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6 P&O Cruises Aurora Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

From jellybean homes in Newfoundland to soaring skyscrapers in New York and from the colours of a New England autumn to blueberry pie and cream in Kennebunkport Maine, this is a cruise that ticks all the boxes. THE SHIP Service ... Read More
From jellybean homes in Newfoundland to soaring skyscrapers in New York and from the colours of a New England autumn to blueberry pie and cream in Kennebunkport Maine, this is a cruise that ticks all the boxes. THE SHIP Service across Aurora was first class. With no waiting around in airports and a speedy check-in at Southampton, it’s no wonder cruise holidays are so popular. Once I had stowed my cases under the bed, I could relax into the cruise and be waited on hand and foot. Pure luxury! Aurora is one of P&O’s mid-size ships with about 2,000 passengers and more than enough crew to make sure every need is cheerfully met. Crossing the Atlantic was a breeze. A guest speaker in the theatre followed art classes each morning and then it was a time for a Costa coffee in Raffles on Deck 8. Afterwards a stroll along the Promenade deck (where three circuits equates to a mile) before heading to lunch, either in Medina (Deck 6) for waiter service or in Horizon on the Lido deck. Food is a cruise highlight and within three days I was putting on weight. Action this day! I spent an hour in the gym most afternoons before playing cards and then ruined things with afternoon tea. Time flies by and, after a pre-dinner drink in Anderson’s (Deck 7), it was time to head to the main restaurant for dinner. The Executive Chef inspired his team to create many memorable meals. The range of fish was impressive and the barramundi, lobster tails and sea trout had excellent flavour. But then so did the sirloin steaks, calves’ liver and lamb shanks. Before you ask, yes I enjoyed the desserts as well – there were always exquisite gateaux on offer but traditional puddings like bread and butter pudding went down equally well. Next stop, an early quiz perhaps or on to the Curzon theatre for a show. The Headliners presented a range of productions including new ones for me, like ‘Applause!’ but older ones such as ‘Destination Dance’ were performed with so much energy that I was happy to see them again. Comedians, singers, instrumentalists and jugglers took to the stage when the Headliners were resting and in the Playhouse cinema recent releases like The Green Book and Yesterday passed a pleasant couple of hours. My sea view cabin was on Deck 8, handy both for Raffles and for the cinema. It was compact but supremely comfortable and my steward, Filipina, worked hard to keep it spick and span. She even found time to chat about my days ashore before rushing to her next cabin. Others in Aurora’s team were just as impressive. Robin John in Utility Housekeeping is one of the many who work through the night to keep public areas sparkling. These young crew members work hard yet Robin cheerfully gave up his time to respond to my request for a length of string I needed in art class – within minutes he had found some for me. Five star service too in the Spa where Dilpreet gave me not only an excellent haircut (just £10 on some port days) but also useful tips for planning a visit to India. Meanwhile, in the restaurants, I will remember Judith – a member of the management team – for her broad smile and commitment to ensuring that service was as it should be. It was, and waiters like Hanif, Marcelino, Costa and Roswin were key players in delivering those high standards. With so many positives, no surprise that the Loyalty & Future Cruises desk on Deck 5 was busy. If senior loyalty manager Hope Lyttle wasn’t keeping waiting time to a minimum, she could be seen around the ship, hosting loyalty lunches and welcoming us to Peninsular drinks’ parties. THE PORTS St John’s, capital of Newfoundland, our first port after crossing the Atlantic, has a long history. It was here that Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless message in 1901 and in his honour we marked his achievement by hiking up Signal Hill to log on and catch up on messages from home. The city is also famous for its colourful jellybean homes, their clapboard facings painted in pastel shades. Like Bar Harbor later and indeed every other coastal town, the locals provided warm welcomes and insights into different cultures. Hurricane Dorian was heading north as we were preparing to sail south from Canada and Captain Neil Turnbull decided in the interests of our comfort and safety that he would take Aurora back into the Atlantic, away from the storm, and return to the eastern seaboard when Dorian had passed by. Although it meant we missed a port, his decision was appreciated. We were rewarded for our patience when we reached Charlottetown. Immaculately trimmed verges, trees fringed with the reds of early autumn and some beautiful churches including the Basilica of St Dunstan made this a town to be savoured. Famed for its links with Anne of Green Gables, the ship’s excursions were soon fully booked. In Boston we faced US Immigration, often a grim affair. But not here. The face-to-face process took place on board with minimal queuing. And, wait for it, the US officials smiled and were charming. Once through, the American dream became reality. In