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43 P&O Cruises Aurora Europe - All Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we thought the itinerary looked really interesting & we wanted to experience a smaller ship - we had only ever cruised on Britannia before.We were checked in promptly by friendly staff at Southampton & ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we thought the itinerary looked really interesting & we wanted to experience a smaller ship - we had only ever cruised on Britannia before.We were checked in promptly by friendly staff at Southampton & quickly found our balcony cabin on B deck. T The Horizon buffet was very well arranged & a very pleasant area to sit in, there always seemed enough seats for everybody. As we expected the food was the same as Britannia. We were freedom dining so dined in the Medina dining room each evening. This was lovely, sometimes we shared a table & other times we had our own table. If a table for 2 was not available we only had to wait a few minutes. The food was excellent, served beautifully & always hot. The waiting staff were on the whole very friendly & efficient. We also had afternoon tea (at 4 p.m.) in this restaurant which was superb. The entertainment on board was outstanding especially the Headliners Theatre Company who were fabulous, there was also a good variety of other entertainers & most evenings we saw two shows - on either side of dinner. On the sea day afternoons there was a concert pianist who gave a an enjoyable recital of well known classical pieces. The weather as we set off & on the first sea day was windy (force 8) but Aurora handled it well, in order that we were able to dock in Hamburg the captain sailed at full speed & we docked in Hamburg about 10 hours early - the alternative would have been out at sea waiting it out in very rough conditions. Our first port of call was Hamburg, there was a shuttle bus which dropped & picked us up close to the Rathaus (town hall). It was an interesting city & had a great Christmas Market. It was damp & cold but it didn't spoil our visit. In Oslo, our second stop, we docked next to the fortress which was brilliant & handy .It was extremely chilly but dry & a great place to visit before Christmas. Next stop was Copenhagen, a shuttle bus dropped us off in the centre & we walked backed to the ship both days. Our final stop was Zeebrugge - here a shuttle bus took us to nearby Blankenburg. From here there are hourly trains to Brugge, which take 15 minutes & cost 5 euros return. A beautiful city which looked extra special with the Christmas decorations. By the end of the cruise we loved Aurora & would probably now choose her over Britannia - never thought we'd say that! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Been 6 times now and this was up there with the rest of them. SHIP Been on the larger ones but Aurora is my favourite. Very attractive ship with lovely wide Promenade Deck and tiered aft. RESTAURANTS Medina and Horizon ... Read More
Been 6 times now and this was up there with the rest of them. SHIP Been on the larger ones but Aurora is my favourite. Very attractive ship with lovely wide Promenade Deck and tiered aft. RESTAURANTS Medina and Horizon restaurants were excellent as always. Great selection of food and always fresh and hot. Everyone smiled and welcomed guests in and out. Where we had to wait for a table for two in the Meridian the wait was only 25 minutes max. Just enough time to pop to Andersons bar to enjoy a pint. We also paid £15 each to see the galley where they make and prepare all the dishes and it was a real eye-opener. Spotless and everyone working to a Trojan standard. Told there is only one Soup Chef and one Potato Chef, etc. This is partly so if there are any complaints the Galley Manager knows who to talk with and also where they are only cooking these items day-in-day-out they always come out perfect. If you do this make sure you have a very early breakfast or none as the visit starts at 10.30am and they serve large trays of canapes along with Champagne. SERVICE Five star throughout. Many staff who you made eye contact with would say 'Good Morning/Afternoon' as they passed you in the corridor. This included the lowest-ranked staff all the way up to the officers. Ask for anything and you will get it. SHOWS The Headliners Theatre Company performers were outstanding as were the comedians and guest singers. The show choreography was also really good. ISSUES Just a couple. Room Service used to be free. It still is for breakfast but other things are chargeable now. The mattress was only 5 years old but was one with springs that had had their day. Woke up the first couple of mornings with bad backs but reception sorted it. When booking it is also not made clear that you CANNOT do Freedom Dining unless you are a Select booking or you are very lucky. We assumed Select booking meant you could choose which fixed dining time you could have, ie 6.30 or 8.30. We assumed that Freedom Dining was for everyone - but beware it isn't. The dining Manager showed us a list of over 150 people who were trying to change to Freedom Dining. Maybe some of these also made this mistake. Due to personal health reasons we did manage to get this changed and greatly thank P&O for this. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First cruise to the Baltic and turned into a wonderful experience. Lots of variety in ports and a different experience in each. First time also on this ship and instantly became my favourite Service was excellent Food terrific ... Read More
First cruise to the Baltic and turned into a wonderful experience. Lots of variety in ports and a different experience in each. First time also on this ship and instantly became my favourite Service was excellent Food terrific Entertainment amazing. Best singers and dancers yet. And Paul Ruck tribute to Eric Clapton is as good as it gets Photography team were also brilliant and came away with 30 AFFORDABLE photographs Stateroom a little on the small side but it didn’t matter The ship has large choice of venues and areas for relaxation Never even used two of the pools and one was enclosed Balconies a little tight but again not a problem Stateroom service was excellent and unobtrusive Buffet option was more than adequate Occasionally experienced strong winds and the ship handled it really well Excursions including embarking and disembarking were dealt with very efficiently and excursions very good value Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
The Journey to Southampton We got the free coach as part of our Select fare from Bolton to Southampton.  Thankfully we did, as there was a crash on the M6 which closed the motorway. After a long, nearly 9 hour journey through the back ... Read More
The Journey to Southampton We got the free coach as part of our Select fare from Bolton to Southampton.  Thankfully we did, as there was a crash on the M6 which closed the motorway. After a long, nearly 9 hour journey through the back roads of Wales, we arrived in Southampton at around 4:45pm.  We were due to arrive before 2pm, with Aurora sailing at 4:30pm.  If we had not taken the coach, conceivably we would have missed our cruise departure.  The coach itself was fairly comfortable, it was a new 19 Plate one of the grade given to football teams by Ellisons.  Sadly, the seats were slightly hard as they had not yet been broken in.  All in all, it was fantastic and we will definitely take the coach to Southampton as it was a stress free way to start the holiday. Checking In Process We hurried into the terminal after getting off the coach, and were processed very quickly by the team at Southampton.  They were happy that the final coaches were arriving, and they could finally get Aurora underway.  Check-in was very smooth, they scanned my husband's card for payments, took our passports, and gave us our cruise cards.  They did retain my husband's Australian passport (but returned it before St Petersburg.)   After checking-in we went through security quite similar to an airport.  All hand bags were scanned through x-ray machines, and we went through metal detectors.  These are quite sensitive, and security staff were telling everyone to leave on their watches and keep their wallets.  This led to some frustrations when the detectors kept going off.  Just a heads-up that you might want to put everything in a jacket pocket to go through the x-ray to avoid the pat down/run over with wand mess. Boarding Aurora We then went on board Aurora at reception on Deck 5.  First impressions were that it was a lovely ship, with a bright vibrant interior.  Not overdone, and more classically decorated.  There was a photographer at embarkation, but he was busy with a larger group so we slipped by unnoticed.  We grabbed the midship lift to deck 10 (B Deck) where our cabin was located in the forward section.  