly enjoyed our walk around Tallinn, and we then found a lovely bar underground where we sampled Estonian beer.  We had a lovely, pleasant day, and returned to the ship mid-afternoon and took advantage of the Lido Grill. Stockholm We took the shuttle bus into Stockholm after disembarking with the 'speed of a thousand screaming ABBA fans' as our Captain would say.  After getting off the bus we then just wandered, somewhat aimlessly, through the streets of Old Town Stockholm, enjoying the gorgeous weather.  After our long, mindless amble, we found a lovely restaurant and ate a truly glorious meal while drinking copious amounts of Swedish beer.  Good day all around.  When we were done shopping we got the shuttle bus back to the ship. Warnemunde The final port on our Baltic Adventure was Warnemunde, a lovely German seaside resort.  While many on the boat took the train to Rostock, we decided to just spend time in Warnemunde itself.  We did some shopping - mostly beer and sausages - for my father, and wandered back with our haul to the ship.  After dropping off our mass of goodies (which contrary to his belief I DID manage to pack in our cases) we wandered back into Warnemunde.  There we found a nice bar to have a few pints of pilsner (you can see the theme with our travels?)  After our morning of drinking we went and found some lunch which consisted of sausages in buns, fries and more pilsner from a lovely boat which sold fast food.  During our meal a massive queen bee decided to make my husband her *****, and sat on his head for quite some time.  I ran away.  Thankfully, he's Australian and is much better at dealing with creepy crawlies than I am, and casually allowed her to sit on him until she grew attracted to his ear and decided running along it like a treadmill was a good idea.  There were quite a few bees in Warnemunde - just a warning for those who are bug haters like I am. After lunch we got a lovely soft icecream with chocolate dip.  Mmmm...  And found another bar nearer to the train station where we sat and had a lovely conversation with a German couple over google translate.  We had a fantastic time in Warnemunde, even though we didn't climb the old lighthouse because we're too damn lazy - plus stairs are our mortal enemies.   The Staff The staff on P&O were on the whole exceptional.  Apart from the Reception Manager and the one pairing of waiters in Medina as mentioned above.  Everyone was friendly and armed with a "Good ".  They never let you feel like a bother even when you were disrupting their work.  I would say that the staff are a great asset to P&O, and they are very lucky to have them.   Elvis Our cabin steward was incredible.  Nothing was too much effort.  I asked for ice one day and he brought it every day of the holiday.  He was quick, very efficient and always kept our room at the highest standard - even when my own standards slipped.  He gave great advice during our first days on board which allowed us to make the most of the facilities.  We got to know about him, his home and his family.  If you are on Aurora - or whatever other ship he moves to after November - and you get Elvis from Goa - you are very lucky indeed.   Captain Neil Turnbull The man of the hour, the Captain Neil Turnbull.  Unfortunately, due to a rather serious infection I was suffering from renewing our vows on board was not possible, but if we were to have done it I'm sure he would have been an interesting officiant.  I enjoyed his morning addresses - though I know some did not - and his musings on his two specialist subjects children and Derbyshire.  He always said he would get us off the ship with the speed of a thousand gazelles (or Cossack gazelles, or screaming ABBA fans...) and when we came back he was always pleased someone had not run off with a fisherman.  We met him on the first say in St Petersburg and he seemed to be a lovely affable man.  It was amusing when he complained during an announcement about people complaining about his route to Russia because he was never going to get us there and would ruin their holiday.  His simple reply was that he did not want to scrape his bottom off going any other way.  Backseat driving is bad enough, but I'm not sure I'd handle backseat ship steering from people with such good humour. Things I Would Take Again and Those I Wouldn't So, I packed way too much stuff, but live and learn.  I'll just give a quick list below of things I will and will not take again: Will: Shoe holder for over the bathroom door for toiletries Magnetic Hooks Air Freshner for the Bathroom Electronic tea lights Plug for charging multiple USB devices First Aid Kit Nail Clippers E-Reader Will Not: More than five days' clothing (with the ease of using the laundrettes) Microfibre towels Books (very heavy) Final Thoughts...and will I cruise P&O again (drum-roll...) Finally, we loved P&O.  I must admit that I was concerned we would not like it very much and would be disappointed about the money spent.  The reality is that we have a cruise booked on Aurora in November, and then a transatlantic Caribbean for October 2020 on Britannia.  So, would I cruise with P&O again?  Absolutely.  You need to have your expectations set fairly, you need to understand what you are paying for and what you are not.  Reality is £100pppd for room and full board is a bargain, especially with the high standards P&O hold themselves to.  You also cannot underestimate the value of sailing to and from Southampton (if you live in the UK), especially with free coach travel offered by P&O as part of your select fare.  I look forward to being back on board Aurora, and to enjoying many future cruises on P&O in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
An excellent cruise to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights. Whilst I did not see the lights, this did not, in any way, detract from a very enjoyable experience.Excellent embarkation procedure - I was in my cabin well before ... Read More
An excellent cruise to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights. Whilst I did not see the lights, this did not, in any way, detract from a very enjoyable experience.Excellent embarkation procedure - I was in my cabin well before my allocated time. The cabin was ready waiting for me and was well looked after by my steward. I had first sitting club dining and was served by two very attentive waiters. The food was of a good standard and I ate in the Beach House on two occasions - and enjoyed it thoroughly. I didn't go to the theatre shows and so can not comment on them. We made a "maiden" call into Narvik but I wasn't impressed. Also Bergan was substituted with Hargusand (?sp) - again not impressed. However, Alta was wonderful!! The scenery and excursions were brilliant - I went to the Ice Hotel and it was a never-to-be-forgotten experience - and another item off my bucket list. We called at Stavanger on the way home and I found it an interesting place to wander around on my own. The disembarkation process was seamless - I simply waited in the Crows Nest until an announcement was made asking all remaining passengers to disembark then wandered leisurely down to the gangway, through the baggage reclaim and on to the car park - no crowds, no hassle - all very civilised. All-in-all, I enjoyed the cruise so much that I have booked to go again on the same cruise in 2020. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We had a wonderful Northern Lights Cruise. Our first cruise, we were new to every aspect and expected some hiccups... There were none. Embarkation was incredibly swift, staff at port really helpful too. We were on the ship and in ... Read More
