Having read disparaging reviews of the age of the ship, I was expecting to see evidence of that, and to find non-functioning ameneties. All were satisfactory. The quality of the cruise exceeded expectations as far as the ship and its facilities are concerned.
There are grounds for criticism.
The range and quality of evening entertainment was poor. Two resident entertainments, Cool Blue - musicians, and Lyn Fredrick – music and song, were most disappointing. A brilliant band, Calypso, was replaced after a few days with another band, Caravan. The latter would have been very good but for the lead singer. In the various bars, each entertainer takes a 15 minute break every 45 minutes. During the break CDs are played – at a volume which your dog might possibly hear, but you won’t. People exit en masse.
If you enjoy sirloin steak, eat it when you go ashore. Your jaws will hate you for it if you choose it on the Aurora.
There is a bar/lounge called Masquerade. This is the most dreary, ill-designed room I can imagine.
WIFI is rediculously expensive.
BUT there are many more excellent features which made this an enjoyable cruise. Here is a list of some of them.
CHECK-IN. From arrival of taxi to sitting on Lido deck – 20 minutes.
SERVICE. First class in every aspect – Reception; cabin steward; restaurants (all of them); bars; room service (on shore-excursion morning woken by requested ship’s wake-up call and received tray of pre-ordered food and drink 15 minutes later: brilliant;
ENTERTAINMENT (except that above). The Horizon magazine showing the day’s activities is first-rate. The Entertainment Director Jon Bartram is superb, as are the Headliners guys and gals who were tremendous, and their choreography and stage management were superlative. There were many daytime activities: I joined in the cricket and nearly crippled myself. The Dance Instructors Roger and Ann are excellent. Some Jazz would have been welcome!
CABIN. Had an inside cabin and it had all the facilities one could expect. The kettle and provisions were a boon.
FOOD. Masses of it. Menus were varied and adequate portions of decently prepared ingerediants were provided. Give the sirloin steak a miss! Silver service is still provided on the Aurora, surprisingly. The Alexandria is a very pleasant restaurant with sea views. There is a comprehensive choice of wine and the wine service was very good. For celebrations you have to pay for a cake, but the staff decorate your area with ballons, and a large group of waiters makes it special when they gather around the table and enthusiastically sing to you.
We were blessed with terrific weather on a very stable medium-sized ship which we enjoyed very much. If there were any who did not enjoy the cruise, we did not see them. P & O did a lot right. We will go with them again.