I quite liked the new carpets on B Deck.  We easily located our cabin, which was a large inside.  It had a large King size bed, full size sofa, desk/dressing table, small coffee table, 2 side tables with four drawers each, a large 4 drawer chest, safe, coffee/tea making, and a large wardrobe (2 doors full length with shelf above, 1 door had space for hangable separates).  The bathroom was small but serviceable (and a rather nauseating pink colour) with a shower, toilet, sink and cabinet for goods.  As we were having a look at the cabin, we had a knock on our door with our cabin steward, Elvis, letting us know that our luggage had arrived.  He helped us lug it in, but there was no time to unpack as we needed to attend the muster drill. Muster Drill One great thing about P&O is that they make sure that you are always aware of where you are supposed to be going, with our muster station A printed on our cruise cards.  Our muster station was the Curzon Theatre on Deck 7.  We made our way there through the crew staircase which we were directed to by Elvis.  The drill itself was painless, we grabbed seats near the front, sat through the demonstration, donned our lifejackets and it was time to go.  Even had time to unpack, and enjoy a drink in the Crow's Nest watching the sailaway (and seeing Celebrity Edge go on her maiden) before dinner. Dining on Aurora My husband and I choose Freedom dining, which meant we had to dine in the Medina restaurant on Deck 6.  It is a lovely restaurant, yet again with an understated decor.  Her staff are what makes her a gem, they were all lovely, apart from one pair of waiter's who work near the main doors near the windows.  We had them several times for breakfast, and always found them to be slow, consistently forgetting things, and just didn't seem very interested in their jobs.  This was the only time we ever encountered poor service on Aurora.   We ate most of our meals in the MDR, party because my husband has a disability which makes eating in the buffet difficult for him.  We did not regret this choice at any point in time.  The menu's were varied, we could always find something we wanted to eat, and freedom dining was perfect for us.  If we did not have freedom dining, it is likely that we would have needed to go to the buffet some more as the select times are either a bit too early or too late for us.  On average we ate at 7:30pm each night, some nights we joined a table and others we waited for a table for two which would usually take no more than 20-30 minutes.   The Medina had four sessions of food service a day: Breakfast (varying from a 7am start to a 9:30am finish - this depended on whether it was a sea/port day) Lunch from Noon until 1:30pm Afternoon Tea from 4pm until 4:45pm Dinner from 6pm until 9:30pm There was never any issue with the quality of the food for us in Medina.  We did hear several remarks from people who said they didn't fancy the food and preferred the buffet.  As we did not eat in the buffet much, I cannot comment on the quality and consistency of the food, however, I can certainly state that having a sit down meal is better than the savagery I witnessed in the buffet for the one breakfast and dinner we ate there. The Buffet We went for two meals at the buffet - one breakfast and an evening meal after the first day in St Petersburg.  I have never seen such appalling behaviour from people who are truly old enough to know better.  One of the highlights for me was when I was getting some fruit, my tray on the counter sliding along, selecting things, a woman old enough to be my grandmother kept repeatedly slamming her tray into mine, sighing and making passive aggressive comments to her husband about me.  That was enough.  The food quality as we saw it was fine, but I couldn't bring myself to go back to the buffet after the behaviour.  Additionally, you can never be 100% sure if the food has been contaminated by people who came before you.   The Lido Grill We had a lunch at the Lido Grill, and the food was quite nice.  It was also a bit easier than wading into the buffet as the seating area in front of it is quiet in comparison.  They stock a nice selection of sandwiches, salads, desserts, along with hotdogs, pizza, burgers and fries.   Sindhu Sindhu was a highlight for us.  In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we went there twice, once for an ordinary meal and the second time for the tasting menu.  The food was wonderful, and the amounts were incredibly generous with the lobster biryani containing two full lobster tails.  I fully intend to eat at Sindhu the next time we are on board a P&O ship. The Beach House On the final black tie night neither of us could be bothered getting dressed up so we went to The Beach House for a meal.  It was lovely food, and incredibly well priced.  I would go back anytime I didn't want to dress up again in the future, which is a major bonus for us if we are just knackered and can't be bothered.  If it was an evening casual night, it is unlikely I would go, as while the food is good I do not consider it different enough from the fare in the MDR. The Bars There is a wide variety of drinking establishments on Aurora which are designed to suit your particular wants and needs.  Some are more suited to coffee and tea, and others to boozy concoctions.  We found that we spent most of our drinking time in Anderson's or The Crow's Nest.  The bar staff from Anderson's (in particular) were fantastic.  One quick note about Anderson's and the refurbishment - if they did the Anderson's carpet in the refurb it is already coming up in the back corners and has multiple pulls in places.  Additionally, outside in Charlie's there are several parts where duct tape has been affixed to the floor owing to loose/coming up laminate. The drink selection and pricing on Aurora was incredible.  I was never disappointed with a drink poured to me, and the wine selection in the Glass House and MDR was quite good.  Our bar bill was incredibly reasonable - coming in at around £500 for the two of us over a 14 day period.  We did not deprive ourselves of anything, as we drank what we wanted when we wanted, and had a bottle of wine every night with dinner.   One complaint was that Champions would advertise that they were going to be playing sport, but would then instead host quiz or music with branding of these events also being shown on all TV's.   The Entertainment We did not go to many of the shows as they did not sound like our cup of tea and spent more time listing to the musician's who were all talented.  One show we did go to was to see Deano as Phil Collins - I suspect I did this as much to bother my husband who dislikes his music as I did because I wanted to see it.  Being married has to come with perks, right?  The Laundrette Wow.  Just wow.  The laundrette was both useful and a massive bone of contention among passengers on the ship.  When I first went to the laundrette, I was confronted in the Deck 11 Forward one with eight very angry pairs of eyes staring into mine silently demanding to know what the hell I was doing there.  Feeling so unwelcome I backed away and went to one on Deck 5 Forward.  This is a much tinier laundrette and can be quite hard to find.  I managed to do my laundry there, and while talking to a crew member, a call came through that there was a 'disruption' in the Deck 11 Laundrette.  I'm glad I didn't stay there. The second time I used the laundrette, I made sure I was outside the Deck 11 one when it opened at 8am.  Someone had left clothing in the dryer from the evening before, and waltzed in at around 9:30 am to collect it which left some people waiting for a dryer.  If it had been me I'd have put it in a basket, but no one else wanted to do that. The machines on board are quick with a wash taking about 45 minutes, have cold and warm water settings, and have the option for an extra rinse.  The dryers work very quickly with it taking about 45 minutes to dry a large load.  There was no facility to purchase washing powder that I saw. The Internet In a word: Useless.  My husband needed to use the internet at sea to complete something which at home would have taken 30 seconds.  Speak to the in-charge in the library who tells us each webpage will be max 1 minute to load.  So we decide to use PAYG.  Never again.  30 minutes later it booted him, which is something we didn't know could happen, and he never accomplished what he needed to.   We complained to reception about the service they provided and the information we received from the internet in-charge.  They did not care and offered a derisory 20% off.  So I complained by letter to the HGM who righted it within ten minutes of reading my letter and refunded the charge with an apology.  