We had a wonderful Northern Lights Cruise. Our first cruise, we were new to every aspect and expected some hiccups... There were none. Embarkation was incredibly swift, staff at port really helpful too. We were on the ship and in the restaurant having lunch before our check-in time. The ship is lovely and I'm sure will be even more so after its 'spruce up' later this month. Lovely areas to sit and relax. Attentive staff in all areas. Cabin (E139) was lovely, everything you needed. Our cabin steward was fantastic. We kept it tidy anyway but it was spotless after he had been in and shined the mirrors and replenished supplies. A very warm and friendly chap. The dining was lovely. We had planned freedom but we're given a 6.30pm on a table of 8 in the Alexandria restaurant. We weren't sure if we wanted that as that meant sitting with strangers. But we gave it a go and we now have new friends! The food was lovely. Some things weren't to my taste but you get that in any restaurant. Steaks were cooked perfectly. Our lovely trio of friendly welcoming waiters made the whole dining experience extra special. Dining in the Horizon buffet restaurant for other meals was also very good. Again occasional things not to my taste but whilst mindful not to be wasteful I didn't eat something for the sake of it and would try something else instead. Waiting staff in here again very nice. We went along to the evening entertainment several nights and thoroughly enjoyed it. The pianist was excellent too and we wished we had sat and listened to him more. Quizzes, cards, a few pounds in the casino all good fun. Getting on and off at ports was organised well. Ports were all lovely. Daily horizon magazine detailed what was going on when and where on the ship. There was so much we could have done if we hadnt wanted to be up on deck so much. The art lecturer was most likely very interesting and the gallery had some beautiful pieces. The photography lectures would have been interesting too. But being on the deck taking in the majesty of the fjords with their snow covered mountains was the place we spent most of our days. Or sitting in a window seat in the Horizon restaurant having a cup of tea (and small cake). The pools were open and two heated but we missed our chances to go in. We saw the gym but rather than go there we decided to not use the lifts and to walk around the promenade deck. 3.2 turns = 1 mile. .... As this was the Nothern Light's Cruise, we hoped to see the lights and we were incredibly fortunate to see them twice. One show from the ship in Alta lasted around 30min it was beautiful although not very strong. The following night sailing away from Alta around 8.30pm a wonderful display lasting nearly two hours. Absolutely mesmerising!! They had also been seen the previous night on one of the tours. And then sadly the cruise draws to an end. Luggage outside cabin the night before disembarking. We got up for breakfast. Met at our designated venue and were led off the ship. Straight to a hanger where we picked up our luggage, rolled the trolley outside and got the next taxi waiting in the rank. Couldn't have been anymore straightforward. We had driven to Southampton the night before sailing. Used the justpark app to rent a space and stayed in a bed and breakfast in the centre. Got parking and B&B for just £100 and meant no stress of same day travelling. ... Almost all perfect... The only thing that I would change are the very small number of whinging passengers (which I assume you find on any holiday). I find it is best if you just use listening to and watching them as another form of entertainment... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The opportunity to travel up the Amazon, Central America and Caribbean. The whole cruise was excellent in every way. The many ports of call, experiencing so many places, the excursions well organised. The crew were excellent, a happy ship ... Read More
The opportunity to travel up the Amazon, Central America and Caribbean. The whole cruise was excellent in every way. The many ports of call, experiencing so many places, the excursions well organised. The crew were excellent, a happy ship and you felt it. Nothing was too much trouble. The waiters couldn’t oblige you more. Entertainment on the whole good including the Headliners shows. The activities on board were very varied - excellent watercolour class and new popular Ukulele class. The celebrity speakers where brilliant - Rev Richard Coles, Eric Knowles, Wayne Sleep and Sue Holderness (Marlene from Only Fools and Horses). We travelled from South Wales by Cruise Connect, it was a long journey because of the many pickups. We eventually arrived in Southampton at 3.30 and eventually boarded at 4.30. Heavy seas on the way across the Atlantic, but Aurora coped with it well. Always found her to be a very stable ship. Would highly recommend this Grand Voyage. Have done the Amazon now so wouldn’t go there again as have now experienced this amazing place. Definitely Central America and Caribbean. Aurora is going Adults only in May, but there were no children on this voyage (only young son of one of the Officers) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to get away for Christmas and have a really relaxing time. It was just the job. Check in and embarkation were so simple, so much nicer than going to an airport. The cabin was fine, we had a balcony and were ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get away for Christmas and have a really relaxing time. It was just the job. Check in and embarkation were so simple, so much nicer than going to an airport. The cabin was fine, we had a balcony and were impressed by the amount of storage. Our steward looked after us brilliantly for the next 10 days. We found there were plenty of activities for us. We learnt some simple ballroom dances, line danced with the Headliners and did the fitsteps classes. We were on late fixed dining in Alexandria. Our waiters were very friendly and helpful with wine choices and slight changes to the menu. Christmas dinner was really good and amazing that they delivered such quality when serving so many people at one go. We were impressed by The Headliners, their songs from the shows was especially good. The orchestra and trio were also really good. One disappointment was the band Next Step, the couple of times we saw them their performance was not great and on one occasion they walked off stage before the scheduled end of the performance after what appeared to be an argument with other staff. The bars were nice, especially the Crows Nest, they were relaxing and friendly. The mix of ages was pretty good and there seemed to be something for everyone. We found getting on and off the ship much less hassle than we anticipated. Waiting for 20 minutes after the doors opened is definitely a good idea. Oslo was lovely (make sure you visit the town hall it is amazing inside) and Copenhagen is wonderful (of course), especially Tivoli Gardens which was a winter wonderland. Disembarkation was pretty painless too. All in all really pleased with our choice and we’ve already booked our next cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I had had a lovely Canary cruise on the Azura two years ago, it was lovely. had a balcony which was great. Booked this christmas cruise for the 19th dec - 29th dec, and was not disappointed. The ship this time was the Aurora. The staff ... Read More
