Editor's note: P&O announced a £26m refit of Aurora for November/December this year that will see a number of new features. These include Sindhu fine dining restaurant, with an Indian-fusion menu overseen by Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar, and the Glass House restaurant and bar, with wines selected by TV presenter Olly Smith, will replace Cafe Bordeaux. Both these restaurants are on Azura and Ventura. There will also be a complete refurbishment of the buffet restaurant and Sidewalk Cafe -- including a new Costa Coffee and "Grab and Go" counter -- and the introduction of "Freedom Dining" in the Medina Restaurant, with more tables for two, and Marco Pierre White dishes on gala evenings.
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).
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.
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.
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.
A £3.95 GBP per person auto gratuity is added to your bill daily. Other tips are at your discretion.