Aurora Entertainment & Activities
The Curzon Theatre (Deck 7) has a normal theatre layout with two entrances and raked seating. On our cruise we saw a comedian, a super quartet of male singers -- Viva Voce -- and a Queen tribute group -- QE2.
Daily activities range from the old-time favourites such as deck quoits, shuffleboard and table tennis to line dancing and party dance classes. For card players there are whist drives and bridge, and lots of quizzes throughout the day including a pub challenge and a daily Twenty Teasers. Trivia sheets are left in the Crow's Nest to be filled in at leisure.
The Playhouse (Deck 8): is a cinema with several showings of feature films each day. On our cruise they included "Jersey Boys", "Get on Up", "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and "Hercules".
There's live music in various spots around the ship, plus nightly karaoke and a late night disco into the early hours. There are three main entertainment venues and as part of the refit all sound and lighting equipment has been upgraded.
Carmen's (Deck 7): A large show lounge where we saw the Headliners' production show, "Killer Queen in Concert". The Headliners Theatre Company is a high standard production group of professional singers and dancers presenting musical shows for P&O Cruises. On Aurora they perform four different shows on a seven-night cruise and eight on a 14-night sailing, including a welcome show. Titles of the shows give some idea of the content: "Blame it on the Boogie", "Destination Dance", "Thank You for the Music", "I Write the Songs", "Live 'n' Swinging", "My Generation" and "Killer Queen in Concert". The show lounge has certain viewing problems for people seated further back, and the fairly low ceiling limits views of the dancers' lifts. At night the Spectrum orchestra plays in Carmen's Lounge for early evening ballroom dancing and for party nights until midnight.
Aurora Bars and Lounges
With 10 bars and lounges dotted about, Aurora is unusually spacious for a medium-sized ship and the only place that was crowded on our cruise was the Crow's Nest.
Champion's (Deck 7): The main pub-style bar, with live music throughout the evening, a small dance space, and a TV screen showing sport. Champion's bar and casino have been refurbished with a new open-plan design, new furniture and improved stage area. On our cruise-instrumentalist Lyn Frederick played each night, interspersed with pub quizzes and karaoke, which takes over from 10:15 p.m. until late.
Monte Carlo Casino (Deck 7): next to Champions's is fairly small, with two roulette tables, two blackjack tables and slot machines.
Masquerade (Deck 7): is a pub by day and turns into a disco hosted by the entertainment team from 9:30 p.m., until late. Under 16s are not permitted after midnight.
Charlie's (Deck 7): is a small bar overlooking the Atrium, with music throughout the evening provided by a cocktail pianist; on our cruise the very talented Alec Negriuc.
Anderson's (Deck 7): is a large space luxuriously furnished in English country house style.
Raffles (Deck 8): Done out in British Raj style, this is a great spot for a pre-dinner drink as it's just by Sindhu.
Terrace Bar (Deck 8): is situated by the Terrace Pool and open from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Crystal Bar (Deck 12): next to the Oasis Spa, is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Riviera Bar (Deck 12): next to the Riviera Pool, opens from noon to 5 p.m., weather permitting.
Pennant Bar (Deck 12): next to the Beach House, is open 9 a.m. until late, weather permitting.
The Crow's Nest (Deck 13): Right at the top of the ship, with panoramic views of the sea, this is the most popular bar for pre- and post-dinner drinks, with music from the Aurora Orchestra and other groups throughout the evening. It is also the spot for sailaway celebrations when the weather doesn't permit them outdoors.
Aurora Outside Recreation
The Terrace Pool on Deck 8, normally reserved for families, was designed with safety in mind and is surrounded by children's rooms. There's a paddling pool for children and a whirlpool and bar. The Riviera Pool on Deck 12 has a whirlpool and is sheltered from the wind by the Lido and sun decks. Three terraces full of deckchairs surround the pool. The Crystal Pool, also on Deck 1, is Aurora's largest, with a sliding, clear glass Skydome, which allows swimming in any weather. It has two adjoining whirlpools and a bar. There are plenty of lounge chairs around the deck of the pool and on the sun deck which overlooks it.
At the stern of the sun deck there is a sports court for tennis, football, cricket and basketball. Alongside, are golf nets. Clubs and balls are provided, or you can use your own. There is also a golf simulator, with 30 different courses to choose from. The entertainment staff host a variety of tournaments. Aurora has an attractive wraparound teak promenade deck that is perfect for walking or jogging.
The sun deck and other outside seating areas are very spacious compared with the size of the ship. Deckchairs seemed in new condition.
The central hub of the ship is the atrium, spanning four decks and dominated by John Mill's dramatic 35 foot sculpture and water feature. The reception, shore excursions desk and shops are all located in this area. There has been an extensive shop refurbishment, and an upgrade of the photographic gallery to include more touch screen technology.
The library has relocated to the former cyb@study space adjacent to the Crow's Nest on Deck 13. It's well stocked with books and has several comfortable seats. The number of onboard computers has been reduced from 14 to 5, and they are now situated in the library. Wi-Fi is available in three package options; The Connect Package (£7.75 for 24 hours) provides social media access and internet messaging services; The Browse Package (£12.50) offers internet browsing (with the exception of video streaming), internet messaging, email and social network access; and The Works Package (£24.95) offers web browsing, including YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music streaming, video calls, email, instant messenger services and social media access.
Self-service launderettes are situated on Decks 9 and 11.