First Christmas escape from the in-laws for 23 nights!: Aurora Cruise Review by Finbar OKeefe

Aurora 5
Finbar OKeefe

Overall Member Rating

First Christmas escape from the in-laws for 23 nights!

Sail Date: December 2010
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Other
Our long awaited Christmas/New Year cruise to the Caribbean on Aurora, started with a quick and efficient embarkation - formalities completed and on board in half an hour, and a very enjoyable champagne send off augered well for our first Christmas away from home. The ship was beautifully decorated which added to the festive feel and sense of occasion aboard.

Our inside cabin was spotless, homely, and had adequate storage for our needs, and was conveniently situated for the launderette, lifts and Alexandria Restaurant. Joma, our cabin steward was a real star, efficient, unobtrusive and helpful.

The standards in the traditional bars, such as Anderson`s/Crows Nest, were maintained with dress codes generally very much respected - but one passenger without a jacket on a formal dress night, was discreetly, but firmly asked to leave and find one.

Top marks to the Alexandria Restaurant and on wait staff Joe, and Santano and wine waiter Oswin Rosa. Food was served More warm, professionally and always with a smile. We looked forward to the evening banter. A great effort was made on Christmas Day and New Year`s Eve with the restaurant transformed and decorated with balloons, streamers etc. The staff all joined in with party hats etc., which added to the festive spirit. We now understand why so many passengers are `hooked` on the Christmas/New Year Cruise.

Would we do it again? You betcha!

Overall, the ship was clean, service good, entertainment fair to good, and lectures were informative and interesting.

On disembarkation, we took advantage of leaving early and taking our own luggage, which ensured we were back home by mid-morning.

We had to guess the weight of a cake on the last day of the cruise - does any one know what that weight was? I was probably way out with 10lb 2oz! Less

Published 01/30/11

Cabin review: OCC206 Inside Stateroom with Shower

Our inside cabin was so cosy, and square, which we have never experienced before, so slept very well with the comfortable linen, and loved the location next to the launderette!

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Port and Shore Excursions

This was our favourite island, and the hottest at 84 degrees. We found the locals very friendly. We took trip to Nelson`s Dockyard, which was a delight, and could imagine the sailors from Nelson`s ship enjoying the idealic location of this bay and relaxing drinking the extremely strong rum punch and Wadadli beer. We would love to visit this island again in the future.

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We were disappointed with Barbados, mainly because it was a bank holiday and all the shops were closed. We enjoyed an excursion, and saw the local way of life. The weather had improved, as we were in the Caribbean and knew why we had cruised here in our winter. There were free shuttle buses to the terminal shops which were the only ones open.

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We loved our previous visit to Funchal, in June 2010 when the weather was kinder to us. So we took advantage of the free shuttle service to the town centre. We would have enjoyed the exercise of the 15 minute walk, but the weather was so wet that we headed for a local bar, mixing with the Portuguese locals, and enjoyed a Madeira wine. It was very atmospheric. We also bought Christmas decorations to stick onto our cabin door, as we didn`t know other passengers did this, so we didn`t want to be left out!

This was our first visit to this small island. The rain came in showers, so we had reprieve, to shop in the local dockside area. The local children danced in the main square in their colourful outfits. We sampled the rum punch in the local bar, but we didn`t have a sense of comradery here.

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We had a relaxing day ashore on our own, in very pleasant, clean and friendly surroundings, sampling the local rum punch, which is a must here. The ship was conveniently docked alongside the duty-free shops. The weather had warmed up to the mid 70`s, which made all the difference.

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The rain spoilt the opportunity to photograph this island at its best. But we took a trip across the border to the French side. This was our second visit and had only seen the Dutch half. So it was worth having a look at Marigot Bay, and shopping in the local market, which was full of bargains. There were six cruise ships in, all large which made it feel a bit claustrophobic!

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Finbar OKeefe
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