I had had a lovely Canary cruise on the Azura two years ago, it was lovely. had a balcony which was great. Booked this christmas cruise for the 19th dec - 29th dec, and was not disappointed. The ship this time was the Aurora. The staff and crew were fantastic, very helpful and friendly and could not do enough for us. Had a window view this time as didn't really want a balcony for this winter cruise. lovely large picture window. Food was plentiful and good. The entertainment was first class and plenty of it. Matt the guitarist was amazing and he could play anything and did. He went from Bar to Bar and was very well liked. Favourite bar was the The crows nest. just quiet gorgeous and a amazing view. The trio who played their were brilliant and a last after dinner drink was so relaxing just listing to some beautiful music. The ship needs updating and i believe that it is going to have a refit this Spring? and will become an adult only ship as well. I shall be booking with P & O again at some stage. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
I took my 2 teenage grandchildren to see the northern lights. Couldn't have asked for a better holiday for them. They seen the lights and more. The ship and every member of staff was friendly polite and efficient. I have been ... Read More
I took my 2 teenage grandchildren to see the northern lights. Couldn't have asked for a better holiday for them. They seen the lights and more. The ship and every member of staff was friendly polite and efficient. I have been on 2 p&o ships now going on 3rd in March. Could not fault them. We met a couple of friends whom we now keep in touch with. The entertainment was excellent and even the group next step allowed my granddaughter to sing with them. Everywhere we went people were friendly, the ship was clean and always a member of staff to help. If I had to say something negative it would be some costs are a little much when you have children but i understand this for some things. Excursions were too expensive for me to take the kids but managed to get one off ship. In all a very very enjoyed trio from the 3 of us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
yes as you guessed from the title this was our first cruise we have been on.R818N 5 nights ,Bruges and Amsterdam from the 10th to 15 October 2018, The food was good in the main restaurant it’s on par with a good 3 to 4 star hotel, the ... Read More
yes as you guessed from the title this was our first cruise we have been on.R818N 5 nights ,Bruges and Amsterdam from the 10th to 15 October 2018, The food was good in the main restaurant it’s on par with a good 3 to 4 star hotel, the Horizon buffet dine around the clock and the day time grill use any time till 3am are about the same as an all-inclusive hotel . We booked two restaurants that had surcharges, the Beach house £7.50 each was ok and nice meal the Sindhu (Indian) £20 each was first class more than worth the extra cost, they made us feel special with exceptional food if you’re going on the Aurora make sure you book it in advance .Next the staff they are so efficient and work so hard and are so polite ,P&O charge your account £7 each per day to cover tips ,we had one lady taking delight and walking around our boat telling other people that if you go to reception you could cancel this charge ,they work so hard and are away from there family’s for long periods so I hope they get every penny of that because you cannot fault them they give whey beyond 100% . other reviews we read before going said the ship is dated ,it is a little in places but not that it could spoil your holiday , Every part of the ship was spotless our cabin was perfect the entertainment was great ,well done P&O you have us hooked ,we will be back ,such a pity I have to work first Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Had never been to US ........ we have come to cruising quite late.......never thought it would be for us but we have loved those we have done (Baltic, Eastern Med and now this to NY and up as far as Quebec) I read another review about ... Read More
Had never been to US ........ we have come to cruising quite late.......never thought it would be for us but we have loved those we have done (Baltic, Eastern Med and now this to NY and up as far as Quebec) I read another review about this trip and would disagree on a number of points. We always travel steerage! Always an inside cabin, because if rough at sea, I do not wish to see this. We only use our cabin to sleep and to shower. We had a larger inside cabin, midships, which was fine.......we enjoy space and all home comforts at home!! We all enjoy the same food, use the same linen and share the same amenities. Another reviewer did not enjoy the days at sea...........we loved them.......there are so many activities from which to choose! A typical day following breakfast, we'd take advantage of an hour in the gym with a trained fitness instructor, then a quick drink in the Horizon restaurant, then enjoy an hour with a guest speaker, civilised lunch in Medina restaurant......then we'd maybe read for an hour up in the crows nest......before another group activity, perhaps a classical recital before high tea in the Medina restaurant (usually only for a drink) then it is time to prepare for dinner and a show........and if up to it, you could then take in a film in the excellent cinema. I don't know how the other reviewer could have found the time boring......we were spoilt for choice.......I could equally have enjoyed line dancing, ballroom, choir and the painting group and other things but couldn't fit it all in. Something which we found particularly enjoyable, in contrast to the other reviewer, were Terry Brown's talks and even more his murder mystery adventure over several days..... which took a lot of planning ......this was very much enjoyed by those who joined in the fun. We choose freedom dining........we enjoyed the company of new people at each meal, the food was excellent (though some of the puddings didn't quite work!!) but if something isn't good, it will be changed without question .......staff were efficient, professional and charming. And I haven'r mentioned the places we visited.........we were disappointed that the Rhode Island trip had to be cancelled due to severe weather conditions, but I'd rather be safe. We booked many excusions.....you pay your money and make your own choice.......one outing was not good, we gave feedback to the appropriate representative on ship and it was put right. We liked this smaller ship and have booked our next cruise on her....we love the ease of the car parking service......the ship will have another refit before we use her again..... hopefully the windows which have blown will have been replaced along with the once high-end soft furnishings in public areas which are now looking very tired. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Well I love the entertainment. Headliners are better than west end shows I’ve been to and plenty of entertainment onboard and a cinema and costa. I enjoyed a Baltic cruise visiting such wonderful places and an overnight stay in st ... Read More