It shows that the best way to have things dealt with is to consult management rather than the people on reception who seem relatively unable or unwilling to act in this case with the reception manager. The Dress Code On board we had four black-tie nights and ten evening casual nights.  For the black-tie nights we attended (three out of four) we conformed to the dress code with tuxedos and gowns on display.  However, I did get some snarky comments from people lining up for dinner at 6pm when we were off to Anderson's for our pre-dinner tipple.  Apparently to some individuals on board conforming to the dress code is 'showing off' and being 'overdressed'. The Evening Casual nights said no jeans for women, casual separates or a dress.  However, as the cruise continued I became a little more lax in my dresscode and my dark jeans were never questioned in the MDR.  They are, however, quite dark.  I did take a selection of cocktail-like dresses with me which were never worn and I stuck to my long flowing skirts mostly.  I also, on the final evening, got away with wearing my bright coloured trainers in the MDR, this may have been because they were feeling charitable knowing my clothing had made its way to the bowels of the ship and I was attempting to drown my sorrows in beer and wine. I think the major takeaway regarding the dresscode is that on black-tie nights, especially as the evening moves on, adhering to the dresscode is recommended and quite enjoyable.  I only usually get to dress like that very rarely so for three nights it was ideal.  I probably will never go to one of the black tie nights on cruises, just to give myself a break, and its also an excuse to enjoy the Beach House.  The evening casual nights - don't sweat them too much - a nice sundress, casual (non-jean) pants and sweater, or a neat business dress are all perfect.  You won't feel overdressed or out of place.  One interesting thing on Aurora was that Black and White night was not adhered to as strongly as I suspected it would be.  Many women were wearing pastels or bring sparkly red jumpsuits!  I did my bit though. The On Board Upsells We admired P&O's restraint when it came to the on board upsells.  The photographers were there - in the Horizon they told you where they would be and you could line up for a photo - but they were rarely, if ever, in your face attempting to force you to have your photo taken.  The way they sold photos was much better than MSC, where the photographers grabbed and shoved people to take their photo.  It was not at all intimidating, and there was no obligation to buy if you did opt to have the photos taken. The shops were lovely, had some nice things for purchase on board, but we did not purchase anything from them - not even duty free.  On board, P&O had brought on a speciality seller of Baltic goods including Amber jewellery and Russian arts and crafts.  Some of these were incredibly expensive - with a set of nesting dolls I saw purchased costing £2,250!  I did buy my amber jewellery on board, and found it to be good value versus what I found on shore in St Petersburg which may have also been fake.  Later in the cruise they had a lovely Russian market where we got a book about St Petersburg and some bits and bobs. I'll detail the other events P&O ran which we took part in below. The Wine Tasting This started at 11:30am, and I would have much preferred if it had instead started at 1:30pm.  We started with a glass of prosecco and moved on to taste five different wines.  They were all lovely, and Samir, led the talk well.  It was an informative, and very alcohol soaked experience which I would gladly do again.  Thankfully no spit buckets! Scenic Sailaway The Scenic Sailaway from Stockholm took place on the forward deck sections on each floor - we were allocated to B Deck (10th floor).  We were treated to a large variety of cocktails distributed on our deck by the lovely gents from Anderson's.  A favourite of mine was when one bar steward thanked us for making his tray lighter every time we took a drink off.  Was very enjoyable and managed to sup back about six cocktails.  Oh and be called crazy by the Captain after waving at him like a mad woman when we saw him on the bridge.  He's probably on to something! Champagne Galley Tour This event started at 10:30am, with a glass of champagne in the Medina Dining Room.  We were then taken in groups to the kitchen to meet the Executive Chef and learn how the kitchen operates.  We saw the hot and cold food sides, plus the bakery and wine storage.  It was very interesting to see, and meet the staff who work so hard to make so many tasty meals.  It is interesting to hear their experiences, especially the poor dishwasher who was not sure what to do when people started asking myriad questions about the industrial dishwasher.  After the tour we exited in the Alexandria Restaurant on Deck 6 Aft where we had more champagne and some canapes.  Overall, it was a lovely tour and I'm pleased we did it. Martini Class Finally, a great start time for an alcohol fueled day drinking session: 1:30pm!  This was held in Anderson's Bar at the counter, as we were told about four different martini's: the classic gin martini (with shaken and stirred varieties shown), the cosmopolitan, the English Breakfast martini and the French Martini.  The English Breakfast martini was my favourite, while my husband was partial to the French martini.  The English Breakfast martini is not on the menu, but you can ask for it in Anderson's and they will make it.  I would definitely do this talk again, for the cheap martini's if nothing else! The Ports Kritiansand In a word: Boring.  We left the boat early when it first docked, took a fetching photo of my husband with a stuffed moose, walked around the town centre, picked up some souvenirs and reindeer salami and went back to the ship before 11am.  We then spent the rest of the day at leisure.  I believe there was a lovely nap.   We did check the prices out for having lunch but found the cost of everything around the fish market and cruise port to be prohibitive.  So we just ate on board the ship.  There were no shuttle buses running as it was a simple walk into the centre.  Pretty, but nothing much to do. Copenhagen We had been to Copenhagen before and did the best thing in the city in our opinion: Feeding Hammerhead sharks at the aquarium.   This time we decided to focus our attention on the historical palaces and touristy areas.  So, we once again got off the ship, took the shuttle into Copenhagen and started following a map for our very own photographic walking tour.  We looked at all of the palaces, along with the parliament buildings and some other historical sites.  After we finished our walk we took a canal boat tour, which ended up being a lovely way to spend our mid afternoon.  After we got off the boat we went for lunch in Nyhavn, which was expensive but tasty and washed it down with some Tuborg.  After lunch we decided to walk back to the ship along the waterfront which was a lovely way to end our day in Copenhagen.   A few things about Copenhagen: 1. It is expensive 2. The Little Mermaid is disappointing for most, yet also manages to be the busiest site in the city.  Key word is in the name: Little. 3. Remember your sunscreen - it was quite sunny there with limited opportunities for shade and my husband caught the sun.   St Petersburg Rather than take a ships tour, we booked the two-day All Highlights tour through TJ Travel.  On Day One we started at the Hermitage, which was an impressive building for its architecture and design.  The building and the art collection are lovely.  However, it was a pity that the Impressionists had been moved out to a new building, and I will need to revisit one day to see the Hermitage's collection.  We enjoyed the museum, but were not able to visit the gift shop, which annoyed my husband as he usually buys books from large museums which contain some of the photos of their collection. After the Hermitage we went to the Church on Spilt Blood which was a lovely church, which is unfortunately undergoing restoration works.  Our guide informed us that after the summer it will be fully under restoration for up to seven years'.  We then had lunch, which was god awful, under-cooked chicken, and soup which was a chicken leg floating in broth.  I was going to be hungry today.  After lunch we drove to Catherine's Palace to see the Amber Room.  It was a lovely palace, and we got lucky in that we got in before the major crowds.  People on other tours said that they had to wait a few hours to get in because of the crowds, in particular large Asian tour groups. We then drove back to St Petersburg and saw the Peter and Paul Fortress.  It was interesting to see it, and take some lovely photos.  After this my husband and I were going on our evening tour and met our guide at another area of the city.  