We enjoyed a Christmas Cruise last year with Royal Caribean and anticipated a similar experience - what a disappointment.
Before we even started we found the website very difficult to navigate and actually speaking to someone on the phone even more difficult.
The coach trip to Southampton was well communicated and the coach was large and spacious. The fact that coach parked well away from the pick up point was a major problem as we had to man handle our luggage several hundred yards in wet conditions. ( This was true of the return journey too)
Registration was smooth as was the emergency briefing.
The food in the Horizon restuarant (breakfast and lunch) was on a par with a Wetherstones pub. Scrambled eggs made with egg powder and toast as hard as biscuits with no difference in choice from day to day. One egg station with massive queues. Lunch offered a more varied choice but the quality and presentation ( apart from desserts) was a low standard. Food apparently haphazardly piled into heated trays.
Dinner in the Medina restuarant was much better but apart from Christmas Day the food on the two other formal nights was not special.
Service in the restaurants and bars was mixed. The almost complete reliance on male waiters and bar staff was most surprising - some were very good but others surly and arrogant, particularly when dealing with my wife who is Asian and was ignored or looked down upon on many occasions.
Evening entertainment was very limited. The Headliners sang and danced to popular groups/genres and were well drilled. Hardly West End show performers though and the 'shows' lacked creativity, uniqueness or any 'wow' factor.
The stopping off points, Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Bruges were well selected and the best parts of our trip.
The guests on board were mainly couples and for the most part elderly. My wife christened the cruise ship a floating nursing home as many many guests were infirm needing help in one way or another to get round the ship. The ones in motorized wheelchairs were reckless and seemed to have little regard for fellow passengers whilst the ones on sticks or walking frames seemed to block passageways by walking 2 or 3 abreast.
All in all a very disappointing experience and one I will not repeat. The difference between the Royal Caribean experience and the P&O Aurora experience is so vast it cannot sensibly be measured in my view.
Disappointingly small, very cramped entrance area and bedside. Adequate bathroom. Available space badly utilised