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7 P&O Cruises Aurora Europe - All Cruise Reviews

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
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 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
This should have been a fantastic Christmas cruise with overnights in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, with a day in Belgium. What we actually got were overnights in Denmark, Norway and Belgium. I booked the cruise as I wanted ... Read More
This should have been a fantastic Christmas cruise with overnights in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, with a day in Belgium. What we actually got were overnights in Denmark, Norway and Belgium. I booked the cruise as I wanted christmas away and to see my friends in amsterdam over the christmas period, had Amsterdam not been on the places to visit I would not have booked. The Aurora is a beautiful little ship with excellent bars and restaurants. She has a slightly quirky layout and not all decks take you to where you think you are going, for example both the Medina and Alexandria Restaurants are on deck 6 but to access the Alex you have to go up to 7 and then back down again. Where the ship did score points with me was with the cabin, mine was a single birth facing forward on A deck - perfect for the single traveller. The service on board is good but although owned by Carnival is not White Star unlike Cunard. House Keeping does a good job but you cannot get the laundry back the same day, once again unlike Cunard. What was also noticed was the dress code they have on board, true at time wearing a jacket on a port night or last night can be an issue, but some dressed down on sea nights. The entertainment which was provided by the headliners was excellent and they performed some of the best show afloat I have seen and all were keen and eager. Regrettably the comic that was on, had not updated his act since the 1970s and some comments could now be regarded as unsuitable. Copenhagen at Christmas is awesome and the Tivoli gardens are worth a trip to – they ooze Christmas. Oslo was good but the first day we had fog, it was felt though that some tours could have been done to be a bit longer as it was not possible to view everything in the museums we visited. After Oslo things went downhill. Christmas was good with Santa coming to see us. Later we had an excellent meal and carols etc. Boxing day the atmosphere changed - the sad thing is it did not need to. We should have been going to Amsterdam and even as late as Christmas day the program for the 26th showed arriving in Amsterdam. We were told at 10 AM that due to weather we could not call but would have another full sea day before an overnight In Belgium. Nobody would disagree with the cancellation due to the weather etc, but P&O make a habit of this, on the previous cruise there had been the same issue. Common sense would have been to have cancelled Amsterdam in favour of Rotterdam (run tours to Amsterdam from there), but this was not considered. Belgium was felt to be a bit of a let-down and some felt that if we had docked in the UK we would have bailed out. It was also noted that the ferry from Hull made Rotterdam ok. Would I do a P&O Cruise again – maybe but I do have concerns as stated above. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary and we have cruised with P&O many times before. Dining arrangements have changed over the years with the advent of Freedom Dining which we tried once but changed back to Club dining as I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary and we have cruised with P&O many times before. Dining arrangements have changed over the years with the advent of Freedom Dining which we tried once but changed back to Club dining as I don't like having to have a pager at peak periods. With prefer second sitting at 8:30pm as it allows time when returning from ashore. We have always preferred a table with 6 - 8 persons and the restaurant managers have always provided us with like minded and interesting people to share with. This was not the case this year as we had a table to ourselves and several other larger tables had people missing a lot of the time. Whilst I appreciate some guests were visiting other restaurants it appears freedom dining was the main cause of this cultural change. The ship takes a bit of getting use to in terms of layout. The choice of Beer or Larger can be frustrating in terms of what is types are sold in different bars and in some only small bottles are sold at inflated prices. The Staff were friendly and the entertainment was good. Access to the various cities from the ports of call was easy whether going on one's own or choosing an excursion. Whilst Zeebrugge does not rate high on visitors list like Brugge I was keen to see the Memorial to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines at Zeebrugge together with St George's walk given that it will be 100 years ago on St George's 2018 that the blocking of the canal entrance took place with it supporting raids there and Ostend for which 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded. Knowledge of this action seemed lacking from crew members I spoke to. The shuttle bus service to Blankenberge was appreciated as an alternative visit to Brugge. Unlike other Cruise Ships I have been on there was also a lack of interesting Lectures or talks whilst at sea. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We don't cruise every year but we were in need of a holiday and a cruise is usually a great treat. We spent time in Southampton with family the day before but had to wait to board til 2.30pm. Boarding was very quick and efficient. ... Read More
We don't cruise every year but we were in need of a holiday and a cruise is usually a great treat. We spent time in Southampton with family the day before but had to wait to board til 2.30pm. Boarding was very quick and efficient. Food was available at the Lido deck but we were a bit late and had to make do with a tiny salad until our dinner at 8.30pm. We really should have gone to self serve as it was late for us to eat and although we sat at the table promptly it was nearly 9.30 before we got our meal. I don't count the mushroom starter which was awful! The meal had lightly warmed up new potatoes and a grey looking fish. I complained and perhaps this helped us to get a nice table at 6.30 for the rest of the cruise. Mealtimes were enjoyable because of the company and the attentiveness of the waiters but food was generally disappointing. Often it was lacking in taste. A steak was tough, a waldorf salad was lacking in celery or walnuts- you needed a magnifying glass to find any trace. The Greek salad had no feta cheese and the bread was usually doughy. The bread was exceptionally nice once and I remember about 4 really nice meals out of 11 days. My husband a chocoholic complained to me that the chocolate had little taste. The chocolate brownie did though to be fair. Salads in the self service were watery and again very little taste. Our cabin with balcony was lovely and near to the laundry for washing or ironing. We like dancing but all the lessons during the day were for beginners. The ballroom at night was very quiet maybe because it was school holidays and a lot of families were on board.The shows were quite good- what you would expect on a cruise and the acts they brought on board were good too. We got bored with the disco as the DJ seemed stuck in a rut- so much good music to play and he kept going back to Tamla and baggy trousers! We shared in a couple of quizes but not many activities to suit us. The last two nights there was so little choice, we both read our books and had early nights. We are used to finding our own way at ports of call and when we discussed our days at dinner with other guests, we often found that we had a better and more interesting day than those who had done the excursions! Read Less
Sail Date August 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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