By Jane Archer, Cruise Critic contributor
P&O Cruises' Aurora might not be ancient, but, alas, it still looks rather dated -- ship design has simply changed so fast. The mid-ships' gym is so small and in such an unusual location that it looks like an afterthought; the covered balconies likewise look as if they were added at a later date (but were not). Mine was so enclosed the sun rarely managed to shine in.
Aurora attracts families during the school holidays, but essentially it is loved by a more elderly audience who prefer a traditional cruising experience.
Decor is unexciting, which appeals to the older Brits. There is a two-sitting fixed dining system in the restaurants, and dress codes are enforced in the dining rooms and in the main bars in the evenings.
Pre-dinner drinks are a popular ritual, and the theatre was packed every evening -- entertainment was run of the mill, British and heavily rooted in song and dance, and variety from the old days -- but half the ship was in bed by 10:30 p.m. Those who weren't already tucked up, disappeared as soon as the last show ended.
I suspect that it had something to do with the older clientele onboard as I was on a sector of a world cruise; having said that, I can't see the ship ever getting too lively.
Aurora Fellow Passengers
My cruise was almost exclusively full of Brits, which is the norm for P&O Cruises, although there were quite a few Australians doing a one-way cruise from Oz to the U.K. or vice-versa.
Most passengers were retired and aged 60-plus -- a typical round-the-world cruiser with the time and money to spend three months at sea -- but there was a surprising number of younger passengers and even a handful of children, from babies to teens.
Aurora Dress Code
Casual wear is fine by day, but evening dress code is strictly enforced. There are typically two formal nights, two semi-formal nights and three smart casual evenings per seven-night cruise, but this can vary. On formal nights, the dress code is also in force in several bars to stop everyone slipping back to the cabin after dinner to change into something more comfortable. Smart casual is acceptable in the Orangery.
P&O Cruises provides envelopes at the end of the cruise so passengers can tip crew in cash. The cruise line recommends £1.50 ($2.58) for the cabin steward and £1.60 ($3) for the waiter and assistant waiter -- but whether you tip and how much is entirely up to you. Gratuities are not added to the bar bills, nor is there space to add a tip. The same applies to the spa bill.
We travelled down from Lancashire the day before sailing and stayed in the Holiday Inn at Eastleigh. This was a comfortable hotel and a relaxing start to the cruise.
Boarding was stress free as we had priority boarding and we were on ship before ...continue
On P&O the paint was peeling on the ceiling and the steward could not avoid a constPerhaps it is an unfair comparison because Aurora is normally reckoned to be a 4 star ship and Celebrity Solstice 5Star. But P&O try to charge top dollar for their ...continue
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We are just back from a Mediterranean cruise on Aurora that wasn't billed as an "Ancient Civilisations" cruise but could have been, with calls that included La Goulette (Tunis) for Carthage, Heraklion (Crete) for the Palace of Knossos, Izmir ...continue