Newport, Rhode Island, the Cliff Walk provided glimpses of mansions, some open to the public, that date back to pre-war times when Newport was a playground for the rich. Further south, Kennebunkport near Portland, Maine, was just as memorable. This is the summer home of the Bush family dynasty and a very classy place it is too, with boutique shops and quiet side streets lined with cafés and foodstores. There we found the ideal spot to test the Blueberry pie and I can confirm that it is delicious, although perhaps I could have done with a smaller slice. In America, I decided, everything is big. New York City was the half way point of the cruise and we had three days to explore. The berth couldn’t have been better, just a 25 minute walk from 42nd Street. Even closer was Hudson Yards where, if you pre-book free tickets online, you can climb to the top of the city’s latest landmark attraction, the Vessel. Once we became used to the grid system of streets, we were quite blasé about stepping out at night to explore Manhattan and enjoy a beer. We even used the subway to visit the Twin Towers Memorial and yet again, the friendliness of the station staff in helping us to navigate the system was impressive. Quite a few passengers took advantage of Broadway to see a show, benefitting from cheaper seats available at registered ticket agencies. The famous yellow cabs were everywhere and happy at night to return passengers to the terminal. But one piece of advice – agree the fare in advance and do not assume that your driver will know the route. They are not like London cabbies although they do share an ability to talk the hind leg off a donkey. WORTH BOOKING? I loved this cruise. Officers and crew were united in providing us with the very best service and even the weather was kind. No surprise, then, that I have re-booked. Next year it will be Canada and the year after, the United States. If this cruise isn’t already on your bucket list, it deserves to be. ....................... (Self-confessed cruise addict David George worked in BBC radio news before his retirement and now writes European city guides and cruise blogs.) Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Had never been to US ........ we have come to cruising quite late.......never thought it would be for us but we have loved those we have done (Baltic, Eastern Med and now this to NY and up as far as Quebec) I read another review about ... Read More
Had never been to US ........ we have come to cruising quite late.......never thought it would be for us but we have loved those we have done (Baltic, Eastern Med and now this to NY and up as far as Quebec) I read another review about this trip and would disagree on a number of points. We always travel steerage! Always an inside cabin, because if rough at sea, I do not wish to see this. We only use our cabin to sleep and to shower. We had a larger inside cabin, midships, which was fine.......we enjoy space and all home comforts at home!! We all enjoy the same food, use the same linen and share the same amenities. Another reviewer did not enjoy the days at sea...........we loved them.......there are so many activities from which to choose! A typical day following breakfast, we'd take advantage of an hour in the gym with a trained fitness instructor, then a quick drink in the Horizon restaurant, then enjoy an hour with a guest speaker, civilised lunch in Medina restaurant......then we'd maybe read for an hour up in the crows nest......before another group activity, perhaps a classical recital before high tea in the Medina restaurant (usually only for a drink) then it is time to prepare for dinner and a show........and if up to it, you could then take in a film in the excellent cinema. I don't know how the other reviewer could have found the time boring......we were spoilt for choice.......I could equally have enjoyed line dancing, ballroom, choir and the painting group and other things but couldn't fit it all in. Something which we found particularly enjoyable, in contrast to the other reviewer, were Terry Brown's talks and even more his murder mystery adventure over several days..... which took a lot of planning ......this was very much enjoyed by those who joined in the fun. We choose freedom dining........we enjoyed the company of new people at each meal, the food was excellent (though some of the puddings didn't quite work!!) but if something isn't good, it will be changed without question .......staff were efficient, professional and charming. And I haven'r mentioned the places we visited.........we were disappointed that the Rhode Island trip had to be cancelled due to severe weather conditions, but I'd rather be safe. We booked many excusions.....you pay your money and make your own choice.......one outing was not good, we gave feedback to the appropriate representative on ship and it was put right. We liked this smaller ship and have booked our next cruise on her....we love the ease of the car parking service......the ship will have another refit before we use her again..... hopefully the windows which have blown will have been replaced along with the once high-end soft furnishings in public areas which are now looking very tired. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We have just returned from a 24 night round trip cruise from Southampton to the USA and Canada which, although it was our 16th P&O cruise and our 5th on Aurora, was the longest cruise we have ever done. Overall, it was a very enjoyable ... Read More
