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16 P&O Cruises Aurora Europe - All Cruise Reviews

Picked this cruise as keen to see the Northern Lights. This is a 12-night cruise that spends 2 nights at the very top of Norway that offers an excellent chance to see Northern Lights. I was kind of expecting the cruise to be canceled but ... Read More
Picked this cruise as keen to see the Northern Lights. This is a 12-night cruise that spends 2 nights at the very top of Norway that offers an excellent chance to see Northern Lights. I was kind of expecting the cruise to be canceled but all seemed to be fine as we joined the ship at Southampton. We set sail and headed up through the North Sea. Sea was a bit rough but the Aurora copes well with rough weather so it didn't move very much. This was our second time on Aurora after a 12-night cruise to the Canaries August 2019 and the ship does seem to cope well with stormy weather. However, as the Coronavirus continued to spread across Europe the Norwegian Government decided to close their borders to cruise ships. The ship then had to turn round and head back to Southampton. This of course was very disappointing as nearly everyone had booked the cruise to try to witness the Northern Lights. What did make the news more bearable, and indeed the remainder of the cruise was how P&O managed the situation. This was right across the board from the Captain down to the waiters and cabin staff. Got a full refund and an additional £400 per cabin onboard spend. P&O couldn't have done more. The entertainment was top class. A male trio, solo male entertainer and a female singer - all were top class with great performances. We had a retired Detective Chief Inspector giving a series of lectures - informative and entertaining insights into criminal investigation process. The food in the restaurants was great - nice food well prepared and served. The staff very helpful. We did have a couple of issues with the cabin - but a quick call to reception and these were rapidly sorted. Jut as an aside, it beats me why people leave it until writing a review to complain about things that can be rectified whilst on-board. Didn't bother with the Gym, although it seemed well equipped. Unfortunately didn't get to experience any shore excursions - however, I can confirm that the North Sea is pretty much grey all over in early March So whilst the aim of the cruise to see the Northern lights didn't happen the experience of the 5 nights we had on the ship was fantastic and I would not hesitate to recommend the cruise to others. Already booked on the 12 March sailing to Northern Lights in 2021 Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
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 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
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
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
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
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 recently took a Spain and France cruise on the Aurora. This is a clean, comfortable ship with loads on offer. While not the largest vessel we have sailed on, it was of sufficient size to travel smoothly over a fairly choppy bay of ... Read More
We recently took a Spain and France cruise on the Aurora. This is a clean, comfortable ship with loads on offer. While not the largest vessel we have sailed on, it was of sufficient size to travel smoothly over a fairly choppy bay of Biscay. We found the embarkation process smooth, and the mobility assistance and general crew attitude welcoming. We boarded a little before the cabins were fully ready, but were take to the Alexandria Restaurant where a buffet and a welcome drink were waiting for us. The cabins were soon ready, and we headed off to a small but comfortable inner on the 11th Deck. This cabin (A227) had a soft bed (configured as a double), a small settee, and loads of drawer and wardrobe space for its size. The shower was easy to access, and the TV kept good reception the entire cruise. We didn't use any specialty dining on this occasion, but did eat in the Horizon buffet, and both the Medina and Alexandria Restaurants. Service was attentive, and care was taken for special diets. We attended a really interesting talk on Nat King Cole in the theatre, and took in a couple of recent release films as well. The entertainment provision was typical for cruises, and seemed to be enjoyed by most. Service was good, and we had a very professional steward, who kept a perfect balance of attentiveness without being "in your face." Other staff were accommodating and made for a pleasant cruise. The Bay of Biscay was dreary and blustery in both sea days, and the exposed pools were unusable (for both cold, and the sloshing of their contents over their sides), but plenty of indoor activities were on offer. Each of the ports (La Coruna, Bilbao, La Rochelle, and Cherburgh) were sunny, and the the first three warmer than predicted. Many passengers caught up on their pool time in these. We made two ship arranged excursions to Santiago and to Guernica. Both were informative, and made for a richer experience. The guide for Santiago was flexible and provided good "free time" recommendations. There is a "road train" tour available from the cathedral square, but it was bone jarring over cobbles. The Guernica excursion was also interesting, though the guide was a little less organised. We learned a lot about Basque culture and politics, and also had time in a small fishing port. The highlight was to see the tile reproduction of Picasso's Guernica. This was a very good cruise with great food, and good service. Minor annoyances came in the lift wait times, and the captain's daily announcements. He would introduce himself each time as the "Captaan" which is endearing the first two or three times, but wears thin. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise due to its itinerary (Norwegian Fjords) and suggestions from family to try P&O as we have always been a Royal Caribbean cruisers. After our journey from Lincoln to Southampton we left our car with a meet and greet ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to its itinerary (Norwegian Fjords) and suggestions from family to try P&O as we have always been a Royal Caribbean cruisers. After our journey from Lincoln to Southampton we left our car with a meet and greet company (Parking4cruises) which went very smoothly with a slight wait for the single greeter to process 3 cars ahead of us. We had a embarkation time of 3:00pm and it appeared so did many others as there was a queue out of the registration hall into the car off load area. However the processing went fairly quickly and we were on-board within an hour. We went straight to our cabin and were very surprised to see our luggage already there, excellent service. Although we only booked the Saver Price we were extremely pleased with our Outside Cabin, on deck 5 Forward, very spacious and enough drawers and wardrobe space for all our clothes. The ship was very quiet in terms of engine noise (helped by very smooth seas), very quiet in terms of fellow passengers who were of a mixed age group from babies to 80+ but the average age would be 50+. Being just before the main school holiday there were very few children on-board. Being first timers on P&O we did not know what to expect in terms of ambiance but now put it as very British with no razzle and brashness of Royal Caribbean, only reserved politeness with a Last Night of the Proms feel to entertainment. We used Freedom Dining which worked extremely well, no waiting for a table and always a choice of size. The waiters were very good but the wine waiters needed to be more attentive. The food was above average, the main dining room had plenty of fish choices, however my wife being a non fish eater was disappointed in the chicken dishes (too dry). We always had breakfast and lunch in the buffet dining area which was excellent. We did dine in Sindhu one evening, the specialty Indian restaurant to great acclaim although we found it difficult to sleep that night as we were rather full! Bar prices are reasonable (equivalent to top hotels in the UK) and with P&O allowing drinks to be taken on board for personal use in the cabin allowed us to partake of a pre-dinner drink whilst changing. The entertainment was not always to our liking but listening to fellow passengers it was well received by them. Entertainers of note were Catch 22, a resident band playing many venues and genres). guest artist Paul Anderson a classical/Spanish guitarist playing in small intimate venues and guest Headliners Jack Pack.. Being the Norwegian Fjords we expected dubious weather, however we had blazing sunshine throughout the trip apart from one day in Bergen and the days sailing back to Southampton. The ship docked right in the heart of all the ports and thus it was a short stroll to the centres. We only booked one excursion and that was in Bergen to go up in the cable car on the Heights and Highlights tour. A very good tour with time for at the top of the summit for coffee and cake and photographs. Although it wasn't a clear day (Bergen has 320 days of rain!) the clouds kept moving and opening up various gaps down to the city and surrounding areas to give wonderful vistas. Disembarkation was simple and straight forward although we were allocated a 10:30am time, however this didn't worry us too much as we had no timescales to keep to. Overall we very much enjoyed the trip and our first time on P&O and would certainly consider them again when choosing another cruise. There were only 2 comments we made on-board and they were: The gym and jogging area did not open up until 8:00am - to late for me My wife had a spa treatment which was excellent but felt the product sales afterwards was too heavy and intimidating. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this mini cruise for 4 nights to Amsterdam & Brugges to try cruising as a family for the first time. My children are 17 & 13, we booked interconnecting rooms, these were the larger inside cabins. Plenty of space for ... Read More
We chose this mini cruise for 4 nights to Amsterdam & Brugges to try cruising as a family for the first time. My children are 17 & 13, we booked interconnecting rooms, these were the larger inside cabins. Plenty of space for clothes, good sized bathroom, comfy beds. We booked Freedom dining, since we thought the children may prefer this and we wouldn't be restricted where we ate. I had also pre-booked two of the Select restaurants on the ship, having read bad reviews about the food on board. I needn't have worried, we ate in Sindhu, the curry restaurant, which was simply superb. The Beach House, which was ok, but it was on the formal night so felt very overdressed in there, the Horizon restaurant is ok as a self serve for a quick snack or breakfast but The Medina was lovely, food outstanding and with waiter service. We only had to wait for a table to become available once. The ship is medium sized, has 3 pools, a cinema, theatre, golf simulator (which wasn't actually open when we sailed), lots of bars and lounges to relax in. My only criticism