We travelled in a multi-generational group - mother has cruised before but the rest of us were first-timers. We had originally been booked to go to Norway with Fred.Olsen, but they decided to let their ship be used for Olympic accommodation and their cruises were rescheduled to a time when we couldn't go, rather late in the day I might add, and this was the alternative we found. On reflection I think that the Aurora is probably more suitable for a family anyway, so Fred.Olsen might never get us back now!
We booked the cruise parking at Southampton, and I was very impressed with how smoothly it went, even with a last-minute change of terminal: it was easy to find, very efficient, and the whole embarkation process seemed swift and straightforward. We are obviously not regular cruisers and have nothing to compare with, but we thought the Aurora was lovely - comfortable and quite smart enough, we saw no sign of the leaking pipes which others have mentioned on other cruises and there was regular maintenance going on all the time. We mainly used the Orangery for breakfast and lunch, which we thought was very good, and ate in the Alexandria restaurant (2nd sitting) in the evening. Our waiters Tanmoy and Custodio & head waiter Sunil were very attentive, going out of their way to find something which our son would eat. We used the library quite a lot on sea days (reasonable choice of books, also has jigsaws and other games), didn't go to any entertainment except the entertaining interview with the Captain, used the Crystal Pool.
The children's activities semed very well organised. The cabins were comfortable, well looked after unobtrusively by our cabin steward. The ship was very stable - hardly aware of movement except on the last full day when it was a little less comfortable. I was expecting worse in the North Sea though! We loved the scenery, and went on three shore excursions; we had very good guides and it's hard to pick a favourite trip but I would probably have to choose Beautiful Stryn (from Olden) for the fantastic scenery. All four ports (Stavanger, Olden, Alesund and Bergen) were interesting and attractive but also quite different from each other, and we thought the programme was put together thoughtfully. I was not sure whether cruising was really for me but I did enjoy it, thought the service was great and the crew work so hard (never seemed to have days off!)Disembarkation was also very straightforward, with lots of people around to help and car retrieval very simple.