Our new guide was incredible, and helped us understand Russia as it is today.  We went on the Russian Experience tour which included six shots of vodka.  I now think everyone needs to try horseradish vodka once in their life.  Just try it, don't think about it, it sounds like a horrible idea!  We had a lovely time that evening, I managed to buy my father a bottle of vodka, and we got a taste of Russian stout which was quite nice. Our second day in St Petersburg was an earlier start.  We drove into the city and did a canal tour of St Petersburg.  The highlight of this, was not the glorious scenery, but a young man who managed to run from bridge to bridge waving at us for the entire journey.  We gave him 5 EUR, as my husband said he certainly earned it.  We then took the hydrofoil to Peterhof and viewed the fountain park.  As stated above we did not get to see the opening ceremonies, which I would have enjoyed the spectacle of.  We did get a nice tour of the gardens, but it would have been nice to have been consulted regarding how we went about it.  After this we then went to lunch, which was slightly better than the previous day, but was still not very nice.   After lunch we went to Yusupov Palace, which was an interesting experience given the history of the place as the site where Rasputin was assassinated, and also that of the family.  I think it was a highlight of the second day.  We were advised by our guide to not buy the photo ticket and many in the group were unhappy with this advice as they decided they did want photos of the Palace.  Our final stop was St Isaac's Cathedral, which was a lovely church but by then I was all churched out.  My husband and I went through the motions, glad that the tour was nearly over.  We were then shuttled to the TJ Travel office, where we could pay for the tour, and do the 'shopping'.  I think that TJ Travel should be more open about the fact that the only shopping offered on the tour is in the souvenir shop where their office is located.   We quite enjoyed St Petersburg, however, next time I am there I would probably use my cruise line tours.      Tallinn Our next stop was Tallinn, Estonia.  It is a lovely small city with heavily cobbled roads.  As we were walking around the city touring the historical sites, we saw the tourist train as it was going over a set of cobbles.  It was bouncing everywhere and sounded incredibly loud, the poor passengers looked like they were regretting their life choices.  I was pleased we didn't get suckered into using it.  We greatly enjoyed our walk around Tallinn, and we then found a lovely bar underground where we sampled Estonian beer.  We had a lovely, pleasant day, and returned to the ship mid-afternoon and took advantage of the Lido Grill. Stockholm We took the shuttle bus into Stockholm after disembarking with the 'speed of a thousand screaming ABBA fans' as our Captain would say.  After getting off the bus we then just wandered, somewhat aimlessly, through the streets of Old Town Stockholm, enjoying the gorgeous weather.  After our long, mindless amble, we found a lovely restaurant and ate a truly glorious meal while drinking copious amounts of Swedish beer.  Good day all around.  When we were done shopping we got the shuttle bus back to the ship. Warnemunde The final port on our Baltic Adventure was Warnemunde, a lovely German seaside resort.  While many on the boat took the train to Rostock, we decided to just spend time in Warnemunde itself.  We did some shopping - mostly beer and sausages - for my father, and wandered back with our haul to the ship.  After dropping off our mass of goodies (which contrary to his belief I DID manage to pack in our cases) we wandered back into Warnemunde.  There we found a nice bar to have a few pints of pilsner (you can see the theme with our travels?)  After our morning of drinking we went and found some lunch which consisted of sausages in buns, fries and more pilsner from a lovely boat which sold fast food.  During our meal a massive queen bee decided to make my husband her *****, and sat on his head for quite some time.  I ran away.  Thankfully, he's Australian and is much better at dealing with creepy crawlies than I am, and casually allowed her to sit on him until she grew attracted to his ear and decided running along it like a treadmill was a good idea.  There were quite a few bees in Warnemunde - just a warning for those who are bug haters like I am. After lunch we got a lovely soft icecream with chocolate dip.  Mmmm...  And found another bar nearer to the train station where we sat and had a lovely conversation with a German couple over google translate.  We had a fantastic time in Warnemunde, even though we didn't climb the old lighthouse because we're too damn lazy - plus stairs are our mortal enemies.   The Staff The staff on P&O were on the whole exceptional.  Apart from the Reception Manager and the one pairing of waiters in Medina as mentioned above.  Everyone was friendly and armed with a "Good ".  They never let you feel like a bother even when you were disrupting their work.  I would say that the staff are a great asset to P&O, and they are very lucky to have them.   Elvis Our cabin steward was incredible.  Nothing was too much effort.  I asked for ice one day and he brought it every day of the holiday.  He was quick, very efficient and always kept our room at the highest standard - even when my own standards slipped.  He gave great advice during our first days on board which allowed us to make the most of the facilities.  We got to know about him, his home and his family.  If you are on Aurora - or whatever other ship he moves to after November - and you get Elvis from Goa - you are very lucky indeed.   Captain Neil Turnbull The man of the hour, the Captain Neil Turnbull.  Unfortunately, due to a rather serious infection I was suffering from renewing our vows on board was not possible, but if we were to have done it I'm sure he would have been an interesting officiant.  I enjoyed his morning addresses - though I know some did not - and his musings on his two specialist subjects children and Derbyshire.  He always said he would get us off the ship with the speed of a thousand gazelles (or Cossack gazelles, or screaming ABBA fans...) and when we came back he was always pleased someone had not run off with a fisherman.  We met him on the first say in St Petersburg and he seemed to be a lovely affable man.  It was amusing when he complained during an announcement about people complaining about his route to Russia because he was never going to get us there and would ruin their holiday.  His simple reply was that he did not want to scrape his bottom off going any other way.  Backseat driving is bad enough, but I'm not sure I'd handle backseat ship steering from people with such good humour. Things I Would Take Again and Those I Wouldn't So, I packed way too much stuff, but live and learn.  I'll just give a quick list below of things I will and will not take again: Will: Shoe holder for over the bathroom door for toiletries Magnetic Hooks Air Freshner for the Bathroom Electronic tea lights Plug for charging multiple USB devices First Aid Kit Nail Clippers E-Reader Will Not: More than five days' clothing (with the ease of using the laundrettes) Microfibre towels Books (very heavy) Final Thoughts...and will I cruise P&O again (drum-roll...) Finally, we loved P&O.  I must admit that I was concerned we would not like it very much and would be disappointed about the money spent.  The reality is that we have a cruise booked on Aurora in November, and then a transatlantic Caribbean for October 2020 on Britannia.  So, would I cruise with P&O again?  Absolutely.  You need to have your expectations set fairly, you need to understand what you are paying for and what you are not.  Reality is £100pppd for room and full board is a bargain, especially with the high standards P&O hold themselves to.  You also cannot underestimate the value of sailing to and from Southampton (if you live in the UK), especially with free coach travel offered by P&O as part of your select fare.  I look forward to being back on board Aurora, and to enjoying many future cruises on P&O in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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
An excellent cruise to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights. Whilst I did not see the lights, this did not, in any way, detract from a very enjoyable experience.Excellent embarkation procedure - I was in my cabin well before ... Read More
