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5 P&O Cruises Aurora Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Europe - All

We chose this cruise due to the interesting itinerary, as it was visiting a number of ports that were new to us. We had been on Aurora just 4 weeks before (see other review) so were interested to see the improvements. The ship did look ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the interesting itinerary, as it was visiting a number of ports that were new to us. We had been on Aurora just 4 weeks before (see other review) so were interested to see the improvements. The ship did look refreshed but as regular cruisers on Aurora (7 times in 2 years) we had been really looking forward to the new large screen TV's so were deeply disappointed to find that all balcony cabins and above had received them, except the 8 accessible ones (of which we had one). Very poor show P&O, made worse by the fact that our questions on board as to why this was the case were ignored - 3 times. Aside from that, we enjoyed the cruise with, as always, some highs and lows (others will no doubt feel differently but these are just our opinions); Good points - The service in the Medina Restaurant (Freedom Dining) was first class. Food was very good. We did the Chef's Table private dining at £75 a head and it was the best thing we have done on a P&O ship for years and in the company of lovely fellow passengers who are prepared to fork out for top quality. Absolutely superb in every respect. Great initiative P&O - please repeat it. Tony Babb (guest lecturer) gave some fascinating talks. The Headliners show called Applause was superb. The new show 'Astonishing' previewed on Aurora during our cruise. It didn't live up to the hype, but was a welcome break from the usual dated offerings. Best two ports for us were Oporto and Ceuta, the latter being the unexpected highlight (it's a Spanish enclave cut out of Northern Morocco). What a fantastic place. P&O should go there far more often instead of the dump that is Gibraltar (the two are opposite sides of the Straits of Gibraltar). La Coruna, Lisbon and Alicante were all very nice, but only the last of them was new to us. Sorrento is lovely but was a tender port (my wife cannot get off at those as she is disabled) and it took a long time to get off the ship, even though I was booked on a tour. I did a trip to Herculaneum and unfortunately it rained all the time we were there. Our port call to Propriano (Corsica) was cancelled due to rough seas and replaced with Ajaccio. Although we hadn't been to the former but had been to the latter (12 years ago) we were delighted with this change, as my wife would have been stuck on the ship in Propriano but could get off in Ajaccio, which is lovely. Bad Points - As I have said, we were irritated with the fact that our accessible balcony cabin hadn't received the new large TV's that all other balcony cabins (and above) had benefited from in the refit and even more irritated that our complaint about this was ignored, even when I chased them several times. Whilst most people liked Malta, we were underwhelmed. We did a tour around the island and thought that the place looked terribly neglected. Yes it got savaged in the 2nd World War, but we are 70 years on from that now and were struck by the fact that all the private houses were in a poor state of repair (we were told afterwards it's due to their tax structure - you save money if you don't complete it fully!), all the roadsides have stone walls that are either badly built, incomplete or falling down and their 'countryside' looks more like wasteland. Valletta itself was much better, but it took us 45 minutes from being dropped off from the tour coach until we got back on the ship for lunch due to the very poor cruise terminal (just two security lines and massive queues) so we aborted our plan to see more of Valletta in the afternoon as we just couldn't face that queue to get back on again. Messina was the other disappointment. We should have taken a tour here but stayed in the town. This was a mistake. Very little to see and a nightmare to get around with a wheelchair. We were also plagued there by taxi drivers and dotto trian ticket touts, as well as street hawkers. The guest lecturers for the first half of the cruise were of no interest to us whatsoever (one was about football and the other Anne Frank which then morphed into talks on food. Very odd.) Actor Robert Daws was on board for the second half but was put in the Playhouse or Carmen's which had inadequate capacity for the numbers wanting to attend. He was very good but we only managed to see one of his three talks (which had been reduced from four) and the promised repeats of the 2nd and 3rd talks on the cabin TV never materialised. Other things - We had high drama in Civitavecchia . Just after the morning tours left the ship was blown very slightly off the berth by 70 knot winds. For the rest of the day we had to be pinned against the berth by three large tugs and nobody was allowed