would be that when we finally docked in Amsterdam (having taken 24 hours to get there), it was very slow getting off the ship. We didn't book any excursions, choosing instead to make our own way and have free choice. We visited Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam for 9Euros, opposed to 35Euros each going with P&O. I would certainly think about another cruise with P&O, probably for longer and without the children next time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Also we wanted to leave and return to Southhampton as we had several days planned in London before cruise. Ship was excellent, food very good, cabin cosy with balcony but more than adequate ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Also we wanted to leave and return to Southhampton as we had several days planned in London before cruise. Ship was excellent, food very good, cabin cosy with balcony but more than adequate on Deck 11, A150. Excellent washing facilities 9 Speed Queen washers and dryers on our deck so washing never a problem. Ports of call fantastic. Couldn't fault this cruise at all loved every minute. Didn't attend any formal nights as husband didn't have a tux and most folks did but attended buffet which didn't bother us. Entertainment and lectures first class. Would recommend to anyone. Husband thought golf simulator could have been available more often! I would be happy to do a cruise with P & O again. We were very lucky with the weather and the seas were very calm. Some fog though but Captain did excellent job. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Pre-cruise Stay I stayed overnight before the cruise at the Holiday Inn on the waterfront in Southampton. There is nothing special about the hotel but it is very clean and comfortable. The public areas have been refurbished in recent ... Read More
Pre-cruise Stay I stayed overnight before the cruise at the Holiday Inn on the waterfront in Southampton. There is nothing special about the hotel but it is very clean and comfortable. The public areas have been refurbished in recent years and the bedrooms are gradually being refurbished. The ones at the front of the hotel overlook Southampton Water and are good for ship-spotting. Park-and-stay rates are available. The buffet breakfast was good quality and hot with plenty of choice. Embarkation I had been allocated a 3.00pm embarkation. I left the hotel at 2.00pm and it took only 5 – 7 minutes to drive to the Mayflower Cruise Terminal in light traffic. My car was taken immediately by staff from CPS – there wasn't a queue of any sort. Once inside the terminal building, I was told that I could check in straight away and joined the queue for the check-in desk. This was pretty efficient and after going through security, I was on board and inside my cabin at 2.30. Thirty minutes from hotel to cabin – well done P&O and the Mayflower Terminal! The Good Ship Aurora Aurora entered service for P&O in 2000, so whilst certainly not ancient, she does have 16+ years of service under her belt. Despite this, she is in fine fettle. Yes, you will see odd little rust-spots/patches but these are dealt with on a regular maintenance basis. Unfortunately, there was some fairly 'heavy duty' maintenance being carried out on both the Promenade Deck and an external staircase on Lido Deck, resulting in excessive noise at times. This is really something that P&O should do when there are no passengers aboard but unfortunately these ships are worked so hard now to maximise profits. Aurora has lovely public rooms, most of which are 'enclosed', rather than being open to a corridor or the atrium. There is a lovely observation lounge (The Crow's Nest) forward on Sun Deck, the Horizon Buffet on Lido Deck, Raffles Bar, Sindhu Indian Restaurant, the Playhouse Cinema and Glass House Bar/Restaurant on D Deck plus the two main dining rooms on E Deck. The remainder of the public rooms are on Promenade Deck and comprise the Curzon Theatre, Anderson's Bar, Masquerade Nightclub, Champions Sports Bar and Carmen's Show-Lounge. There are also various other useful spaces for children, card-players, casino buffs etc. Interior décor, fittings and furnishings are all in good condition. I was in a standard inside cabin on B Deck. These are not the largest of cabins but are certainly adequate. The queen-size bed (which can be two twins) was extremely comfortable and I slept very well most nights. Storage space was good with two two-drawer bedside cabinets, four drawers in the dressing-table and a triple wardrobe with lots of hanging space. There is a stocked mini bar (which I asked the steward to empty so that I Could use it as a fridge) and a safe for your valuables. This was big enough for my 10” tablet but would not take a laptop. There is a small-screen TV with a range of channels including Sky News and Sky Sports. Others are Film Channels and information channels. There are tea & coffee making facilities on a small table and a compact sofa. Again, all furniture and fittings were in very good condition. The compact bathroom included two corner storage cupboards and a shelf under the washbasin. The shower is big enough for an average-size person and has a curtain rather than a glass door. There was plenty of hot water with a stable temperature and the toilet flush worked well. Food There has been a fair amount of criticism about P&O food over the last couple of years and they had relatively recently introduced a new menu. I ate in the Alexandria Dining Room on second (8.30pm) sitting 'club' dining, meaning I had the same companions every evening. You can choose