Well I love the entertainment. Headliners are better than west end shows I’ve been to and plenty of entertainment onboard and a cinema and costa. I enjoyed a Baltic cruise visiting such wonderful places and an overnight stay in st Petersburg which is a must to get the full benefit of what it has to offer (Part of my trip was visiting historical places of interest and also had quite a few vodkas to enjoy. The ship is comfortable and clean and I always manage to find friends on these cruises. Dinning is like being in 5 star, the waiters are exceptional and you get lots of courses with your evening meals. Great decking area outside and it’s great fun when the entertainment staff all have a little party on board to say bye to whichever port we are leaving. Hardworking staff and always exceptionally clean and stocked cabins.Plenty to do at sea ,can go to various classes as they have something for everyone(so may wish you could attend several that are running at same time) is the only problem you will find here! Shuttle buses are free to take you in to town and bring you back or you can choice a variety of excursions on offer to book. Just a great journey where everything is catered for, so you don’t have to do anything but relax and enjoy your holidays. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was chosen by friends and we went along.Restaurants were fantastic.Lots of good food and the service was great with wonderful waiters.Our cabin was always kept clean and we had a very polite and helpful steward. Entertainment was ... Read More
This was chosen by friends and we went along.Restaurants were fantastic.Lots of good food and the service was great with wonderful waiters.Our cabin was always kept clean and we had a very polite and helpful steward. Entertainment was good but could have been better on certain days.Excursions: We were disappointed on some especially one where on the hottest day ever we were given a coach without air-condition.I even fainted.Full marks go to the St.Petersburg excursion and to our wonderful guide Katerina.Embarkation and disembarkation were fast with helpful staff.The ship was always clean and very easy to move about without getting lost or confused. Films in the cinema could have been better.What we would have liked was an all inclusive for drinks and cocktails.What was offered was coffee and wine all inclusive and not all drink them.We would gladly travel again with these cruise liners.Thank you all. In all it was a wonderful cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Birthday suprise cruise. Absolutely amazing, had a fantastic time. Nothing was to much to ask for. 3 ladies together, treated so well. Thank you so much, will be looking to cruise again, as this was a first experience. Loved every minute. ... Read More
Birthday suprise cruise. Absolutely amazing, had a fantastic time. Nothing was to much to ask for. 3 ladies together, treated so well. Thank you so much, will be looking to cruise again, as this was a first experience. Loved every minute. Staff were courteous, helpful, attentive. Some went over & beyond to give a great service. Food was fresh & plentiful. Always a great choice. Pool areas were kept clean, not to much water on floors for slips. Tables always clean, no litter, bins were always emptied regularly. Public toilets were clean & fresh. Good changing facilities near swimming pools. Medina restaurant was exemplary, service spot on. Birthday cake arrived for my 60th, Fantastic ambiance, waiters sang Happy Birthday. Trips were available, but we decided to do our own thing, went ashore for shopping, staff were great on tender transfers. Always something to do, but great if you just want a relaxing break. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Choose this as a replacement for a cancellation on the wonderful Adonia, which I was really excited about as it was visiting Bermuda and the Bahamas. However wasn't disappointed with Aurora's itinerary, as we visited Dubrovnik, ... Read More
Choose this as a replacement for a cancellation on the wonderful Adonia, which I was really excited about as it was visiting Bermuda and the Bahamas. However wasn't disappointed with Aurora's itinerary, as we visited Dubrovnik, Sibenic and Mt Etna Sicily to name a few. The ship shows her age when compared to the facilities that are on the new Britannia, but this was to be expected. Being a person whom likes to read, relax and watch films on my tablet i didnt join in with the many activities that P & O placed during the day, but was more than happy with the evening entertainment, or relaxing with a beer in 'Champions', the on board pub, and the wide selection of real English beers, and not that Larger rubbish. The food in the main restaurant was of a high standard, but believe even with the large selection, there were still nights when it was a good choice to eat in the Horizon restaurant. The Beach Hut was of very high standard and brilliant quality, although disappointed the meat skewer has been taken off the revamped menu. Tiffany's is still my favourite location on the ship. Cabin was always clean and tidy and the steward did a great job. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
we chose this cruise to the north of Norway to get the best chance to view the northern lights, and we were not disappointed. the night we had at the football field away from any lights was great. we say that the lights were grey until ... Read More
we chose this cruise to the north of Norway to get the best chance to view the northern lights, and we were not disappointed. the night we had at the football field away from any lights was great. we say that the lights were grey until we used the 99 cent delay app on our iphones that brought out spectacular green. and the movement like a harp. super.. the ship being abt 1800 passengers was just the right size. only 2 times the motion of the big waves kept us from walking around. also, there seemed to be more places on this ship to just sit and view of chat. good choices. the ship was 98% brits. few Australians. abt 10 Americans(I was one of them). it was fun; kind of stood out in the4 many trivia contests we went too. what a friendly group of people. all service was top notch; from the cabin to all the waiters. the scenery was always beautiful and worth the trip. another bonus of this trip was seeing the conclusion of the 1200km dogsled race when in Alta. with a crowd of hundreds, lots of music and singing(in Norwegian), and seeing the first 2 come in was really neat. if there is any con to this cruise it would be too many sea days after a while. always things to do, but just a feeling. and not too much wildlife seen(but we should not have been surprised). would we recommend? If you haven't seen the northern lights, a definite yes. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Our 14th Cruise with P&O and 4th on Aurora. We chose this cruise as seeing the Northern Lights has always been on our bucket list. We weren’t disappointed! As with all previous Cruises on Aurora, food and service in the Medina ... Read More
Our 14th Cruise with P&O and 4th on Aurora. We chose this cruise as seeing the Northern Lights has always been on our bucket list. We weren’t disappointed! As with all previous Cruises on Aurora, food and service in the Medina restaurant (freedom dining) was superb throughout. The only (minor) criticism would be the portion sizes of vegetables, which were far too small in relation to the main dish. We had one meal in the Beach House (average) and several lunches in the Glasshouse (very good). We didn’t use Sindhu as it isn’t up to the standard of the excellent versions on Britannia and Ventura, not least because it lacks ambiance and is noisy being in the atrium. Entertainment, as on all P&O cruises, was mixed. The Headliners troupe was far better than the team we had on board Aurora in October. At least this lot could sing! We always enjoy performances from Caravan and this was no exception, other than two of their performances were somewhat spoiled by irresponsible parents allowing toddlers to run around between the audience and the performers, which was incredibly distracting for both and terribly discourteous. None of the guest singers were particularly impressive. Peter Haworth was average but really fancied himself and we left early as a group of passengers