I am afraid I have to join other reviews in criticising Aurora, this was our fourth cruise on this ship and we noticed a drop in standards since the last cruise at Christmas 2012. Luckily Captain Turnbull remained the same, just as funny and entertaining as ever, but the entertainment officer was not the usual standard.
Our problems started with the flight from Manchester to Cape Town with a connection at Dubai making it a 24 hour journey to our destination and along with delays made it 28 hours! We were not offered a direct flight and in our naivety we thought a few hours at Dubai airport would be interesting as we had watched a programme about it on television. In the outcome we had to hurry through the airport to catch the onward flight to Cape Town and we had a shock to find we had another 10 hour flight from there. I'm sorry to say but I feel that were to blame for not making us aware of this at the time of booking, in fact when I asked we were told it was an 11 hour More
flight! After this bad experience we had booked at the Hilton Hotel in Cape Town , which was excellent, for three days but because of the ordeal it turned out that we really only had a full day for sightseeing. I think because of the stress of the journey it contributed to my husband being quite ill and having to see the doctor on the ship on our 2nd day at sea. This led to us cancelling our tour in Luderitz which was expensive so with the medical bill this cost us £240 for which we only managed to reclaim £50 on our insurance.
When we joined the ship we felt at once that everyone seemed tired since this was the last leg of the World Cruise. Although it was expensive we felt it would be nice to visit ports in the West of Africa but the two stops in Namibia were very disappointing and we had great expectations of the Cape Verde Islands but we found St Vincent also quite dismal then with a further 3 days at sea to Lisbon the only bright light on the cruise as far as ports were concerned.
The days at sea were very relaxing and we enjoy time spent in the Crows Nest playing our game of 'upwords', I can understand people complaining about lack of daytime activities but that is not a problem for us. We did feel a bit as if we were getting the tail end of entertainment as some of the shows were in the afternoon but generally we enjoyed the experience. The entertainment crew did not circulate as much as on previous cruises and we put the Cruise Director to blame for this. Since Aurora boasts its own cinema this helped to fill the gap in the entertainment. The food was a bit of a lower standard that previously but we found it adequate and from past experience we did not try the Bordeaux restaurant. The cabin was kept immaculate by our cabin steward and he was always finished by the time we returned to the cabin either after breakfast or dinner.
We are quite disappointed with fellow passengers who have complained about smoking on balconies as we feel that is not such a big problem but it seems that P&O have listened to them and stopped it. I feel that some people are too critical of everything but the minority have to suffer. We have never been on a balcony and heard anyone on an adjoining balcony in an evening and the smoke from my husbands pipe usually blows over the sea.
For the first time in 10 years cruising we have returned from this cruise not wanting to book another cruise. We may try again in the future but perhaps with a different cruise line Less