We have just returned from a 24 night round trip cruise from Southampton to the USA and Canada which, although it was our 16th P&O cruise and our 5th on Aurora, was the longest cruise we have ever done. Overall, it was a very enjoyable cruise, but rather than review each of the 24 days, I have summarised the good points and not so good points, from our perspective. GOOD POINTS Good and varied itinerary, with New York, Quebec and our tour to Kennebunkport being the highlights. Aurora is a lovely traditional cruise ship, which attracts a passenger profile that suits us. Average passenger age on this cruise was 73. Approaching New York from the sea is a ‘must do’ experience that you will never forget. Berthing in the Manhattan Cruise terminal, with all the main sights within easy walking distance, was superb and ‘one up’ on Cunard, whose QM2 was berthed over in Brooklyn. The main dining room food was almost always a very good standard. Service and food in the Glasshouse was excellent and it was always quiet in there, which suits us. Although the Sindhu on Aurora is the only one in the P&O fleet that we don’t like - and our one evening meal there was underwhelming - we did enjoy the Tiffin Lunch there. The staff never smile though and don’t seem to enjoy their work - the complete opposite to the Glasshouse team. Port presenter Sam was first class. Exemplary knowledge and detail, all delivered from memory. Jeffrey Holland’s one man play about Laurel and Hardy was the best performance we have seen on any P&O cruise and a real step up from the holiday camp style entertainment that usually prevails. Quite ironic, given that he is best know for being in Hi-di-Hi. Having ORCA whale and dolphin watches and talks was a very welcome addition to the cruise. We also managed to see Sei Whales, Beluga Whales, Atlantic White Sided Dolphins and porpoises at sea, as well as a Bald Eagle and Chipmunk ashore. ‘String & Tonic’, Gervase Phinn, Jeffery Holland, James Pearce and Andrew Killian were all excellent guest lecturers or artists. NOT SO GOOD POINTS Twelve sea days in mostly force 8 to 10 weather is tiresome, and we wouldn’t do another transatlantic by sea unless there were stops both ways. We have discovered that 24 nights is too long a cruise for us, especially with lots of sea days which become repetitive. Our optimum cruise length is now minimum one and maximum three weeks. At least we now know that we would never want to do a World Cruise! A number of passengers came on the ship with coughs and colds and this spread quite extensively. By the end of the cruise, it was almost impossible not to end up sitting near someone who was either coughing, blowing their nose or both. We would have loved the interactive HD TV’s of Britannia, with on demand movies, to help while away the sea days. The old fashioned TV’s on Aurora are rubbish in comparison. Service standards in the Medina Restaurant had slipped from previous cruises on Aurora. Service was too quick at times, with one course immediately following the next with no break in-between. Although you are allowed to enter the Freedom Dining restaurant as late as 9.30pm, they start dimming the lights briefly just at around 10pm to try to hurry guests up, which was unacceptable. Missing a port is always a great shame and we missed Newport Rhode Island. Sound insulation between cabins is very poor. We were disturbed by the people above us pacing up and down in a very heavy footed manner at all hours, which sounded like thunder from below thanks to the metal ceiling. Captain Pembridge insists on doing all 5 of the return transatlantic clock changes at night, which went down badly with passengers, many of whom were used to them being done at lunchtime. The crew that we asked prefer the time changes at lunchtime as well. There should be a P&O policy on this and it shouldn’t be at the whim of individual Captains. Some guest lecturers were scheduled to give talks over lunchtime, which was poor planning. Terry Brown, former police officer, was very engaging but his talks on the outward journey lacked substance, were rambling, repetitive and never really got to the point. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We loved the itinerary therefore we decided to book this 24 day cruise. The embarkation was quite muddled on arrival to the ship however we were allowed in our cabins quite early. Our mini suite was very spacious but also very tired and ... Read More
We loved the itinerary therefore we decided to book this 24 day cruise. The embarkation was quite muddled on arrival to the ship however we were allowed in our cabins quite early. Our mini suite was very spacious but also very tired and the bathroom had paint peeling from the twin hand basins and the bath ( which we never used). Our steward was Savior who was so professional and also very caring and helpful. We have cruised many times before but this was our first time on Aurora. We didn't like the layout because for example, if there was no table available in the Medina restaurant and you were given a charger, you then had to take a lift up one floor and order a drink in a very full Anderson's bar. By the time our aperitifs were served our chargers inevitably bleeped. Very frustrating! Due to the long journey and inclement