arrived late and then proceeded to talk through the performance (a persistent problem we find). The Brit Tones (4 piece male vocalists) were dire. One of them has a comically low voice and the chatter between songs was far too long and frankly juvenile. Georgina Jackson had a reasonable voice but ruined her act by unnecessarily playing the (shrill) trumpet. Craig Halliday (violinist) was the best performer by a mile. Several classes above the usual standard of P&O entertainment. All performers were let down by the Aurora Orchestra whose backing arrangements were rather odd and, at times, a distraction. Another good artist was Flamenco guitarist Adam Westcott. Really nice guy and incredibly talented but we went to all 5 of his shows and there was far too much repetition. The main guest speaker was Bob Turner who, in spite of sounding like Uncle Albert from Only Fools and Horses, gave some very interesting talks. He did, however, make the schoolboy error of having his entire script on the (very word heavy) PowerPoint slides, which made them impenetrable. We did a few tours. Leisurely Alta was pleasant and informative. I really enjoyed Snowmobiling but all my outer clothes stank of exhaust fumes for days afterwards. The ice hotel was interesting but no way would I sleep there. Not only is it cold, it has no toilets inside, mattresses felt cold and damp and the pelts made the place smell like the house of someone who owns big dogs. I did the ‘In Search of the Northern Lights’ tour on the first night in Alta. We only went 10 minutes away as that was where the best viewing was predicted and we had a superb view of them, the strongest being once again between 10 and 11pm. My wife stayed on the ship and although had a good view of them, the light pollution from the ship made them significantly less impressive. We had seen them two nights earlier whilst at sea (although not terribly strong) and a fantastic display, again between around 10 and 11pm at Tromso the day before. Sadly, cloud coverage meant that the 2nd night in Alta didn’t produce anything. The Scenic Rauma Railway journey from Andalsnes was pretty, but only 45 minutes long. The views from the coach on the return were just as impressive. For those who do not do tours, be aware that there is very little to do in Alta or Andalsnes. Tromso is bigger and several passengers felt that longer there and less time in Alta would have been better, especially as we had a fantastic showing of the Northern Lights in Tromso between around 10 and 11pm. As might be expected going into the Arctic Circle in March, we had some ‘interesting’ weather conditions. Force 4 to 6 was the norm whilst at sea, but we reached force 10 on the way out and force 10 to 11 on the return. Force 11 is described as ‘exceptionally rough seas’ and is one below a hurricane. We felt absolutely fine thanks to Stugeron, but a number of passengers were a bit off colour. As for outside air temperatures, there was a lot of exaggeration about this. People kept quoting things like -15 degrees but the coldest we experienced was -8 degrees, although it feels much colder when stood on snow in a field or with the wind at sea. The cold weather did cause problems with the ships lifts. 3 of the 7 forward and midships lifts were out of action for 3 days as a result, which was a problem for us as my wife uses a wheelchair. Final words of advice for anyone doing a Northern Lights Cruise. Take Stugeron for the rough seas and plenty of layers of clothing for the cold. You can see the Northern Lights from the ship but don’t let anyone convince you that it’s not worth doing a tour. Light pollution from the ship is excessive. They make no effort to dim deck lighting. My wife and I saw the same ‘display’ at the same time in Alta. My wife was on the ship and I was 10 minutes away in a dark field. My experience was much better. Perseverance pays. Some passengers who insisted on seeing all the shows and popping their head out occasionally missed the best displays. When the lights appear, although impressive they are mostly white. You do see green and, at times, red hues but the camera does lie when it comes to the Northern Lights as it massively exaggerates the colour. All photos come out very bright green as the camera lens sees the colour far better than the human eye. They look nothing like that in reality. If the lights appear, keep your eyes on whichever part is brightest. It is these parts that tend to evolve into the movement (dancing) that people refer to. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted the chance to see the Northern Light. As it was also our first cruise we were unsure what to expect or how we would cope with the lifestyle. Fortunately, we loved it! The whole experience of cruising ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted the chance to see the Northern Light. As it was also our first cruise we were unsure what to expect or how we would cope with the lifestyle. Fortunately, we loved it! The whole experience of cruising was so relaxing and enjoyable. Being able to choose what we did and where we went in our own time was something very new to us and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The Aurora was one of the smaller ships in the P&O fleet but was beautifully maintained and provided an excellent daily newsletter to keep everyone informed of the daily activities and events. The service on board was first class from our cabin steward to the waiters in the restaurants. Everybody was so polite, helpful and respectful. Nothing was too much trouble. The food was beautifully prepared and presented and always sufficient (even for the biggest appetite). There were plenty of activities for people to take part in, from jigsaw puzzles to fitness classes. The entertainment offered was thoroughly enjoyable and varied from comedy to classical guitarist, from dancing shows to astronomy talks. Our balcony cabin was a very good size with plenty of storage space for all our thermal gear and 'posh clothes'. We were very well looked after by our cabin steward who made sure we received all the necessary information available. Our ports of calls were few but all were enjoyable in their own way. Andasnes, was a small port that offered easy access to the town. A gentle stroll was sufficient to stretch the legs after two days at sea. Tromso offered more as it was a bigger town. The trip to the University Planetarium was certainly the highlight where we we given a talk on the Northern Lights. Tromso Museum and the Cathedral of the Northern Lights (an unusual design) were two further stops on the tour. Alta was our most northern port of call and our coldest and snowiest. A shuttle bus was needed to get into the town where the Arctic Cathedral awaited us. Thid was a peculiar design for a church but the ice sculptures, designed by children, that were on disolay were a lovely surprise. The town was quaint and looked very well kept. Alta is where we went in search of the Northern Lights and we were not disappointed. A coach trip took us 15 minutes from the cruise ship where we were treated to a mesmerising display of dancing lights. From 9:45 until 11:00 we didn't know where to look and where to photograph. The guide told us that in the 10 years that he had been doing this he hadn't seen a better display - how lucky were we! The next night there was thick cloud and no Lights!! We also had a wonderful Husky dog sled ride from Alta. We visited the Holman Husky Centre where we met the dogs and were given a talk in a Sami tent before being taken on an exhilerating 25 minute ride - fantastic. Stavanger was our final port of call. This attractive town had a delightful old part and a more modern area. Lovely lake in the centre of town with plenty of walks. Would we go on that cruise again? No - because we think the Northern Lights experience could not be beaten. We had fantastic views, saw dolphins, a dorsal fin of a whale and a sea eagle - everything we wanted to do. Would we recommend this cruise? Definitely with the warning that you might be in the right place and at the right time to see theNorthern Lights but you cannot guarantee the conditions will be right - we were so lucky! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