An excellent cruise to the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights. Whilst I did not see the lights, this did not, in any way, detract from a very enjoyable experience.Excellent embarkation procedure - I was in my cabin well before my allocated time. The cabin was ready waiting for me and was well looked after by my steward. I had first sitting club dining and was served by two very attentive waiters. The food was of a good standard and I ate in the Beach House on two occasions - and enjoyed it thoroughly. I didn't go to the theatre shows and so can not comment on them. We made a "maiden" call into Narvik but I wasn't impressed. Also Bergan was substituted with Hargusand (?sp) - again not impressed. However, Alta was wonderful!! The scenery and excursions were brilliant - I went to the Ice Hotel and it was a never-to-be-forgotten experience - and another item off my bucket list. We called at Stavanger on the way home and I found it an interesting place to wander around on my own. The disembarkation process was seamless - I simply waited in the Crows Nest until an announcement was made asking all remaining passengers to disembark then wandered leisurely down to the gangway, through the baggage reclaim and on to the car park - no crowds, no hassle - all very civilised. All-in-all, I enjoyed the cruise so much that I have booked to go again on the same cruise in 2020. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a cruise In Search of the Northern Lights, and sadly we didn't find them! Too much cloud cover. We didn't mind thought as the ship was lovely and we saw parts of Norway including Alta at the very top. Some people were ... Read More
This was a cruise In Search of the Northern Lights, and sadly we didn't find them! Too much cloud cover. We didn't mind thought as the ship was lovely and we saw parts of Norway including Alta at the very top. Some people were very disappointed as the tours were terribly expensive (£135pp for the northern lights tour and £210pp for huskies). We decided to stay on the ship and watch out from there. The itinerary was changed at the last minute, so the ship docked at Haugesund instead of Bergen, which was another disappointment. Haugesund is pretty enough but there is not a lot there. The next stop was Narvik. This is only the second time a P&O ship has docked there, and you can see why! If you are going to this port on a cruise, book an excursion, as there is very little in the town at all. On no account do what we did and walk in from the ship. We were told 40 mins but it was an hour and a half over snow and ice. Also do not be tempted to do the Ofoten railway independently. The ship's tour lays on a bus to bring you back. Without this you would be waiting 4 hours for the train to return. Alta our most northerly stop is of more interest. A visit to the Ice Hotel is well worth doing. Last stop was Stavanger which is a very pretty town to explore. The cathedral is closed for renovations and will be so for a couple more years. Aurora is a lovely ship. Our cabin was F190 which was fine. Midships and low down so it was quiet and did not move about too much. We did have a terrific storm after leaving Alta, and people high up and at the front had a bad night of it. Entertainment was mostly first class. There was a wonderful classical pianist called Philip Smith and a very talented duo of violinists called Elektra. The speaker, Jane Davey, was terrific. She is half Norwegian and gave really entertaining talks on life in Norway. There is certainly no lack of things to do on the ship. We were spoiled for choice. Disembarkation was speedy and trouble free. So a great cruise overall, but I wish the ports of call had been Bergen, Tromso, Alta and Stavanger. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This cruise was part of a package deal offered by our travel agent. While the first part of our trip (bus trip) lived up to and actually exceeded our expectations we were disappointed with the cruise. The food overall was terrible with ... Read More
This cruise was part of a package deal offered by our travel agent. While the first part of our trip (bus trip) lived up to and actually exceeded our expectations we were disappointed with the cruise. The food overall was terrible with the vegies, what there were, being so overcooked and mushy, the salads very lacking, dried out and not pleasant. The cut fruit we so yearned for at breakfast appeared to have been prepared the night before and left uncovered in a cool room. It was so dried out and the worst we have ever had on a cruse. This was in the main dining room so very disappointing. If you just wanted meat on this cruise this would be the cruise for you but we also enjoy our salads, vegies and fruit so for us this was a huge disappointment. In saying that the steak appeared more stewed than grilled which was also disappointing. Not happy at all with the food. We also had to battle for about 5 days to have our onboard credit credited to our account. It was only that there were 31 in our party and most had this problem that we feel they eventually addressed it and sorted the problem for us. While it was just my husband and myself battling to have our account sorted they were not very helpful. The front desk staff tried to help but appeared to be being blocked by their seniors who they turned to for help to solve our problem. It was only after the majority of our party realised their onboard credit was incorrect and started flooding reception with queries that they agreed to help us instead of trying to push the problem back onto us to resolve ourselves. Our cabin was lovely. Our cabin attendant was great and always had our cabin cleaned to a very high standard. It was well laid out and spacious enough for us. It had lots of cupboards and wardrobe room. Very nice. The onboard activities, while plentiful and varied, overlapped a lot leaving us not able to attend some we really wanted to as they always clashed with others. Better programming of these activities would be good. We noticed the wait staff were not as friendly and welcoming as on other ships. While they did what was required of them, albeit it sometimes very slowly, many appeared very tired and worn out and we got the impression they were overworked. Some really appeared to struggle with tiredness. Not sure on our experience with this cruise we would seek out another P & O cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We travelled on this trip for 2 celebrations.. Wow what a trip we both had.. We got to Southampton early 10am... Thinking we could get to Mayflower dock for 3Pm.. Had a text saying that we could start boarding now.. A great ... Read More
We travelled on this trip for 2 celebrations.. Wow what a trip we both had.. We got to Southampton early 10am... Thinking we could get to Mayflower dock for 3Pm.. Had a text saying that we could start boarding now.. A great friendly reception we got and also a very quick Check in.. On this fine older lady for 1.30pm.. Check in was smoothly- So a quick drop of our Hand Luggage into our Inside Cabin on 11th Floor... It was fine for what we needed.. Quick shower and change.. But the bed comfort was fantastic and also the cleaning of the cabin was fantastic. Had a walk on the Lido Deck.. Drinks ordered and background Music and we are ready to enjoy our trip of a lifetime (again).. Sail away party was a bit of a letdown.. So we got ready for dinner and the night to start.. Medina Restraunt (freedom Dining) Great food and better service- We always got a table for 2 within 25min arrival - So a quick drink in Andersons most nights.. The other restraunts we used were fab except Sindu- Boring and very under welming in taste and quality.. Beach house and the Glass house were just fantastic- Laid back great service and the food was Amazing.. Well worth the extra payments for this.. The Entertainment was great in all of the shows and also the Talk in... The ships shows were fantasic and very new.The onboard team were young ,Vibret and always ready for a laugh.. On board bands were fun and also great with the level of songs they all had. The trip was so special of course of all the fantasic views and the ports.. What made it for us.. The staff from the water waiters to the bar servers to the cleaners to the FB Manager... They really made it all so amazing.. Aurora i will defo be meeting you again.. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The Northern Lights ,overall the cruise was very good the shows fabulous,the dining room staff were really good we were on freedom dining but had the same table nearly every evening no 53 or 52. I found the ship rather tired, but realise ... Read More