weather we relied on the ship's entertainment to keep us amused. We enjoyed the many talks particularly the Orka ladies, Terry Brown and Gervais Phinn. There was lots of classes and activities to suit all. The Medina restaurant was always crowded, however we did enjoy the food more so on this cruise. The Glass House and Beach House were delightful however Sindhu was quite dull with no atmosphere. The staff can be a little rude by interrupting table conversation to describe the dish being presented to us. They should be more polite! But joy of all joys, sailing into New York for the first time was amazing. We docked by 45th Street and from our balcony we were right beside an aviation science museum which was an out of service aircraft carrier. Right in front of us in all it's glory was Concorde. New York was busy, as Trump was in town, so some roads were closed for security which impacted on our 'Highlights of New York' excursion. The other destinations were very enjoyable, particularly Boston, Bar Harbour, Halifax & Quebec. We enjoyed a Lobster bake in Bar Harbour, however it was 11.20am in the morning following our drive around a national park. The Cabot Trail in Halifax was delightful with lovely scenery and a charming town called Badecker to meander round and shop for an hour. We also enjoyed the Sugar Shack in Quebec. It was a lovely drive through fantastic fall scenery which ended up in a clearing on a maple syrup farm. The owner was charming and also spoke good English. We were fed with apple pie and maple syrup and then we moved into another shack for a talk on the history of farming Maple juice. They also had a small shop in this building which was much more reasonable than Quebec. All in all there were lots of enjoyable things about this cruise however the ship is long overdue for a refit. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise for the destinations, we have done lots of cruises but never cruised with P&O before but have friends who have so were going on their recommendations. The embarkation was very efficient at the Mayflower cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destinations, we have done lots of cruises but never cruised with P&O before but have friends who have so were going on their recommendations. The embarkation was very efficient at the Mayflower cruise terminal. When we entered the ship we were just directed in the vague direction of the lifts, unlike other cruise experiences where we have been shown to our cabin by cabin stewards. When we arrived at our cabin it was not very clean, dusty and there were hairs in the bath uggh. The 2nd morning the toilet flush failed, it took 3 phone calls and over 1hour to get a response and then it failed again the next day. The service in the Alexandra restaurant was at times very slow, the menu was repetative and some very strange items ie; salt&vinegar icecream, liquorice jelly (I didnt dare to try). I found this the most confusing ship to find my way around in some cases to get from front to back you had to go up a floor walk through to the next lift and then go back down. I much prefer the other ships/cruise lines I have travelled on, Fred Olsen all thier ships and Cunard Queen Elizabeth I will be cruising with them in the future but definately not P&O. I did however enjoy the ports we stopped at with exception of New York which was the most unwelcoming cruise terminal I have ever visited, its just a wharehouse type shed, no information of help desk. When we were walking back to the ship after an evening trip there were bags of rubbish everywhere and rats running in and out of the bushes. We had some very good excursions in each of the ports, I think one of the best was the Sugar Shack in Quebec it was a fun night out and the last port on our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Welcome to P&O - now owned by Carnival Cruise Line.We chose this Cruise for the Itinerary and The Fall.Sadly we ended up seeing only 6 ports of call out of 9. We missed Rhode Island ,Aurora then broke down at Portland Maine and missed ... Read More
Welcome to P&O - now owned by Carnival Cruise Line.We chose this Cruise for the Itinerary and The Fall.Sadly we ended up seeing only 6 ports of call out of 9. We missed Rhode Island ,Aurora then broke down at Portland Maine and missed out on Bar Harbour(we think priority given to The Queen Mary)so had to put up with Michelle Obama stopping one getting on and off the ship in Portland on our second day in Port.Then missed out on St John's New Foundland.Most passengers were angry on board and feel cheated by P&O. Aurora has been a pain since she has been launch and now requires a full refurbishment !? I think she should be scrapped like Canberra !! Don't recommend P&0 to anyone after this Cruise and a nightmare World Cruise on Oriana.The company has gone to the dogs and we now have pigs in the trough in the Orangery.Yes ! Fat passengers who don't know how to behave.Welcome to Butlins on Sea . A waste of money and time and feel Fred Olsen Line have more to offer and smaller ships,to get into various ports like Bar Harbour etc ! Big ships on this Itinerary with tenders no good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Aurora Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.5
Family 5.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

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