My wife and I just completed the "Norwegian Lights" cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was a bucket list cruise getting into the Arctic Circle and seeing the northern lights whilst in port of Alta. This is our 6th P&O ... Read More
My wife and I just completed the "Norwegian Lights" cruise which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was a bucket list cruise getting into the Arctic Circle and seeing the northern lights whilst in port of Alta. This is our 6th P&O UK cruise and some things have changed that made it a lesser experience. Firstly P&O UK now charge for room service (except the limited breakfast menu). When I queried this I was told that they are just bringing room service in line with hotels to which I replied "but you normally don't prepay for meals at a hotel". Secondly P&O UK have now taken internet charging to a new level so much so that we just didn't bother with it for the first time ever. Thirdly freedom dining is anything but if you want a table for 2 then expect a wait time of 30-45 minutes! Our balcony cabin was on the Lido deck which was great for access to the Horizon buffet and Crow's Nest. The ship is looking a bit tired but I'm told it is going to a refit in Jan 2019. I have thrown out TV's better than the one that was in the cabin. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Although one of the older ships in the P and O fleet, the Aurora is beautifully maintained. The Art Deco touches around the ship give it a real sense of style, and all the public areas are smart and attractive. Because it is a smaller ... Read More
Although one of the older ships in the P and O fleet, the Aurora is beautifully maintained. The Art Deco touches around the ship give it a real sense of style, and all the public areas are smart and attractive. Because it is a smaller ship, it is easy to find your way around, and feels intimate, but not crowded, and at around 1800 passengers, there seems to be space for everyone. This was a winter cruise, so it was no gauge of normal demand for sun beds, but we never had a problem getting a seat in the Theatre or a drink in the bars, and although peak demand at breakfast and lunch in the buffet meant it was very busy, it was still possible to find a table. This was my second cruise on Aurora, and it has become my favourite P and O ship. Personal preferences are very subjective, but for me it has a much better atmosphere than the much larger, more modern and bland, Britannia. There are several bars, with styles including Gentleman’s Club, pub and nightclub, and they are all beautifully decorated and well maintained. Waiter service was, on the whole, quick, friendly and efficient, with just an occasional (but understandable) slight delay at peak times, such as just before dinner. Some bars were not open during the day, but provided ideal spaces for those who like to sit and read, and for daily activities and quizzes. However, drinks were often available in these areas through waiter service from another bar. Prices seemed to be around the same as most pubs at home. Two main dining rooms offer Club dining and Freedom (anytime) dining, with Speciality dining (at an extra fee) offered in Sindhu, The Beach House and The Glass House. All are well decorated and attractive. On this cruise, we ate only in the Medina (Freedom Dining) restaurant, and the very friendly waiter service was exceptional. Despite it being Freedom Dining, we ended up in the same section (mostly on the same table) for several nights, and got to know our waiters as much as we would have in Club Dining. The waiters also got to know us and our preferences, and treated us as friends. This was an unexpected bonus, and very different from our Freedom dining experience on other P and O ships. The food was of very good quality and we enjoyed every meal in the MDR. However, the menu choices seem to have changed a little with P and O over the last few years. Presumably because of their emphasis on Food Heroes, etc., menus include a lot more “fancy” dishes. Again it is just a question of personal preference, but for me this restricted the menu choices a little, as I enjoy fairly plain food, and don’t eat a lot of fish. However, for those who like fish, there seem to be a lot more fish options on the menu. Unfortunately for us, the Beach House, which has always been a feature of our previous cruises, has changed the menu, so that the wonderful kebabs are now fish based, rather than meat. As is usual for P and O, the MDR menu includes “always available” items, such as steak and salmon, but these disappeared on Gala nights, which made menu choices very limited. Food in the Buffet was consistently good at breakfast and lunch, with varied choices, and service was efficient and friendly. I was travelling with a friend, so we had booked a twin larger inside cabin on B deck. It was spacious, with a full size sofa and plenty of wardrobe space, even though we had bulky clothing for the winter weather. Our steward kept the cabin and the bathroom beautifully clean. The entertainment was very good. The Headliners Theatre Company’s own shows were some of the best I have seen, and there were four during the 10 night cruise. Normally, cruising with P and O means seeing shows that you have already seen on other ships and cruises, but the shows on this cruise were new to me, and very well performed, and included a superb Christmas show on the last night. Guest performers included the Four Tunes (who are a P and O favourite, and are consistently good), an excellent ventriloquist/comedian, Gareth Oliver, Helen Ward-Jackson (vocalist and Adele tribute act). The port presenter, Sam from the shore excursions team, was one of the best I have seen, and made the presentations much more interesting than the usual “just selling excursions” type of talk. There was the usual selection of daytime activities, with the addition of two game shows, based on The Chase and Pointless. The Entertainment Team presenters were enthusiastic, but clearly too young to understand some of the questions and answers! The itinerary was what attracted us to the cruise. Ports of call were Hamburg, Copenhagen (overnight), Oslo, Amsterdam and Bruges. Hamburg and Bruges crop up on so many cruises, but I hadn’t been to Hamburg before. Unfortunately it was not only very cold, but wet, and we had to take refuge in a shopping centre to get dry and have lunch. Two Christmas markets, but we didn’t really get a chance to gauge what it would be like in better weather as somewhere to visit (despite driving round the city three times when our shuttle bus driver got lost!) We had visited Copenhagen previously, and loved it, but the overnight stop meant the opportunity to visit the Tivoli Gardens in the dark to see the Christmas decorations and lights, and this was magical. A beautiful city, and three more Christmas markets. We used the shuttle bus to go back to the ship in the evening, but the city centre is a reasonable (and very pleasant) stroll from the ship. Oslo was wonderful. It was