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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to see the Northern Lights but unfortunately the weather conditions in both Narvik and Alta (the most likely opportunities to see them we were told) did not oblige. Also our Fjord trip to see Pulpit Rock in Stavanger was also ... Read More
We wanted to see the Northern Lights but unfortunately the weather conditions in both Narvik and Alta (the most likely opportunities to see them we were told) did not oblige. Also our Fjord trip to see Pulpit Rock in Stavanger was also spoilt by low cloud and rain.You might think our holiday was ruined but in spite of the above disappointments we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The views of snow covered mountains and the novelty of snow on deck - someone had even built a snowman - was wonderful. The last minute cancellation of the stop at Bergen was disappointment as we very much like Bergen. The replacement Haagesund stop was pleasant but not really a substitute for Bergen.The entertainment on board was pretty good - particularly the stage music and dance by the resident "Headliners Theatre Company". The Norwegian people at our various ports of call were so friendly. Norway is a fabulous and spectacular country whatever the weather. We have cruised on Aurora twice before albeit to warmer climes and she is as good as ever with cheerful staff in all departments. We look forward to sailing with her again at some time in the future and it will be interesting to see her after he current refit and conversion to Adults only. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We had a wonderful Northern Lights Cruise. Our first cruise, we were new to every aspect and expected some hiccups... There were none. Embarkation was incredibly swift, staff at port really helpful too. We were on the ship and in ... Read More
We had a wonderful Northern Lights Cruise. Our first cruise, we were new to every aspect and expected some hiccups... There were none. Embarkation was incredibly swift, staff at port really helpful too. We were on the ship and in the restaurant having lunch before our check-in time. The ship is lovely and I'm sure will be even more so after its 'spruce up' later this month. Lovely areas to sit and relax. Attentive staff in all areas. Cabin (E139) was lovely, everything you needed. Our cabin steward was fantastic. We kept it tidy anyway but it was spotless after he had been in and shined the mirrors and replenished supplies. A very warm and friendly chap. The dining was lovely. We had planned freedom but we're given a 6.30pm on a table of 8 in the Alexandria restaurant. We weren't sure if we wanted that as that meant sitting with strangers. But we gave it a go and we now have new friends! The food was lovely. Some things weren't to my taste but you get that in any restaurant. Steaks were cooked perfectly. Our lovely trio of friendly welcoming waiters made the whole dining experience extra special. Dining in the Horizon buffet restaurant for other meals was also very good. Again occasional things not to my taste but whilst mindful not to be wasteful I didn't eat something for the sake of it and would try something else instead. Waiting staff in here again very nice. We went along to the evening entertainment several nights and thoroughly enjoyed it. The pianist was excellent too and we wished we had sat and listened to him more. Quizzes, cards, a few pounds in the casino all good fun. Getting on and off at ports was organised well. Ports were all lovely. Daily horizon magazine detailed what was going on when and where on the ship. There was so much we could have done if we hadnt wanted to be up on deck so much. The art lecturer was most likely very interesting and the gallery had some beautiful pieces. The photography lectures would have been interesting too. But being on the deck taking in the majesty of the fjords with their snow covered mountains was the place we spent most of our days. Or sitting in a window seat in the Horizon restaurant having a cup of tea (and small cake). The pools were open and two heated but we missed our chances to go in. We saw the gym but rather than go there we decided to not use the lifts and to walk around the promenade deck. 3.2 turns = 1 mile. .... As this was the Nothern Light's Cruise, we hoped to see the lights and we were incredibly fortunate to see them twice. One show from the ship in Alta lasted around 30min it was beautiful although not very strong. The following night sailing away from Alta around 8.30pm a wonderful display lasting nearly two hours. Absolutely mesmerising!! They had also been seen the previous night on one of the tours. And then sadly the cruise draws to an end. Luggage outside cabin the night before disembarking. We got up for breakfast. Met at our designated venue and were led off the ship. Straight to a hanger where we picked up our luggage, rolled the trolley outside and got the next taxi waiting in the rank. Couldn't have been anymore straightforward. We had driven to Southampton the night before sailing. Used the justpark app to rent a space and stayed in a bed and breakfast in the centre. Got parking and B&B for just £100 and meant no stress of same day travelling. ... Almost all perfect... The only thing that I would change are the very small number of whinging passengers (which I assume you find on any holiday). I find it is best if you just use listening to and watching them as another form of entertainment... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The opportunity to travel up the Amazon, Central America and Caribbean. The whole cruise was excellent in every way. The many ports of call, experiencing so many places, the excursions well organised. The crew were excellent, a happy ship ... Read More
The opportunity to travel up the Amazon, Central America and Caribbean. The whole cruise was excellent in every way. The many ports of call, experiencing so many places, the excursions well organised. The crew were excellent, a happy ship and you felt it. Nothing was too much trouble. The waiters couldn’t oblige you more. Entertainment on the whole good including the Headliners shows. The activities on board were very varied - excellent watercolour class and new popular Ukulele class. The celebrity speakers where brilliant - Rev Richard Coles, Eric Knowles, Wayne Sleep and Sue Holderness (Marlene from Only Fools and Horses). We travelled from South Wales by Cruise Connect, it was a long journey because of the many pickups. We eventually arrived in Southampton at 3.30 and eventually boarded at 4.30. Heavy seas on the way across the Atlantic, but Aurora coped with it well. Always found her to be a very stable ship. Would highly recommend this Grand Voyage. Have done the Amazon now so wouldn’t go there again as have now experienced this amazing place. Definitely Central America and Caribbean. Aurora is going Adults only in May, but there were no children on this voyage (only young son of one of the Officers) Read Less
Aurora Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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