Surprised to see a virtually empty terminal for embarkation at 12.30, checked in and on board in 15 minutes!!
The Captain did warn of storm force 7 or 8 on the first night and boy he was right, heavy seas and high winds made for a very bumpy night and following day, it wasn`t much better until late afternoon when it did calm down. Although around half the ship seemed to be stricken with sea sickness, i thought Aurora coped very well in the conditions compared to other ships we have sailed on.
Vigo was stop number one, being a Sunday very little was open, but its quite a nice place to walk around, the weather was lovely around 23 degrees and sunny.
Lisbon was stop number two, a busy city centre with a wide variety of shops and historical buildings, heavy police presence around the city, which we found quite re-assuring, given that Lisbon is well known for pick pocketing and petty crime, another hot sunny day after a cloudy start.
Day at sea, warm and sunny with Dolphins swimming in the sea, wonderful sight!!
Guernsey was supposed to be stop number three, but due to heavy sea swell the tenders from the ship were unable to operate safely, disappointing for us as it was the only port on the cruise we had not visited before, but we could see from our cabin the test run of the tenders and they were not coping at all well in the swell.
The Captain made the decision to abandon the call and headed for Le Havre, the next destination, for an overnight stop.
Le Havre has a great shopping mall "Les Docks" with many major designer stores and other retail outlets. The Town centre is rather spread out and a lot of leg work needed to negotiate the area. Pretty dreary day, cloudy and not that warm either for an August day.
Right, the ship itself, its our first time on Aurora and not sure what to expect given the wildly differing reviews.
In our opinion its not in desperate need for a re-fit, some public room furnishings are looking a bit tired, but nothing drastic. The duty free shop on board is a big bonus, Lite bottles of spirits for Â£10.00!!
The other shops are Mayfair and Piccadilly which sell a range of clothing, gifts, perfumes etc at fairly high prices. The other little shop sells day to day items such as sweets, crisps, also a range of toiletries.
Dining on board we found to be generally very good, the main restaurants were busy and the food very good, The Orangery for more casual evening dining was a bit hit and miss, average food with average quality, the breakfasts and lunches were much better.
The Cafe Bordeaux was well worth the Â£7.50 a head surcharge for dinner, quality and service was supreme, has Marco Pierre White quality stamped all over it.
Also we tried the Pennant Grill for dinner, again a surcharge but again well worth it, open decked restaurant, a very mild evening, excellent quality food served by willing waiters, would recommend to try dining here.
Overall all the staff were helpful and with a smile, our cabin steward was very good, he done the job efficiently without ever being intrusive, top marks.
We did have a water cut off one morning to the cabin due to a blockage elsewhere, but were un-affected by this, as we were off ship when the problem was rectified.
Entertainment on board is generally very good, with two theatres providing evening entertainment and something going on in most other bars day and night.
Seems a more relaxed ship than some others we have sailed on with P and O, child friendly with plenty to do for the younger ones, all in all a very enjoyable cruise despite missing the Guernsey stop.
Please do not take any notice of other comments criticising this ship, there are no major problems, cabins are modern, bright and clean, more TV channels also added, food and entertainment is good, book without hesitation, we will definitely be sailing again on Aurora