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25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
My wife and I have been on a few dozen cruises on many different lines and ships over the years. I'm not one for keeping count but I'm guessing we've done about thirty cruises in all. We chose to go on Aurora simply because some members ... Read More
My wife and I have been on a few dozen cruises on many different lines and ships over the years. I'm not one for keeping count but I'm guessing we've done about thirty cruises in all. We chose to go on Aurora simply because some members of our family were going on her and we wanted to join them. There were nine people in our group - six adults and three kids. I have to say that both the ship and the service exceeded my expectations. Embarkation was quick and efficient. The room (balcony C321) was immediately available - and it was clean and perfectly fulfilled our needs (and we normally book a suite). Because it was a smaller ship, by modern standards, it didn't feel too busy in the public areas. We had anytime dining (nine of us) and we didn't have to wait for a table at any time. A first for us! All the staff on board were friendly and keen to help. Again, that's not always been the case on previous cruises on different ships. The three kids were well catered for in the kids' clubs (including the night nursery). The food was outstanding and there was a very wide choice on offer in the various restaurants. Not once were any of us disappointed with any meal ordered. I don't normally write reviews but on this occasion I made an exception because I wanted to give credit where it is due. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our 9th cruise with P&O. Embarkation/disembarkation was very good. The cabins being ready at 1pm is a really great idea, it saves wandering around with trundler's/suit carriers etc. We haven't sailed on Aurora since 2010 & ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise with P&O. Embarkation/disembarkation was very good. The cabins being ready at 1pm is a really great idea, it saves wandering around with trundler's/suit carriers etc. We haven't sailed on Aurora since 2010 & she is still a beautiful ship, very easy to navigate. Our cabin C299 was great, very clean & we had a brilliant cabin steward, Roda who was super efficient. We opted for first sitting, fixed dining in the Alexandria restaurant, our waiter's, Joseph & Jebb were charming & very efficient & a pleasure to know & food was very good. Sarah, our wine waiter was very good at her job. The entertainment was good, the headliners were a new troupe & they suffered a couple of injuries a few hours before a show one evening & it clearly affected their confidence that night but, like all of us, they are only human & you make allowances for that. The singer Lorraine Brown was incredible, it wasn't my era of music so I wasn't sure I would enjoy it but she was flawless. Reception were always helpful & service all round the ship was very good (I don't know how people find so much to complain about in reviews, maybe they are asking for the impossible!!) Ports were very good especially Salerno, beautiful!! The captain, Robert Camby, was superb. The evening before we were due to dock at Salerno he announced that strong winds were expected the following morning & could prevent us from entering the narrow port so he had decided to "get a lick on" during the night to get us to the port a lot earlier than our original arrival time to beat the winds & we did, superb quick thinking by a very professional Captain. Fantastic staff, fantastic cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
Wanted to go on a short cruise with grandchildren and family so this looked good. Embarkation was quick and well organised. We had three balcony cabins which were fine size wise. Food was great, entertainment a little amateur but that ... Read More
Wanted to go on a short cruise with grandchildren and family so this looked good. Embarkation was quick and well organised. We had three balcony cabins which were fine size wise. Food was great, entertainment a little amateur but that did not spoil our enjoyment. Of course the weather was a big factor and was lovely. Anne Franks house and city tour was most enjoyable plus the journey down the canal was really restful. The port was bustling with river traffic and we enjoyed sitting out in the evening sun watching it. Took the shuttle bus to Blankenburge which has a super beach, coffee on pier and then mandatory stop at chocolate shops. Staff were great, our waiters were most attentive and cabin always clean and tidy. All in all a great introduction to the family to cruising, especially as youngest grandchild usually suffers from travel sickness but was fine throughout the journey. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Our 10th cruise with P&O but our first on Aurora. Having experienced poor service on a 4 day cruise on Ventura a few months earlier, we were concerned that P&O standards were falling, but our confidence was restored with this ... Read More
Our 10th cruise with P&O but our first on Aurora. Having experienced poor service on a 4 day cruise on Ventura a few months earlier, we were concerned that P&O standards were falling, but our confidence was restored with this cruise. Aurora is a lovely ship. She has all the essential attributes including a wide, full circuit, level (no steps) promenade deck, a Crows Nest and a beautiful design (particularly the tiered stern). Being a small ship (by today's standards) she is easy to get around. We cruised out of the school holiday season so the profile was over 80% retired, which suited us even though we aren't retired, as the passengers were lovely and through Freedom Dining we met a lot of very interesting people who we chatted to around the ship or in ports. The ship had a real 'community' feel. We consider ourselves to be 'foodies' and were concerned at the number of negative comments and reviews regarding the food in the main dining rooms that we had read prior to our cruise. We dined in the Medina Restaurant and can honestly say that the food (quality and choice) was excellent throughout and the service was superb. We had different waiters most days and every single one, bar none, was First Class. The Glass House was fantastic (food and service) but hardly used. The Beach House was lovely but the new menu isn't as good as the one it has replaced. Sindhu on Aurora is poor compared to the version we have experienced on Britannia and Ventura. It is basically an extension of the coffee shop (so very noisy) and, again, the new menu isn't as good as the previous menu. It's a shame that Aurora doesn't have an Epicurean restaurant, as the version on Britannia is our favourite restaurant at sea. Entertainment was mixed. The Headliners Theatre Company was the weakest we have seen. They were good dancers but poor singers. Pianist and singer David Mairs was also poor and could murder some great songs. However, Harmony Duo (classical violinist and pianist), Clare Bonsu (singer), Caravan (particularly Bee Gees tribute) and speaker Diane Simpson were all fantastic. There was very little to do during the day. Our cabin (Accessible Balcony) was very good but, as with all cabins, sound insulation was poor between adjoining cabins. We could hear the TV of the cabin one side and our neighbour the other side woke us up between 5.30 and 6.30am every single morning with a sneezing fit. He made no attempt to stifle the noise so we had no need for an alarm clock. Joking aside, it was infuriating. The TV's on Aurora are pathetic. They are too small to watch, picture quality is poor, reception patchy, sound crackly and no interactive features whatsoever. Having enjoyed the superb versions on Britannia (large screen, HD quality, fully interactive etc), this was going back 30 years. The atrium on decks 6,7 and 8 is narrow and causes bottlenecks. The shops are also tiny. The ship does present some challenges for those in wheelchairs. The Curzon Theatre and Playhouse are poorly designed as there are only a couple of seats where wheelchair users can sit alongside their companion and other less disabled passengers tend to sit in them as they are the only ones that don't involve a step. You cannot get from front to midships on deck 8 in a wheelchair as there are steps. There are 6 doors out to the promenade, but none are automated (there is one automated door out to deck 13). There is an automated door from Champions to the promenade, but it has a heavy solid conventional door behind it (and a No Entry sign!) which renders it useless. In spite of the limitations and shortcomings (no ship is perfect after all), this was our best cruise to date. Aurora is a lovely ship. We experienced friendly and efficient service throughout. The itinerary (Baltics) was superb. We felt no movement at all (although seas were flat calm throughout). The passenger mix was lovely. Food and service in the main restaurant was faultless. This was cruising as it should be. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary as it went to many ports we hadn't previously visited and some we had not been to for a long time. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly We had an inside cabin on F ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary as it went to many ports we hadn't previously visited and some we had not been to for a long time. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly We had an inside cabin on F deck, as we know from past experience that we spend very little time in the cabin and the cabin, whilst small, was fine for our needs The entertainment onboard was well organised and we enjoyed the shows although we did find that the cinema timings were rather odd on certain days e.g 2pm or 10.45pm ? The food in the MDR has in my opinion deteriorated over the years but there is always plenty of choice available in other locations around the ship, we also ate in the Beach House - which was delicious, and used the Horizon Buffet several times in the evening as well as for lunch and breakfast, this has been upgraded and is a beautiful light and airy area but P&O really do need to replace some of the glazed units as their seals have gone and you can no longer see though the glass. Service onboard was variable with some staff looking like they didn't want to be there however others were superb and I must mention Pragati one of the waitresses at the Horizon buffet, she was outstanding and a credit to P&O We enjoyed all of the ports and the port lecturer 'Sam' was the best I have come across in 30+ cruises, he was full of information and facts and helped make all the ports even more interesting e.g the impromptu treasure hunt in Klaipeda which saw many passengers rushing around with maps looking for a variety of small sculptures - great fun :) Skagen was also a brilliant surprise and well worth a visit and we even paddled, with one foot in the North Sea and one foot in the Baltic a real experience. We only took 2 tours preferring to DIY the rest but both of these 1) transfer to Gdansk 2) Frederiksborg castle were well organised We have cruised for many years and we hadn't been on Aurora for a while, she remains a lovely classic ship with a really nice atmosphere onboard although some areas would benefit from a little modernisation and some TLC All in all a fantastic cruise with some memorable ports this was our third cruise to the Baltic and I suspect it won't be our last ! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Chose this cruise for it's many different ports having been to the Baltic twice before. Interesting ports such as Riga, Travemunde, Gdynia, Skagen, Tallinn, Klaipeda as well as the usual Oslo, Copenhagen & St Petersburg. Cabin was ... Read More
Chose this cruise for it's many different ports having been to the Baltic twice before. Interesting ports such as Riga, Travemunde, Gdynia, Skagen, Tallinn, Klaipeda as well as the usual Oslo, Copenhagen & St Petersburg. Cabin was well serviced and adequate. DIning was to a satisfactory standard in the Medina dining room. The entertainment was abysmal only the comedian was any good, the rest were boring rubbish. As usual the cruise companies excursions were over priced & in large coaches,we went freelance everywhere except St Petersburg where we went on a pre arranged 2 day tour with TJ travel,arranged online with no prepayment & they also arranged & sent us the visa, they were brilliant, 12 of us in a 16 seater instead of 40+ in a P&O coach, we used them previously & will use them again in future. The ship was a nice compact size & well maintained, suited us better than some of the mega cruise ships. We like P&O for the fact we can take own alcohol on board (for cabin use only) we took a few bottles of wine for pre-dinner. The ship was generally very clean with good service from all the staff. One interesting point is as the average age of passengers appears to be in the 60's and 70's why were there condom machines in the gents ! Although we were in an inside cabin we left the TV on at night tuned to the bow camera channel, we then know if it's night or day. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
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
Aurora Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.8
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 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 3.0 3.9

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