Editor's Note: Aurora received an update in March 2019 that saw the ship redesigned as an adults-only vessel. Gone are the kids clubs and teen areas, in their place are 28 brand-new cabins that were added to Deck 8. Other areas benfit from refreshed carpets, soft furnishings and upholstery.
The 1,910-passenger Aurora joins Arcadia and Oriana as the line's third child-free ship, though the latter will leave the fleet in August 2019.
Aurora is one of the oldest ships in the P&O Cruises fleet (it was launched in 2000), and came out a much-needed £26 million refurbishment at the end of 2014 as the first to carry the new livery, featuring a contemporary version of the Union Flag on its bow, and a blue funnel. This may have disappointed a few P&O Cruises regulars, but it indicates the line's policy to combine a traditional British atmosphere with an up-to-date cruise experience.
New features added in the refurbishment include the Sindhu fine dining restaurant, with an Indian-fusion menu; and the Glass House restaurant and bar, with wines selected by TV presenter Olly Smith, which replaced Cafe Bordeaux. Both these restaurants are on P&O Cruises' twin sisters Azura and Ventura.
The buffet restaurant and Sidewalk Cafe were also completely refurbished and include a new Costa Coffee and Grab & Go counter and flexible "Freedom Dining" in the Medina Restaurant, plus more tables for two; and Marco Pierre White dishes on gala evenings.
The refit has transformed the public rooms and they are now bright and attractive, with exceptionally comfortable seating. But some of the rooms and corridors are distinctly chilly, and there is evidence of minor wear and tear in places, despite the refurbishment which is inevitable with a ship that is now approaching 20 years old.
Since a March 2019 refit, Aurora is an adults-only ship, attracting a traditional demographic of 50-something and over Brits.
There are normally two formal nights per seven-night cruise. Black tie for men predominates, although lounge suit and tie are acceptable. Low key evening and cocktail dresses are usual for the women. Those who don't want to dress up can use the cafeteria, but formal attire is required in the main restaurants. The other nights are either semiformal or smart casual, according to the ship's itinerary. Shorts and jeans aren't welcome in the restaurants.
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Cruise to Norway, Iceland and Ireland. Itinerary great, the ship not so!!