a clear, sunny (but cold) day, and the ship was moored five minutes walk from the City Centre, alongside a military fortress which now has the grounds open to pedestrians, and this gave us some lovely views of the city, the port, and our ship. There was a very big Christmas market in the City centre, and a lot of great shops. We walked (about 30 minutes) to the Vigeland Sculpture Park; this was a pleasant stroll with plenty to look at, and the sculptures were amazing. Well worth a visit, but if you are able to walk it is not worth paying for a ship excursion to go there. Disappointingly, we had to miss Amsterdam because of high winds, and so arrived at Zeebrugge at 5pm on the Thursday instead of 8am on the Friday. Shuttle buses were laid on into nearby Blankenberg, and a couple of last minute evening excursions were arranged for those who wanted to go further afield. We did go into Blankenberg, but there is little to see or enjoy in the dark at this time of year! We had already booked a day trip to Bruges for the next day, and on balance we thought this was worth the extra cost. Despite being called “Bruges on your own”, there was a guide who gave a running commentary all the way there and back, and led the way from the coach park to the city centre, as well as answering any questions. A chocolate box pretty city, but unfortunately it was again a wet day, so we decided to take a mini-bus city tour and this enabled us to do some sight seeing in the dry. Embarcation was very quick and very friendly - we were on board within 15 minutes of leaving the taxi. Disembarcation was much slower, and it was crowded and hot being herded into the Theatre to wait until we could leave the ship. The North Sea was a bit rough, but no more than we expected at this time of year. (The very entertaining Captain, Neil Turnbull, apologised for the potholes in the road on several days!) This was a very enjoyable cruise, and at £75 pppn, very good value. There were many people on board who were doing the trip for the second or third time. As usual, we met some lovely fellow passengers, who became wonderful cruise friends. The Christmas decorations on board were wonderful, and on one day the Entertainment team sang carols in the Atrium, complete with surprise snow falling from the upper gallery. However, in their advance emails, P and O had emphasised the festive nature of the cruise, with the ship smelling of mince pies and mulled wine. No doubt mince pies were around somewhere, but I could find mulled wine only in the deck bar by the pool. Having said that, plenty of fellow passengers wore their Christmas jumpers to create their own festive atmosphere! All in all, a wonderful cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Hamburg, Oslo and Amsterdam sad well as Copenhagenn and Zeebrugge which we had previously visited. Unfortunately we did not make Amsterdam due to severe winds in the North Sea. We loved the food ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was visiting Hamburg, Oslo and Amsterdam sad well as Copenhagenn and Zeebrugge which we had previously visited. Unfortunately we did not make Amsterdam due to severe winds in the North Sea. We loved the food and always ate in the Medina restaurant on anytime dining and enjoyed the company of all the people that we met. The entertainment was brilliant especially Helen Ward-Jackson who sang Adelle as well as Cabaret songs on another night. We really enjoyed the Four tunes especially their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. the headliners theatre group were also great to watch and possibly the best crew ship singers and dancers that we have experienced. We did three organised tours and we were more than happy with the costs incurred. Our cabin D143 was kept spotlessly clean by our cabin steward Val and he is a credit to P & O. Aurora is a lovely ship and a joy to travel on it is the right size of ship please do not decommission it as it is a perfect size! Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Our friends had been trying to persuade us we would love cruising for many years, so this year we decided to give it a try. We chose the canary cruise as it fitted in well with school holidays. We have a 10 year old boy and also travelled ... Read More
Our friends had been trying to persuade us we would love cruising for many years, so this year we decided to give it a try. We chose the canary cruise as it fitted in well with school holidays. We have a 10 year old boy and also travelled with friends and their 10 year old. The night before, we stayed at the Southampton Central travel lodge. This was clean and comfortable. Parking was limited, but we were able to pull up outside and drop off/pick up luggage, and there was plenty of parking a short distance away. The hotel was well situated, near to the shopping centre where there was a great selection of restaurants and bars. The embarkation process was great. We arrived 30 minutes early, handed over our car and were processed straight onto the ship. I don't know if they were using more than one entrance, but we did notice later that lots of families had had their photos taken on boarding the ship; we never had that option. Once on board, we did feel that we were not given much information about the sequence of events. We were anticipating a mandatory safety drill (which happened efficiently) and were looking forward to the 'sailaway'. Unfortunately we missed this as there were no announcements made. Our cabin was great - very clean, reasonably spacious and very comfortable. Our steward was efficient and very unobtrusive - our son had a sofa bed, which he said was more comfortable than his bed at home, and this was cleared away in a morning whilst we were at breakfast and set up again in the evening whilst we were at dinner. The toilet blocked a couple of times, but a quick phone call to reception and the problem was sorted very quickly, from outside the cabin. The food was amazing! We had breakfast and lunch in the Horizon self service restaurant, where there was a good choice of hot & cold dishes. Although it was school holidays and the cruise was fully booked, we never had any problems in getting a table or having to queue for food. The staff were very efficient at clearing the tables and keeping everything scrupulously clean. We had afternoon tea twice, once in the Medina restaurant and once in the buffet. The tea was nicer in the restaurant, but I preferred the flexibility of the buffet where you could choose the exact cake you wanted without feeling you might be depriving someone else on your table. I am sure, however, that if we had requested extra cakes it would not have been a problem. We were on freedom dining and always dined in the Medina. The food was fantastic - always lots of choice and the waiters were friendly. On a couple of occasions we praised a particular dessert and they brought us a second helping! Our son is a fussy eater, but even he managed to find lots of things he liked from the children's menu, and the staff were great at bringing the kids meals out quickly so they could go to kids club and we could continue our meal at a more leisurely pace. There was also a fantastic buffet at 10;30 pm, but sadly we were usually too full to manage any. We went to a few shows - one based around 70's hits, a Queen tribute and an Adele tribute. They were fantastic. I would advise arriving in plenty of time if you are in a group and want to sit together. We felt the family bingo was a bit lacklustre, and the prizes were a bit naff, but the normal bingo was great fun. Our son and his friend adored the kids club. They were given an