The Northern Lights ,overall the cruise was very good the shows fabulous,the dining room staff were really good we were on freedom dining but had the same table nearly every evening no 53 or 52. I found the ship rather tired, but realise she was going in for a refit. The one thing which I am really annoyed about is,I decided to buy a DVD of our trip and to my astonishment it was only 4 mins 11 seconds long .a total waste of £5. I will be telling everyone not to buy this so called memory of a cruise, I am going on Ventura on my birthday 1st December 2019,then the maiden voyage on Iona, you can be sure I will make my feelings clear about buying a DVD. The staff all over the ship were very friendly and ready to please, can I also say our bathroom was so cold my toothbrush was frozen solid every morning. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My wife and I decided to get away for New Year and with the help of our favourite travel agent chose this 5 day Southampton to Amsterdam cruise. Embarkation was straightforward and we were in our cabin 10 minutes before our official ... Read More
My wife and I decided to get away for New Year and with the help of our favourite travel agent chose this 5 day Southampton to Amsterdam cruise. Embarkation was straightforward and we were in our cabin 10 minutes before our official boarding time cases followed us in! We were in an outside cabin on the lowest level F113 with a window. I was expecting a smaller room so was pleasantly surprised. We chose Freedom Dining,which meant we could go to dinner as and when. The restaurant food was of a high standard and New Year's Eve overall was probably one of the best we have enjoyed (5 courses). After dinner we went in to the Curzon Theatre for the very impressive Headliners show of recent West End musicals. We also saw them performing Queen's greatest hits in Carmen (another concert venue) on our last night, superb. We went to the top deck from about 11 30 to view all the firework displays through the Amsterdam suburbs, followed by the official Amsterdam display which was less than 200 yards from Aurora. My wife loves fireworks so it made her evening complete. Returning to Southampton for the 3rd Jan we had a sea day on the 2nd very rough force 6/7 but although enjoyable I had to hang on to the rails. Disembarkation again was straightforward. All in all good trip, easy going. The staff were friendly , and Dominic, our steward and the waiting and reception staff were very attentive. We booked one trip through the ship, the scenic evening cruise through the canals which included wine (unlimited) plus a variety of soft drinks and dutch cheeses with nuts and savoury biscuits. Very enjoyable as the guide gave us some history and we saw the lovely homes with their Christmas Trees too. I mentioned Headliners but we also saw a really good band called Ukebox. Five young men from Liverpool dressed in suits 4 playing the ukulele and one the banjo, Part of their act was a medley of Beatles songs. Most entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
we chose from Ex uk cruises.for xmas. Not too many to choose from. But PO as usual good service and intinerary and value for money, No point in our opinion having a balcony at this time of year, plus a cabin lower down is a good place ... Read More
we chose from Ex uk cruises.for xmas. Not too many to choose from. But PO as usual good service and intinerary and value for money, No point in our opinion having a balcony at this time of year, plus a cabin lower down is a good place to be in event of bad weather. Cabin a little tired however was clean and comfortable, Unusually for us we enjoyed cabin service for most breakfasts and the service and food was excellent. One week before our cruise my wife had an accident and this meant she had some mobility problems. PO were aware of this and went that extra bit to ensure we enjoyed our holiday. The food on board was as usual for us, to our taste. No need to try the speciality restaurants. for us. Crew in all departments gave good service. Always a bonus not having to fly. Airports seem to get busier and more congested each time we fly ! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
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 to get away for Christmas and have a really relaxing time. It was just the job. Check in and embarkation were so simple, so much nicer than going to an airport. The cabin was fine, we had a balcony and were ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get away for Christmas and have a really relaxing time. It was just the job. Check in and embarkation were so simple, so much nicer than going to an airport. The cabin was fine, we had a balcony and were impressed by the amount of storage. Our steward looked after us brilliantly for the next 10 days. We found there were plenty of activities for us. We learnt some simple ballroom dances, line danced with the Headliners and did the fitsteps classes. We were on late fixed dining in Alexandria. Our waiters were very friendly and helpful with wine choices and slight changes to the menu. Christmas dinner was really good and amazing that they delivered such quality when serving so many people at one go. We were impressed by The Headliners, their songs from the shows was especially good. The orchestra and trio were also really good. One disappointment was the band Next Step, the couple of times we saw them their performance was not great and on one occasion they walked off stage before the scheduled end of the performance after what appeared to be an argument with other staff. The bars were nice, especially the Crows Nest, they were relaxing and friendly. The mix of ages was pretty good and there seemed to be something for everyone. We found getting on and off the ship much less hassle than we anticipated. Waiting for 20 minutes after the doors opened is definitely a good idea. Oslo was lovely (make sure you visit the town hall it is amazing inside) and Copenhagen is wonderful (of course), especially Tivoli Gardens which was a winter wonderland. Disembarkation was pretty painless too. All in all really pleased with our choice and we’ve already booked our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I had had a lovely Canary cruise on the Azura two years ago, it was lovely. had a balcony which was great. Booked this christmas cruise for the 19th dec - 29th dec, and was not disappointed. The ship this time was the Aurora. The staff ... Read More
I had had a lovely Canary cruise on the Azura two years ago, it was lovely. had a balcony which was great. Booked this christmas cruise for the 19th dec - 29th dec, and was not disappointed. The ship this time was the Aurora. The staff and crew were fantastic, very helpful and friendly and could not do enough for us. Had a window view this time as didn't really want a balcony for this winter cruise. lovely large picture window. Food was plentiful and good. The entertainment was first class and plenty of it. Matt the guitarist was amazing and he could play anything and did. He went from Bar to Bar and was very well liked. Favourite bar was the The crows nest. just quiet gorgeous and a amazing view. The trio who played their were brilliant and a last after dinner drink was so relaxing just listing to some beautiful music. The ship needs updating and i believe that it is going to have a refit this Spring? and will become an adult only ship as well. I shall be booking with P & O again at some stage. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We enjoyed a Christmas Cruise last year with Royal Caribean and anticipated a similar experience - what a disappointment. Before we even started we found the website very difficult to navigate and actually speaking to someone on the ... Read More
We enjoyed a Christmas Cruise last year with Royal Caribean and anticipated a similar experience - what a disappointment. Before we even started we found the website very difficult to navigate and actually speaking to someone on the phone even more difficult. The coach trip to Southampton was well communicated and the coach was large and spacious. The fact that coach parked well away from the pick up point was a major problem as we had to man handle our luggage several hundred yards in wet conditions. ( This was true of the return journey too) Registration was smooth as was the emergency briefing. The food in the Horizon restuarant (breakfast and lunch) was on a par with a Wetherstones pub. Scrambled eggs made with egg powder and toast as hard as biscuits with no difference in choice from day to day. One egg station with massive queues. Lunch offered a more varied choice but the quality and presentation ( apart from desserts) was a low standard. Food apparently haphazardly piled into heated trays. Dinner in the Medina restuarant was much better but apart from Christmas Day the food on the two other formal nights was not special. Service in the restaurants and bars was mixed. The almost complete reliance on male waiters and bar staff was most surprising - some were very good but others surly and arrogant, particularly when dealing with my wife who is Asian and was ignored or looked down upon on many occasions. Evening entertainment was very limited. The Headliners sang and danced to popular groups/genres and were well drilled. Hardly West End show performers though and the 'shows' lacked creativity, uniqueness or any 'wow' factor. The stopping off points, Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Bruges were well selected and the best parts of our trip. The guests on board were mainly couples and for the most part elderly. My wife christened the cruise ship a floating nursing home as many many guests were infirm needing help in one way or another to get round the ship. The ones in motorized wheelchairs were reckless and seemed to have little regard for fellow passengers whilst the ones on sticks or walking frames seemed to block passageways by walking 2 or 3 abreast. All in all a very disappointing experience and one I will not repeat. The difference between the Royal Caribean experience and the P&O Aurora experience is so vast it cannot sensibly be measured in my view. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Booked this as a last minute, inexpensive cruise (on a saver fare) to get away for Christmas from Southampton because husband refused to fly! Better than I expected. Ship in need of a little tlc but well decorated for a Christmas very ... Read More