on or off the ship for 5 hours. As a result we didn't get to look around the town, but spent the day watching the most spectacular seas crashing over the breakwater and damaging a parked car, all from the comfort of the ship, whilst 500 passengers had to wait in the cruise terminal for hours until it was deemed safe to let them back on. The Captain (I won't name him) was a marmite character. We liked him and found his regular announcements interesting and amusing. A number of other passengers found him to be extremely irritating. There was a very good classical pianist and we enjoyed the Take That style group (Beautiful World) .The Runaround Kids were good, even if their humour is a bit infantile. The Adele tribute had a great voice but completely ruined her act when she spoke between songs. I think she was trying to impersonate Adele but it failed miserably. It was excruciating. Apart from the shows that I have mentioned that we liked, the rest of the 'entertainment' was the usual P&O 1970's style TV variety show / holiday camp fodder (which was great in the 1970's but woefully outdated now). Not for us I'm afraid. Fellow passengers were almost all lovely. I'd say that the average age of passengers was early 70's (as is usual on Aurora). Overall an enjoyable cruise with some real high points and a few niggles, but that's a balanced review of the cruise as we found it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was probably the least enjoyable of our 17 cruises with P&O (6th on Aurora), but I should stress that the majority of this was not down to P&O. We did the Northern Lights Cruise during the same 2 weeks last year (also on ... Read More
This was probably the least enjoyable of our 17 cruises with P&O (6th on Aurora), but I should stress that the majority of this was not down to P&O. We did the Northern Lights Cruise during the same 2 weeks last year (also on Aurora) and had a spectacular display of the Northern Lights over two nights, with a weaker display on a third night. This year we had almost permanent cloud cover and on the two ocassions that we saw the Northern Lights they were incredibly weak. If last year was a 9 out of 10 display, this year was 1 out of 10. We also had fog (with the dreaded fog horn disiturbing sleep a few nights) and rough seas, with a lot of sudden lurching, for 24 hours on the return which became tiresome. Other than the 24 hours mentioned, Aurora rode the seas very well. As a point of interest, Viking Sky (the ship that ran into difficulties) arrived in Alta on our second day there and followed us back down the Norwegian coast a few days later. Last year we stopped in Tromso on the way to Alta, which was a lovely place and we really enjoyed our visit there. This year we made a maiden call (for P&O) to Narvik, which was a very poor replacement. Nothing much to see in the town. I also had a bad experience with a P&O tour. I had booked a snowmobile tour at £310 and it was stressed that the price was per snowmobile, not per person, so if you went as a couple you shared the snowmobile and the driving (and paid £310 between you), whereas if you went alone, you paid £310 but had sole use. At the snowmobile centre they tried to force me to share a snowmobile with another passenger when we had both paid £310 each. Naturally I refused, but it was a battle and spoiled the experience. Also the Snowmobiling was supposed to be ‘in mountains and places inaccessible by foot’ but was back and forth across a frozen lake. This was the same as I had done the previous year in Alta for around £100 less. The tour was also advertised as providing the history of the Narvik to Sweden railway line and its role in the Second World War. This didn’t happen either. Worst of all, my complaint about these issues back on board was handled very badly. They preferred to believe the word of the tour agent (who was naturally covering their back) than a customer of some 23 years standing. Very naive and short sighted of them, as we have now decided to do far fewer P&O tours on future cruises as a result. The scenery along the Fjords and ashore is fantastic. We had seen much of it last year, so didn’t quite get the ‘wow factor’ that passengers seeing it for the first time would have experienced, but it was lovely none the less. Temperatures were fine. Just like a cold U.K. winter. Most of the time it was within a few degrees of freezing, with the coldest we had around minus 7 degrees. Last year it was minus 15 to 20 degrees, so much colder. In spite of it not being that cold, the staff decided to keep the very heavy fire doors to the cabin corridors closed on all decks. Whilst this was needed below deck 7 (which is all they did last year, even when it was MUCH colder), this year they decided to do it on ALL decks. This just wasn’t necessary as the areas around the lift areas between decks 8 and 11 were incredibly hot and there would have been far better temperature dissipation with the doors open. We fed this back on the ‘First Impressions’ form and, thankfully, they kept