Freedom Dining, which means you choose when to eat each evening. The menu consists of 4 starters, 3 soups, a salad, 4 main courses 3 desserts and cheese & biscuits. There are also 'Always available' starters and main course plus 2 'Signature' or 'Always available' desserts plus a 'Chef's Choice' 'Classic Roast' and 'Daily Grill' main course. Additionally, Ice Cream, sorbet and a Sundae were available. You will not go hungry! The quality of the food was generally very good with both meats and fish being generally well-cooked and to my liking. Food was served hot and was usually tasty, with a couple of stand-out desserts: White Chocolate Mille-Feuille with Toffee, served with marscapone and basil sorbet; Milk Chocolate & Pistachio Delice, Dark Chocolate Sauce & Sweet Fennel Ice Cream – outstanding! Our waiters and wine waiter were all very friendly and really efficient. Breakfast in the main dining room gave plenty of choice, with everything being tasty and of course freshly cooked. There is a different daily special each morning. The breakfast buffet in the Horizon was okay but quite repetitive and the quality was variable as it usually is in large hotels ashore. There was an omelette station for nice, freshly-cooked omelettes where they also prepared poached eggs. There was always plenty of seating in the Horizon Buffet and waiters walked around in the morning pouring tea and coffee. Lunch in the Horizon comprised plenty of dishes to choose from and the quality was variable. Afternoon tea was served in both the Horizon and one of the dining rooms. The Lido Grill served burgers hot dogs and fried chicken but these were all cooked in advance rather than fresh which meant they were not that appetising. You could also get a small range of sandwiches at the grill but again they were not freshly made so not particularly appetising. I also ate in Sindhu twice which was really excellent. I did not eat in the Beach House as the menu did not remotely appeal to me – it is the sort of food you find on a Leisure Park and might eat after going ten-pin bowling. Entertainment Of course, entertainment is very subjective. The Headliners Theatre Group were just about average. I have seen better but also seen worse. The in-house bands were excellent but the cocktail pianist/vocalist was pretty poor. The Guest Artists were generally pretty good, with Clare Bonsu (vocalist) and Byron Johnston (Guitarist) being outstanding in my view. There was a comedy ventriloquist who many appreciated but who I found dreadful. A selection of films were shown in the cinema but none particularly appealed to me on this sailing. Daytime activities consisted of quizzes, deck-sports, seminars, lectures and Port Presentations. The seminars were sadly regurgitated selling opportunities that have been doing the rounds for years. Unfortunately there was only one lecturer on board and I had seen her on my two previous P&O cruises. The Port Presenter (from the Shore Excursions Team) was excellent, giving some historical perspective and also advice for passengers not taking tours. The Entertainment Manager was friendly and personable but I did feel he could have given a bit more information about what was on in the evening when he presented the theatre show each night. His Entertainment Officers were okay but again, I have seen better. Ports Oslo, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Talinn, Riga, Gdansk, Klaipeda, Travemunde and Skagen. The selection of ports was excellent and the main reason I chose this cruise. I booked P&O Tours in St Petersburg, taking three half-day trips over the two days. At all other ports I simply walked off the ship and explored. They all had their own charm – some more than others. My favourite was Riga and although I had been to Oslo once before, I fell in love with it a little. Disembarkation A few days before the end of the cruise, you were invited to visit the Pursers Desk (Reception) to book a time slot. I chose the latest possible, which was 1030. I was asked to vacate the cabin by 0830 and wait in the Crow's Nest Lounge. This was comfortable and not crowded. At about 0950 a member of staff came around informing us that disembarkation was ahead of schedule and we could leave when we liked. I waited about another 20 minutes and strolled off the ship and straight through arrivals – no rush, no stress. Summary A really good cruise to interesting ports. Great companions on my dinner table and met lots of friendly and interesting passengers around the ship. Food and entertainment pretty good. Oriana is still my favourite ship but I will be very happy to board Aurora again any time. I feel this size of ship provides me with an excellent cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have cruised many times before on various lines but this was the first time we have been away for Christmas, we are a couple in our 40’s and we were traveling with friends. Overall we agreed this was definitely a lovely thing to do at ... Read More
