Aurora Cruise Review by Potty Terracotta
- Sail Date: January 2016
- Destination: Around the World
- Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom with Shower
The first thing that struck me was that the cabins have not been upgraded as part of Aurora's recent refit. Ours was dated and in a number of area varnish had eroded from furnishings. In addition the balcony was small and the open space small owing to the amount of metal superstructure.
Our initial cabin steward was lazy and inefficient. fortunately he departed at San Fransisco and his replacement was totally different in attitude and operational effectiveness.
Travel through Biscay was hairy and wild with winds at times up to Hurricane strength. Once past the Azores the weather was generally good. Our itinerary of Azores, Barbados, Aruba, Panama Canal, Hautulco, San Fransisco, Maui, Oahu, American Samoa, Samoa, Auckland, Bay of Islands, Wellington, Akaroa for Christchurch, Dunedin and Fiordland, then finally Sydney sounded exciting and lived up to all expectations.
Amazing destinations and fantastic local people greeting our presence, made for enjoyable visits.
The ship entertainment was of a good standard which included session bands - Blue and Caravan, plus female singer, musician - Lyn Fredericks. The ship's dance trupe were as always excellent. The visiting acts were for the most part good, however, some of the visiting acts were terrible - including tribute acts of the Supremes and the Beatles. Tributes they were not - more like insults. To be a quality tribute band a listener must be able to close their eyes and the sounds they hear should be as near to the original artists in tone as you can be. These were very poor. The Supreme Tribute were removed from the Theatre after the first night because as the entertainment Manager Natalie admitted - she would not b able to fill the theatre for a second night. Instead they were relegted to Carmen's show lounge. Similarly the Beatles tribute. Although they were retained in Theatre the second set of performances were nearly cancelled because the "Paul McCartney" was in his sea sick bed. One of the ships Orchestra had to stand in. Other acts varied from Mediocre to Good.
Food in Alexandria restaurant was generally of good quality, although portions were of jockey size, and the menus in my humble opinion were uninspiring. The staff were generally attentive.
The real downside were the P&O organized tours which for the most part were not good value for money - some were excellent, including Christchurch on our own, however the Ipo Valley and Plantation House was nothing short of disgraceful with poor on ship organisation, poor tendering and a 1 hour loss to a 3 hour tour - meaning the tour was literally a whistle stop.
The other disappointment about Aurora was that technical equipment surrounding entertainment either did not work, or was too complicated for entertainment team to use. As a result during the earlier part of the cruise it was not uncommon for quizzes, or game show items to be half an hour late in starting whilst entertainment team called up technicians to fix problems, or show them what buttons to activate.
Despite my minor disappointments over some aspects of entertainment this was a fantastic holiday and ticked so many boxes.
After disembarkation in Sydney we flew to Singapore for a two night stop over to break the journey home up. This was a great idea, except on reflection I should have chosen 4 or 5 nights instead of 2. The 8 hour flight from Sydney with Singapore Airlines was long but enjoyable, however the 14 hour night flight from Singapore to Heathrow was exhausting with only a cat nap possible.
Tip for future travellers breaking your journey in Singapore if flying with Singapore Airlines. Keep you boarding pass as Singapore airlines operates its own fleet of Hop On/Hop Off buses and with you boarding pass t only costs 8 S Singapore, whereas other Hop On companies charge between 22$ Singapore up to $4$ Singapore - a massive saving and routes are almost identical. the Singapore Airlines buses are blue/yellow, or all blue and have SIA on the front and run appx every 15 minutes.
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