itinery at the beginning of the cruise so they could select what they wanted to go to and they wanted to go to everything!! The premises looked a bit sparse for their age group, so we were a bit wary, but they obviously kept them well entertained. Our son is not very sporty, so we were surprised that he often chose to participate in the football coaching, but they really boosted his confidence which was lovely. We didn't really do many excursions as we thought the boys would prefer to be on ship, but we walked along the front in Madeira to the cable car which we all enjoyed, although the toboggans were closed. We also did a paid excursion in Lisbon, going on an amphibious vehicle which meant we could see all the sights without the children moaning that they didn't want to walk and they enjoyed the river part too. It was well worth the money and next time we will probably book more excursions. The only minor criticism of the whole cruise was that every talk seemed geared up at trying to make you spend more money. My friend and I went to a pamper party on day 2, which was one sales pitch after another and I had a manicure which was excellent but spoiled by the pressure I felt to book another treatment. I was also a little concerned about treatments which were being advocated to treat health conditions, as I felt that people could be misled and some of the claims sounded rather spurious (I am a doctor myself). Overall, we all agreed that it was the best holiday we had ever had - so much so that both families have booked another cruise for next year. Unfortunately, one of our cases went missing at Southampton. No one seemed particularly concerned to help us, or the other handful of families who seemed to have befallen a similar fate. Eventually, we had to fill in a lost baggage claim and are still waiting to find out if it will be returned to us. On the plus side, I have not had to do much washing!!! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
This was our first time cruising and we are glad that we chose P & O's Aurora to celebrate our special anniversary year. From check-in to disembarkation, the whole P&O experience was extremely smooth and efficient. We ... Read More
This was our first time cruising and we are glad that we chose P & O's Aurora to celebrate our special anniversary year. From check-in to disembarkation, the whole P&O experience was extremely smooth and efficient. We chose CPS parking to leave our car with, and felt like VIPs when we arrived as they unloaded our cases and took our car away. Having been quite independent travellers having to encounter airports over the past few years, we found the whole having your bags efficiently delivered to your cabin for you quite a wonder. Disembarkation was equally as efficient thanks to both P&O and CPS's services, with our bags delivered outside and our car ready and only a short walk away. Aurora is a traditional mid-size ship with plenty going on, but not so large that you get lost or feel intimidated by too many fellow passengers. The public areas are all very smart and clean and we particularly liked the ‘Crow’s Nest’ bar overlooking the front of the ship. We mainly picked this cruise because of the itinerary (including Venice and Dubrovnik), but we also enjoyed the relaxed sea days between days in port. We had fantastic weather, so spent many an hour sunbathing by one of the three pools or dolphin watching. There were plenty of sun-beds and chairs on deck, so didn't ever encounter any arguments over people marking their favourite spot with towels. The only negative about the Aurora was the onboard gym which was quite small with limited equipment. Even though we are gym bunnies in our home life, the lack of equipment and efficient air-con gave us a good excuse to take a break from the gym and walk the lovely prom deck instead which was much more fun. The food and service on Aurora was excellent. We were on Freedom Dining and never encountered getting a table at the time we wanted to dine (which was generally quite early) whether we wanted to share or have a table for two. We generally ate in the Medina restaurant for breakfast and dinner, as we felt we would be less likely to overeat when the food is served to us. Both the food and service were excellent here - we especially enjoyed the Beef Wellington which was served on one of the Marco Pierre White Gala dinner nights. Also enjoyed occasionally visiting the Medina for afternoon tea as the scones were beautifully warm and fresh. The MaitreD' and all the staff were friendly, polite and efficient, as were all the staff onboard who would always give you a friendly 'hello' when you passed them. The Horizons buffet was also pretty good - the hot meals were generally quite traditionally British such as a daily roast dinner (possibly to please the older crowd), so we generally opted for the salads and cold meats and fish which were all good, as were the yummy desserts. We also tried the speciality restaurants 'Sindhu' and 'The Beach House', the former being excellent but the latter not so (just bigger portions of American style food). There was plenty to do on the ship, especially on sea days, and everything going on was outlined in the daily 'Horizons' pamphlet. We particularly liked the quizzes and destination talks by Sam, but there was also activities such as deck quoits, shuffle board, water colour painting etc etc for those interested. There were clubs for the children, so despite it being the school holidays it never felt that there were too many kids running around. In fact, the children were generally better behaved than some of the old people on board (some of whom, who had perhaps been on too many cruises in their time, were a bit moany!!!). There was generally quite a mixed demographic on board, but more elderly cruisers than I expected with it being school holidays. We noted that the service and facilities offered to disabled guests appeared to be excellent, even though we didn't require this ourselves. On port days, we did an equal mix of organised excursions and our own thing. The tours we picked were all excellent and efficiently organised, the only drawback being the whistle-stop nature of our visits due to the time constraints. We did the 'Classic Mount Etna' on Sicily, 'Venetian Islands and Gondola Ride' in Venice and the wine tasting trip in Sardinia and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. We also noted that P&Os organisation of tenders and shuttle buses was good, the only niggle being our return from Dubrovnik when we had to queue for a while as it was busy and the coaches were having trouble getting in. We loved the way that P&O thoughtfully provided cold water to guests returning to the ship, as it had reached over 35 degrees on some of our port days. Some of the evening entertainment including the resident 'Headliners' was a bit cheesy, but good fun. We particularly liked the 'Destination Dance' and 'New Romantics' evenings which took us back a bit. The highlight was an excellent soul/Motown group called 'The Flyrights' who had the audience up on their feet. Everything was very much geared towards a British audience, from tea and biscuits in the cabin to the 'We'll meet again' show on the last night. I would imagine that non Brits might be a bit bemused by it all! Being first time cruisers, we may be a little starry eyed about everything P&O and Aurora had to offer, but we thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise. So much so that we have already booked for next year! Read Less
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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