Arrived back from the Northern Lights trip on Aurora yesterday with mixed feelings. In general the holiday was very good and whilst I would certainly not criticise any of the staff on board I was disappointed with the ship. I know that many people dislike the big ships, but for a tour like this where the outside decks were not particularly accessible for a lot of the time I found it claustrophobic. We were very relieved to have a balcony cabin. On the 12 night cruise there were several days when the outside decks were closed and even when they weren’t it was so cold and windy that it was quite unpleasant to spend much time outside. This put a lot of pressure on the inside areas. The entertainers were mostly pretty good, although a little predictable. As usual the Headliners put a lot of skill and effort into their performances but I found that the singers were trying too hard to sing loud, and should have focussed more on the tune and let the sound engineers make it louder. The speciality acts were also mostly enjoyable. The comedian early in the trip was funny, but had clearly been around for many years and some found his humour a bit tame. We enjoyed good performances by a singer trumpeter and violin player as well as the Brit Tones, although the latter should restrict the chat a bit. We didn’t get around to seeing the resident group, Caravan, until the last night and I regret that as they were excellent. We were on Freedom dining and had a table for two each night. Even so we met some very nice people on adjoining tables on many of the nights. The staff in the dining rooms were very pleasant and efficient as was our cabin steward. The first three of the four ports of call were all small places. In the first, Andalsnes, we had a trip to a skiing and climbing centre with the obligatory coffee and waffles. It became clear that no matter how bad the snow and cold the natives don’t let it bother them. We tourists were kitted out in our thermals but were met up in the mountains by the owner wearing a blouse and thin cardigan. We were most amused at the start of the trip when we all boarded the coach, only to be dropped off about 100 yards later at the Norwegian Mountaineering Centre. Tromsø was the next place and we just took the shuttle into tow and had a wander around. We had a glimpse of the Northern Lights but at this point I was a little underwhelmed as they just looked like slightly green clouds. The highlight of the trip was Alta where, on the first night, we saw a dazzling display of dancing lights from the ship. The temperature was around minus 17 but the thermals coped pretty well. I managed to get some not-bad pictures using an app on my iPhone but as someone had mentioned you need to spend time watching as well as taking pictures. The last stop was Stavanger where we had been several rimes before, so we decided to redo the Pulpit Rock boat trip. Unfortunately the weather was pretty appalling and we could only just see the rock. During the whole cruise we had about 3 days and nights when the winds got up to force 10/11 (maximum is 12). In spite of that I did not feel at all I’ll, but sleeping was almost impossible. Without wishing to sound like a miserable old git, there were some things that were really disappointing. Whilst almost all the people we met were very friendly I was disgusted at the manners of some. 2 young people from the photography department gave a talk about snapping the Northern Lights. They were clearly a bit nervous but during a q&a session lots of people started leaving the theatre and it made it impossible to hear the questions and answers. As usual, it was the same after every show. I wonder what these people do that is so exiting it can’t wait a few minutes. I found the choice of guest speaker disappointing. Whilst probably very popular with people interested in the astronomical world, I found it rather dull. I expected that there may have been an alternative later in the cruise but he was the only one. The last complaint applies to most cruise ships and I’m thinking of starting a support group for people affected. Why on earth do cruise companies think that someone spending between £2000 and £10,000 want to steal some second hand coat hangers. I think we should all boycott ships that don’t have hangers with hooks !!! Seriously though, whilst I probably wouldn’t do a Winter trip to Norway again, and definitely wouldn’t go on Aurora, I’m glad I went and on the whole enjoyed the experience

The rough with the smooth

Aurora Cruise Review by David Owl

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom with Balcony and Bath/Shower
Arrived back from the Northern Lights trip on Aurora yesterday with mixed feelings.

In general the holiday was very good and whilst I would certainly not criticise any of the staff on board I was disappointed with the ship. I know that many people dislike the big ships, but for a tour like this where the outside decks were not particularly accessible for a lot of the time I found it claustrophobic. We were very relieved to have a balcony cabin.

On the 12 night cruise there were several days when the outside decks were closed and even when they weren’t it was so cold and windy that it was quite unpleasant to spend much time outside. This put a lot of pressure on the inside areas.

The entertainers were mostly pretty good, although a little predictable. As usual the Headliners put a lot of skill and effort into their performances but I found that the singers were trying too hard to sing loud, and should have focussed more on the tune and let the sound engineers make it louder. The speciality acts were also mostly enjoyable. The comedian early in the trip was funny, but had clearly been around for many years and some found his humour a bit tame.

We enjoyed good performances by a singer trumpeter and violin player as well as the Brit Tones, although the latter should restrict the chat a bit. We didn’t get around to seeing the resident group, Caravan, until the last night and I regret that as they were excellent.

We were on Freedom dining and had a table for two each night. Even so we met some very nice people on adjoining tables on many of the nights. The staff in the dining rooms were very pleasant and efficient as was our cabin steward.

The first three of the four ports of call were all small places. In the first, Andalsnes, we had a trip to a skiing and climbing centre with the obligatory coffee and waffles. It became clear that no matter how bad the snow and cold the natives don’t let it bother them. We tourists were kitted out in our thermals but were met up in the mountains by the owner wearing a blouse and thin cardigan. We were most amused at the start of the trip when we all boarded the coach, only to be dropped off about 100 yards later at the Norwegian Mountaineering Centre.

Tromsø was the next place and we just took the shuttle into tow and had a wander around. We had a glimpse of the Northern Lights but at this point I was a little underwhelmed as they just looked like slightly green clouds.

The highlight of the trip was Alta where, on the first night, we saw a dazzling display of dancing lights from the ship. The temperature was around minus 17 but the thermals coped pretty well. I managed to get some not-bad pictures using an app on my iPhone but as someone had mentioned you need to spend time watching as well as taking pictures.

The last stop was Stavanger where we had been several rimes before, so we decided to redo the Pulpit Rock boat trip. Unfortunately the weather was pretty appalling and we could only just see the rock.

During the whole cruise we had about 3 days and nights when the winds got up to force 10/11 (maximum is 12). In spite of that I did not feel at all I’ll, but sleeping was almost impossible.

Without wishing to sound like a miserable old git, there were some things that were really disappointing.

Whilst almost all the people we met were very friendly I was disgusted at the manners of some. 2 young people from the photography department gave a talk about snapping the Northern Lights. They were clearly a bit nervous but during a q&a session lots of people started leaving the theatre and it made it impossible to hear the questions and answers. As usual, it was the same after every show. I wonder what these people do that is so exiting it can’t wait a few minutes.

I found the choice of guest speaker disappointing. Whilst probably very popular with people interested in the astronomical world, I found it rather dull. I expected that there may have been an alternative later in the cruise but he was the only one.

The last complaint applies to most cruise ships and I’m thinking of starting a support group for people affected. Why on earth do cruise companies think that someone spending between £2000 and £10,000 want to steal some second hand coat hangers. I think we should all boycott ships that don’t have hangers with hooks !!!

Seriously though, whilst I probably wouldn’t do a Winter trip to Norway again, and definitely wouldn’t go on Aurora, I’m glad I went and on the whole enjoyed the experience
David Owl’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Ages Under 3
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Stateroom with Balcony and Bath/Shower
Cabin DA B260
Decent sized balcony cabin and reasonably kitted out (except for the coat hangers (see review)
Poor choice of channels on the T V
  Aurora Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews