We spent 19 nights on the P&O Aurora from Singapore to Sydney as part of her 2017 World Cruise.
Overall it was an enjoyable experience with a few problems along the way.
The weather proved to be a problem because before we got to Western Australia the outside temperature dropped considerably and as we had five more sea days to go before we got to Sydney only the bravest went out on deck as it was cold. During this period the ship was also cold as there were lots of doors open letting in cold air. It was also noticeable that the air conditioning was on in places where it was already cold.
The ship was quite stable so those who were not the best sailors had no problems in that area.
We dined mainly in the Horizon Buffet as we prefer the more exotic tasting food that is usually served on ships. We tried the restaurant a couple of times but found it concentrated more on looks than taste. Getting a table for two in the restaurant was also difficult. At the start of the voyage the food in the Horizon was quite bland and on asking one of the chefs why this was so he replied that if it was spicy nobody would eat it. However they occasionally excelled in that region and produced some good dishes. They have a different theme each night in the buffet so there were some interesting dishes to be sampled. The layout of the Horizon was quite good with plenty of tables for two. There were occasionally queues but nothing to worry about. The Raffles bar serves Costa coffee and all cakes were complimentary. That was not advertised anywhere. The coffee was not as good as Costa coffee on land. On the subject of coffee I had read in a few places that the coffee on Aurora was not good so I brought my own. I have to say that the coffee on board in the Horizon was quite drinkable and was made from ground coffee so I brought all my own back home.
On the whole the entertainment was mediocre with a couple of decent shows and several acts that excelled. The other entertainment put on in the small lounges was pretty awful and nothing like you would expect on a British ship. The resident band, called Caravan, were very good.
We paid the full tips, they took the lot the first day but the day before we disembarked our cabin steward left an envelope and we put a small amount of money in it. The morning we left the ship he just gave us a cursory nod. We assume it was because of the small amount of money we left him. Was he not aware we had paid our tips? We shall never know.
The staff on the shore excursions desk were not as friendly as the rest of the crew.
The outside space was quite good with usually lots of free loungers. However, the loungers outside were hard and not very comfortable.
Semarang – We opted for the ships tour to the Buddhist Temple at Borobudur and the journey there, over two hours, was good with lots of nice scenery. However, when we got there it started to rain so ruined the visit somewhat. On the journey back the heavens opened for the whole trip.
Bali – We booked a private trip and saw some interesting places but it could have been better.
Fremantle – We took a ships tour which showed both Fremantle and Perth as well as a boat trip on the Swan river and a journey out to the Swan Valley for a wine tasting and lunch. Overall it was a decent day.
Adelaide – We took the shuttle to the city and had a look around on our own. We spent time in the Botanical Gardens and the South Australia Museum. We spent all our time in there in the Aboriginal section as it was amazing with so many exhibits to feast your eyes on. It would take days to go through it all properly. As we came out we spotted an exhibit of animals of the world, called the World Mammals Gallery, set out in continents. I don’t know if the animals were stuffed or were models. Its a beautiful place and worth another visit.
Kangaroo Island - The tour on Kangaroo island we wanted had increased from £75 to £95. That’s a 26% increase and that was not acceptable. When we got to Kangaroo Island there were a number of local operators doing tours in minibuses but we were unprepared for this. However, they were willing to charge any tours booked to the ship account as there was a desk there for that purpose. There was never any mention of this on the ship. We went for a long walk and really enjoyed it. It was so peaceful with beautiful fresh air.
Melbourne – We took the free shuttle to Federation Square and from there we went to see St Patricks Cathedral, Treasury Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens. We had a look at Captain Cooks House and the Conservatory. We had a look around the shops before going back to the ship by shuttle.
Sydney – The ship stayed in port overnight so we took a ships tour to the Blue Mountains. It was a good trip with a heavy rain shower while we were in the coach but otherwise the weather was very good. The one problem was that it took well over two hours to get to the first stop without a break and some people were quite annoyed about this as we then had twenty minutes to see the view from Echo Point but many people spent most of that time trying to get to the toilet.
We stayed in a hotel for two nights after the cruise and had a wonderful tour of the Opera House. Unfortunately it rained for most of the two days so several planned trips had to be cancelled.
We were in B133, an inside cabin on Deck 10, which was very comfortable and everything worked. The walls were a bit thin though as we could hear people talking in the cabins next door. Having tea and coffee making facilities was a boon first thing in the morning. They provided good tea and coffee as well. The shower head was removable and was needed in such a small place. There was ample storage space as well as a safe and a fridge. The television was small and most stations had a bad picture.
The pillows were quite hard and in my case one was too low and two was too high. They don’t have any different pillows. My wife has a condition which dictates she has to sleep sitting up but the ship couldn’t offer any soft pillows so she had an uncomfortable voyage.
A wonderful city with so much to see.
This was our second visit and its time to move on.
Lots to see and not enough time.View All undefined undefined Reviews
A place to go back to.
Its a beautiful place but time was not on our side.
Another city worh another look.
It was rushed with time wasted on several occasions and the lunch wasn't up to much.View All 29 Blue Mountains Reviews