Booked this as a last minute, inexpensive cruise (on a saver fare) to get away for Christmas from Southampton because husband refused to fly! Better than I expected. Ship in need of a little tlc but well decorated for a Christmas very geared to families (of which there were many with small children). Staff generally polite and attentive and helpful as well as pleasant and friendly. As saver fare passengers were allocated dining, late, which we couldn't change but worked out well with 4 excellent dinner companions. However would have been good if the table designed for 8 could have been reduced in size to take the 6 of us - it had to be known we were never going to be 8 - would have been much more comfortable. Food was on the whole very good although on occasion portions were a tad on the small size (one evening my monkfish dish had only 2 x 1inch diameter medallions of monkfish! Yes, I know I could have asked for more. Service in both the Alexandria and Medina dining rooms was excellent. Food in the latter was better than in the buffet but often not hot, fried food was terrible and I think much of the food was pre-prepared rather than freshly cooked but a good choice of dishes otherwise and a pleasant experience. Personally cannot recommend the Horizon (and I prefer a buffet). I found it to be an unwelcoming open space akin to an old-fashioned motorway café! Didn't find the food looked very appealing and seemed heavily pork based. Found that there were many dishes on the other menus which included pork (which I do not eat) but where it was not expected or mentioned. One real complaint - I did feel that Chef was rather heavy-handed with the salt, especially in the soups. Perhaps they were packet soups? One lunch time in the Medina nearly all the dishes contained pork in one form or another. The Glass House taster dinner was a superb evening, although we did not return there to pay additionally food food, nor did we go to the Beach House or Sindhu where there is an extra fee. The cabin had an excellent amount of storage, plenty of drawers and cupboards which was great. Being picky, the coat hangers on those hooks intended to deter theft are ridiculous and difficult to remove to hang things back in the rear of the cupboard. Please get rid of them. Use ordinary coat hangers and charge if they are removed as is the case with the robes which were sadly lacking in our balcony cabin. Both embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. For the former, we arrived at the time indicated and started embarkation almost immediately although there was longer queue than expected going through security - however it was an opportunity to chat with other in the queue. The shows I was able to attend (was unfortunately unwell a couple of days so not up to late nights) were on the whole excellent with only one performer I did not like and one who was so-so. The Headliners team were excellent as a group and their shows were some of the best I have seen on 25+ cruises. There were plenty of activities in which too take part and husband was delighted with the number of football matches he was able to watch in the Champions Lounge leaving me to read in peace one of the many other comfortable lounges. Having visited the stops previously we were happy to wander around on our own on the whole but the one excursion we went on was very well organised and although could have been a little longer, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Our table mates were very impressed with their excursion to Ypres. One thing I would like to say is that at £7 per person per day, I thought the gratuities were reasonable as were the prices for drinks on which no further gratuity was added, as is the case with many other cruise lines. This was our second cruise with P&O and we will very likely go with them again (perhaps somewhere warmer next time!). Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Food really is not up to the standard you would expect from a cruise ship. Tasteless, stale bread and sandwiches little choice on food for late buffet. Reception staff that really could not be bothered and lied to us on more that one ... Read More
Food really is not up to the standard you would expect from a cruise ship. Tasteless, stale bread and sandwiches little choice on food for late buffet. Reception staff that really could not be bothered and lied to us on more that one occastion. Entertainment was nothing to write home and very standard with only one half decent act on board. The restaurants that you have to pay for and the main dining room in the evening are the best place to eat. Breakfast is very poor overall and this ship seems to be Benidorm at sea, So if you like you cheeky chap cockney gizza this is the cruise ship for you. Iwill never book with P&O again. We have booked for IONA first voyage its now getting cancelled and I will take the lose on the deposit and not bother giving them any more for my money again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Having been on Oriana on a 17 day cruise around the canary islands, September 2017, my heart SANK when my wife told me that she'd booked a Xmas market cruise on Aurora. I've never had a good experience on this ship and this ... Read More
Having been on Oriana on a 17 day cruise around the canary islands, September 2017, my heart SANK when my wife told me that she'd booked a Xmas market cruise on Aurora. I've never had a good experience on this ship and this cruise was no exception. The Champions bar is an open area one side of the main thoroughfare with the fruit machines banging away on the other side, went there once on first day, rude, disinterested bar staff, never went back. Raffles bar was true to form, one day it was busy and hardly any staff, we were ignored for so long it was quicker to go to the self service on 12 and bring food down, another day it was very quiet and I had a pot of tea and a sandwich; I went back to the counter for a cake, Oh No! One pot of tea = one roll or a cake, you can't have both! As expected, disinterested staff and the ' One Cake Rule ' applied randomly. I went to deck 12 and brought back a plate of cakes. We complained to reception. Much use that was. We usually retired to Andersons Bar at 11pm for cocktails, an experience once again ruined by a cleaner coming along every night at about 11.15 with a faulty Henry vacuum cleaner that sounded like a small jet engine. I should not have to raise my voice or lean closer to hear someone talking to me because of that racket, lasting abour 20 minutes, I complained to the bar staff but was told " she's only doing her job". Disgraceful. Well at least there's the Crow's Nest, oops! no seats available. On previous cruises I was never able to get much use of the ridiculously small weight training section of the Gym, usually because Aurora staff were using it. I didn't even bother wasting my time on this cruise. Here's the good bit; we were freedom dining and happened to get the same table every night. The food was first class and the waiters were excellent. What a shame that Oriana is going, I've had many excellent cruises on that ship, I'll not go on Aurora again. And before I forget, the Beach Hut which is 'enhanced dining' doesn't do cheese and biscuits after the main meal, off to deck 12 again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Had been on the ship previously about 8 years ago - it had been updated since then but still looking sad and tired in some of the outside areas. On a positive note, the food has to be some of the best I have ever had on a cruise. The ... Read More