We have cruised many times before on various lines but this was the first time we have been away for Christmas, we are a couple in our 40’s and we were traveling with friends. Overall we agreed this was definitely a lovely thing to do at Christmas and there were some lovely touches that really made it feel special, but we would not want to do it every year. Embarkation was not good for us. We had been given a 3pm boarding time which for us was far too late. We don’t live that far away from Southampton but on the last Saturday before Christmas when there are 2 other ships in we could not risk leaving it too late to get through the traffic and into the city so we headed in around lunchtime. We were made to wait until just before 3pm to get on, we rushed to grab something to eat, rushed to try and unpack before muster but failed, rushed to muster, rushed to finish unpacking before sail away. Usually we would have been on by lunchtime, had a nice lunch, wander the ship and have a leisurely drink in a bar, probably do a spa tour etc etc but obviously this was not to be!! It felt like a stressful start. Sail away didn’t happen, one of the engines failed so we remained tied up in Southampton until 1:30am, we were then full speed ahead at 23 knots for the first day but still arrived late in Gothenburg. This was a nice enough place, quite a distance on a coach from the port and really only a large shopping centre and not much else. Aurora was lovely, we had been on her in January for a 5 day cruise, she was decorated very festively (albeit with the same decorations as last year!!) and she still looked immaculate a year on from her refit. She is my favourite P&O ship, the perfect size with a nice mix of bars and venues and just the right number of people. There was a good mix of entertainment in the bars and they moved around the ship to different venues at different times which is always good. The Christmas Eve show was festive and jolly, perfect for that evening, there was also a Panto on Boxing day which we didn’t see but heard was good. After the first couple of days there suddenly was an abundance of canapés in every bar every evening, again a lovely touch which was really appreciated – not that we needed any more food!! On the subject of Dining, we were freedom dining in the Medina restaurant, our friends are vegetarian and each evening they pre ordered for the following day, we ordered on the day and the system worked seamlessly, all credit to Cliff who looked after them extremely well. P&O are getting mean with their portions though, the menu read “Roast Potatoes” – I got 1 small potato, “green beans” – 3 beans!! Not that this mattered to us particularly as we had starters, sweets and sometimes cheese and biscuits so we were not going to go hungry but to some people the dining experience is important and I think they need to watch this area as it is in danger of becoming a bit of a joke. We had one evening in Sindhu which was fantastic, the service was really good and the food was outstanding. Next was Oslo which we really loved, really clean, plenty to see and do all within walking distance, castle’s, palace’s, shops and a nice boardwalk area. It was quite chilly but the rain held off until we were back on board but it was incredibly windy after we sailed and quite a bumpy night. Again, Copenhagen was a lovely place, we walked miles all around but it was worth it and the rain mostly held off. Christmas eve was windy and a bit choppy in the North Sea, we enjoyed being up on deck to see Father Christmas balanced precariously on the funnel waving while the swimming pool threw its contents all over the decks and passengers. It was nice to have a special Christmas Eve menu in the main dining room and it was great to find a card and present from P&O (a P&O monopoly set). I think we all had a very restless night's sleep, unfortunately not due to excitement or anticipation of the next day, more to do with the ship rocking and rolling in gale force winds!! Christmas day was windy and rough but despite this a good day was had by all, there was the passenger choir singing carols in the morning along with various other festive events. Formal night followed with an excellent Christmas dinner with hats and crackers. It didn’t feel like a ‘normal’ Christmas but it certainly felt like Christmas – if that makes sense. The wind prevented us from going to Amsterdam which was initially disappointing, but we have been there many times and actually the diversion to Rotterdam proved a success. A big spacious city with plenty to see and do, we walked all along the water admiring the different styles of architecture. We found the SS Rotterdam and you can go on board for free and have a look around, you can pay for a full tour but we just enjoyed a little wander around. And finally Bruges, well it was as ever, incredibly busy but a nice day. We had a bit of time before our train to wander around Blankenburg and it’s actually a really nice place, if we go again we won’t bother with Bruges, we’ll spend some time there and have a walk along the lengthy promenade. To sum up we really enjoyed the trip, we were very well looked after. Service was very efficient in all the bars with the exception of the Glass House, it was never busy but for some reason they were so slow to take your order and even slower to deliver the wine.. The staff on P&O are not as engaging as they are on other lines, they are polite and efficient but not very chatty - not a criticism, just an observation. We had booked a deluxe balcony cabin which just had that extra bit of space which helped accommodate the 3ft Christmas tree we had taken on board with us!! The cruise felt suitably festive, there were some lovely extra touches like the gingerbread scene with the Christmas cakes, the festive themed shows etc etc. The ports were all good although as it has been so mild we missed out on some seasonal snow which we were really hoping for, also flat seas and the northern lights would have been good but now I’m just being greedy…. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
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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