the door outside our cabin open thereafter (my wife is a wheelchair user and, in addition to the door not needing to be closed, it made access to and from our accessible cabin very difficult). Service in the Medina Restaurant was absolutely superb. Well, to clarify, it was superb as far as the waiters and managers were concerned. The wine waiters were poor. Difficult to get hold of and one was actually quite rude. Food was perfectly acceptable, but not quite as good as on our previous cruises on Aurora. One disappointment (noted by many) was the absence of lobster from the Marco Pierre White menu. The current chefs seem to think that us Brits are scared of anything remotely spicy, so tone everything down to mild, bordering on bland. Great shame, as we loved trying all the tasty curries at lunchtime years ago. The Glasshouse and Beach House were great (as always) and whilst the Sindhu Restaurant on Aurora is our least favourite Sindhu in the fleet, we enjoyed Tiffin lunch in there. We met some lovely fellow passengers (including some we had met on previous cruises, which was fantastic) and enjoyed some pleasant chats. The average age of passengers on Aurora is usually mid 70’s (they didn’t quote a figure this time but last year the Captain mentioned the average age was 73) and although we are a few decades younger, this suits us. We aren’t fans of P&O’s ‘1960’s holiday camp’ style of entertainment so tend to avoid much of it, but the Headliners troupe on this cruise were very good (we find that they vary enormously from very good to poor), but sadly left after this cruise. Electra (two female violinists) were absolutely superb. Jane Davey (presenter) was very confident and engaging, but we found that her desire to find a wise crack in almost every line became irritating and diluted the substance matter so much that we lost interest. Stuart St Paul (former stuntman and film director) gave some fairly interesting talks, but was rather full of himself. The Port Presenter (Sam) was very good, other than the Butlins style “if you have been to Norway before, shout ‘whoop whoop’ additions. Dear God, when will P&O wake up to the fact that it’s now the 21st Century! When we disembarked, there were 1,000 workmen waiting to embark to assist with Aurora’s refit in Brest, France. A total of 1,800 workmen will toil over the next fortnight to bring her a little more up to date. We are back on board next month, so will play ‘spot the difference’. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except ... Read More
Very poor entertainment, had a 10yr old with us that hated kids club (couldn’t blame her) same stuff on every night. The spa on the ship was appalling, still kicking myself for not walking out. Bar closed at midnight, nowhere else except room service to get a drink. Staff entertainment didn’t show up on numerous occasions. Was a complete waste of money, hated every moment of being on the ship. Luckily we managed to see some amazing places. Great thing was the room, always clean and tidy. Although they never topped up the mini bar. Found out towards the end that you had to ask and sign for anything after the first night. Plus only complimentary water on the first night! Just constantly felt like there was nothing to do, was definitely aimed at the older crowd. If you want to know how to get rid of fluid retention this is your ship *yawn* Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary and we thought we would try a no fly cruise, never again! Too slow and frustrating. There was apparently damage to the prop shaft thrust bearing so we had to lose a day to Cannes, with ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of it's itinerary and we thought we would try a no fly cruise, never again! Too slow and frustrating. There was apparently damage to the prop shaft thrust bearing so we had to lose a day to Cannes, with a stop over in Barcelona whilst a team repaired the said part, it meant an extra sea day with no additional activities laid on to make up for this. I found the staff on the whole to be very good, our room attendant Jesroy was courteous and meticulous. However some of the dining staff need to learn not be be condescending, I even felt the dining room manager during afternoon tea sneer at me as I asked for gluten free and onion free because of allergy and intolerance to these food stuffs - you would have thought I asked for the earth - I felt like I was an inconvenience. The general age of the clientele appeared to be of the older population which made the music choices and entertainment be for their tastes, whilst it was good, it did not reflect my need - so perhaps this is not the liner for me - I need one that appeals to younger people. The line is obviously well suited to disabled and those with additional needs as I noticed very good care and help of those who could not carry out their daily activities without help. The ship looks aging and in need of a refurbishment. I felt it did not represent value for money - drink packages are not available other than wine for dinner. This makes for a very expensive bill at the end of the cruise which is difficult to budget for. I am a little unhappy with the tipping/gratuities system, according to other passengers and other online sources there is a question as to whether some staff get enough of the tips and salary to be fair. It seems unless a department gets all excellents in the feedback the staff could get reduced payment - I do hope this is incorrect - as the pay for these jobs is low enough without the gratuities being cut from poor feedback which may not relate to how well they do the job but rather systems, or one individual. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Our 10th cruise with P&O but our first on Aurora. Having experienced poor service on a 4 day cruise on Ventura a few months earlier, we were concerned that P&O standards were falling, but our confidence was restored with this ... Read More
Our 10th cruise with P&O but our first on Aurora. Having experienced poor service on a 4 day cruise on Ventura a few months earlier, we were concerned that P&O standards were falling, but our confidence was restored with this cruise. Aurora is a lovely ship. She has all the essential attributes including a wide, full circuit, level (no steps) promenade deck, a Crows Nest and a beautiful design (particularly the tiered stern). Being a small ship (by today's standards) she is easy to get around. We cruised out of the school holiday season so the profile was over 80% retired, which suited us even though we aren't retired, as the passengers were lovely and through Freedom Dining we met a lot of very interesting people who we chatted to around the ship or in ports. The ship had a real 'community' feel. We consider ourselves to be 'foodies' and were concerned at the number of negative comments and reviews regarding the food in the main dining rooms that we had read prior to our cruise. We dined in the Medina Restaurant and can honestly say that the food (quality and choice) was excellent throughout and the service was superb. We had different waiters most days and every single one, bar none, was First Class. The Glass House was fantastic (food and service) but hardly used. The Beach House was lovely but the new menu isn't as good as the one it has replaced. Sindhu on Aurora is poor compared to the version we have experienced on Britannia and Ventura. It is basically an extension of the coffee shop (so very noisy) and, again, the new menu isn't as good as the previous menu. It's a shame that Aurora doesn't have an Epicurean restaurant, as the version on Britannia is our favourite restaurant at sea. Entertainment was mixed. The Headliners Theatre Company was the weakest we have seen. They were good dancers but poor singers. Pianist and singer David Mairs was also poor and could murder some great songs. However, Harmony Duo (classical violinist and pianist), Clare Bonsu (singer), Caravan (particularly Bee Gees tribute) and speaker Diane Simpson were all fantastic. There was very little to do during the day. Our cabin (Accessible Balcony) was very good but, as with all cabins, sound insulation was poor between adjoining cabins. We could hear the TV of the cabin one side and our neighbour the other side woke us up between 5.30 and 6.30am every single morning with a sneezing fit. He made no attempt to stifle the noise so we had no need for an alarm clock. Joking aside, it was infuriating. The TV's on Aurora are pathetic. They are too small to watch, picture quality is poor, reception patchy, sound crackly and no interactive features whatsoever. Having enjoyed the superb versions on Britannia (large screen, HD quality, fully interactive etc), this was going back 30 years. The atrium on decks 6,7 and 8 is narrow and causes bottlenecks. The shops are also tiny. The ship does present some challenges for those in wheelchairs. The Curzon Theatre and Playhouse are poorly designed as there are only a couple of seats where wheelchair users can sit alongside their companion and other less disabled passengers tend to sit in them as they are the only ones that don't involve a step. You cannot get from front to midships on deck 8 in a wheelchair as there are steps. There are 6 doors out to the promenade, but none are automated (there is one automated door out to deck 13). There is an automated door from Champions to the promenade, but it has a heavy solid conventional door behind it (and a No Entry sign!) which renders it useless. In spite of the limitations and shortcomings (no ship is perfect after all), this was our best cruise to date. Aurora is a lovely ship. We experienced friendly and efficient service throughout. The itinerary (Baltics) was superb. We felt no movement at all (although seas were flat calm throughout). The passenger mix was lovely. Food and service in the main restaurant was faultless. This was cruising as it should be. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
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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