Had been on the ship previously about 8 years ago - it had been updated since then but still looking sad and tired in some of the outside areas. On a positive note, the food has to be some of the best I have ever had on a cruise. The Horizon restaurant deserves special mention - the choice and quality was incredible, and the staff some of the most helpful I have ever experienced. Medina Restaurant staff not so friendly, no eye contact, no conversation other than matters relating to the menu; on occasion service very slow, one night over two hours for dinner..... Entertainment: Headliners superb shows, have some very talented staff; however some of the other shows/entertainment very poor during the evening. Daytime - When I go on holiday to the sun, I do not want to go inside for the entertainment during the day - okay some people might like the respite from the sun, but hardly anything outside during the day around the pool, might get the odd 30mins of music, but other than that, zilch !!! Outside cabin and steward ok - but very small - if it had to house 4 people you wouldn't be able to move!!! I know that the ship is going to adults only next year, and all the children paraphenalia will be removed, maybe that will improve the back terrace and maybe the entertainment will improve ...... but I won't hold my breath. P&O really need to up their game, and not be stuck with the same entertainment 20 years down the line - other cruise companies can do it, why can't they? Still have a soft spot for P&O but think we will be looking elsewhere in future. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My family booked onto this cruise as a birthday gift for my brother turning 21. We have been on a few cruises before and this is the first time I've ever experienced any issues. First issue was that we requested cabins with baths. ... Read More
My family booked onto this cruise as a birthday gift for my brother turning 21. We have been on a few cruises before and this is the first time I've ever experienced any issues. First issue was that we requested cabins with baths. Travel agent said not a problem but upon embarkation we found out that only one cabin had one. Tried to complain to P&O about this but they explained they were fully booked. We're not demanding passengers, We just expect to have the same kind of service you would have in a high street restaurant at the very minimum. However any time we ordered a drink, food or such outside of the restaurants, we would have a very rude reaction from the staff. We bought a pepsi card, every time we tried to use it, we would have the staff member look at us and walk off without saying so much as a "sure thing!" or "Not a problem!". The cruise we were on had a number of young stag do's on board so we assume that the staff were overworked and stressed out by how intimidating they were being but it's still no excuse to treat other passengers that way. We had pre-ordered a birthday cake for my brothers 21st to be delivered to the table at sindhu, they didn't know what happened to the cake after we enquired. The next day we were told they "found it" and delivered it to the table. I know they tried to do right but having a cake a day late isn't what we paid for. Amongst this, The buffet area was mislabeling food, I had an allergic reaction as they listed fish as chicken. I brought it to the attention of the manager at the time who just took all the labels off the food and walked off. Complained the next morning and was told it was going to be looked into. To give credit where credit is due, The team at Sindhu were fantastic and so was the food! Our waiter at dinner as well as our wine waiter were also top class. It's just a shame that outside of dinnertime, we were treated incredibly badly. The locations were great, the weather was also great so it's hard to say the entire holiday is ruined, I just remember on previous cruises we would be so happy to get back on board the ship because we'd be treated well and have good food and drink no matter what we experienced on shore. I think this cruise was ruined by the stag do's to be honest. I don't mind people having fun but when they are intimidating staff and passengers, getting extremely drunk and rowdy, someone should cut off their alcohol supply. I'm also shocked that a few of them were smoking weed on the top deck by the pool and no staff tried to stop them. I think they were scared and the exhaustion was taken out on other passengers for this rowdy groups behaviour. This whole experience has left me never wanting to use P&O/Carnival Group again and I'd advise anybody looking to take a cruise on the aurora to take a second think. I met other Cruise Critic users on board who had similar experiences and I expect there to be a few more from the same journey to share the same reviews. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The staff on board Aurora were wonderful, especially the dining staff who were polite and professional. I was particularly impressed with the Horizon buffet staff who helped the disabled/elderly choose their meals and carrying their ... Read More
The staff on board Aurora were wonderful, especially the dining staff who were polite and professional. I was particularly impressed with the Horizon buffet staff who helped the disabled/elderly choose their meals and carrying their trays to their tables etc. The entertainment team were good, especially Karl who had tons of energy and really put effort into making you enjoy your holiday. Headliners were on every other evening and their dancing was great but the girls did tend to screech the high notes! P&O brought guest bands on-board throughout the cruise and The Runaround Kids were amazing - really got the ship partying. The cabins are looking a bit tired and dated but were extremely clean and the rest of the ship was spotlessly clean. Some people opted out of paying gratuities and considering how hard the staff worked I thought this was a little unfair. All the shore excursions were well organised and P&O staff were there to guide you to the correct coach etc - it couldn't have been easier! My only criticism of the whole holiday is to do with disembarkation. Packed bags have to be on the corridor before you go to dinner on the last evening, and you need to vacate your cabin by 8am. Waiting in the room for our allocated disembarkation time was long and tedious with no drinks or newspapers to keep people occupied. Felt like P&O were more interested in getting the ship ready for the new arrivals. Overall a great holiday though!! Read Less
Sail Date May 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
- lack of discernment from program director in selecting the appropriate movies at certain days or to speicif crowds. We noticed that in Christmas day. Although we don't celebrate Christmas, many of the fellow passengers attended the ... Read More
- lack of discernment from program director in selecting the appropriate movies at certain days or to speicif crowds. We noticed that in Christmas day. Although we don't celebrate Christmas, many of the fellow passengers attended the mass on Christmas day, and were presented later on the same day with a movie called showing scenes of pornography and sex right at the very few initial minutes, worst yet, the movie was put into the family activities, in which young children were present. We felt very uncomfortable while inside the theater and had to leave. - while the house keeping staff was good and up to par, the restaurant staff at medina was not friendly at all, did not care for a smile, or to captivate the guests. Rather, they only performed their job mechanicaly, with a judgemental look for certain guests. We would expect friendly waiters and waitresses, with a genuine smile, and definately lot of carisma. - due to weather conditions the visit in Amsterdam was canceled, we understand, however the tv channel which loops The tours for each of the original destination stops was not re-edit, so Amsterda tours were still being shown on tv throughout the cruise, only to cause more frustration and to remind us what we missed there. We would suggest re-editing the tv prgram immediatly should certain destination stops become unnatainable. This eliminates unecessary frustration. - in the same subject, when the stop in Amsterdam was canceled, the captain re-routed the cruise, adding 2 extra days in the sea, all guests were without mobile signal for at least another 48 hours. considering many guests did not have a way to communicate with their family and friends waiting for them in Amsterdam, or even cancel previous travel arrangements, internet signal should had been provided as a courtesy, however it wasn't. The only way for guests to do it, was to pay a fee out of pocket for a day service of internet. Read Less
Sail Date December 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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