Aurora Cruise ShipP&O Cruises
"Our first cruise was on the P&O Aurora on 28 Dec for 5 days round Bruges and Hamburg. Both are nice cities well worth a visit and pleasurable day was had at both.
Embarkation parking with CPL was great, very efficient. Once inside, we had to wait in the lounge until a set time and then queue at a desk to check in, then queue at security, then get on, but it wasn’t too bad.
The Aurora was well maintained and about the same standard as a 4 star mainstream hotel. The cabins were clean, and the maid was excellent, servicing the cabin very attentively. There was more room in the cabin than we expected. On board there was entertainment, bars, a casino, lots of shops, restaurants and a very good gym and spa. The gym was too hot to use as the ship is 26 degrees Celsius everywhere, but you could run on the promenade deck if you wanted and get some air.
The average age of clients was very old and I would not recommend it for anyone under 65. The set evenings were formal dress which was fine, but what makes people think it is OK to turn up to breakfast not showering still in pajamas? It was more like an old person’s home than a hotel. That’s not P&Os fault of course but perhaps they should refuse breakfast guests in underwear just as you would refuse someone in trainers and jeans at a black tie diner.
Overall the staff were helpful apart from a few – one very rude waiter and one extremely rude car park attendant at the terminal, who was not interested in telling anyone where they could unload or load, just where they couldn’t, which is everywhere.
The main problem that would put us off cruising with P&O ever again was the food. Not the quantity or quality (which was OK, like a decent motorway services really, which as they were feeding 2000 people isn’t bad).
The problem is the utterly stupid dining rules. You either have to pre-book and eat in the same place at the same time every single night. Or choose freedom dining and go anywhere to be told they are full and no you cannot book anywhere, at anytime. So the restaurant tables are half empty with people who booked but fancied a change and did not show for their booked table. You can’t sit there because it is booked even though it’s empty. The people who did book are somewhere else being told they can’t eat there because it is full and they did not book.
Even the staff do not understand the daft rules and contradicted each other at the same food station! P&O read chaos theory – you are causing the problem. Let people just turn up and eat when and where they want and there will be no problem. Old people and kids eat at 18:30, everyone else 20:00 and it balances out.
We were set to eat between 18:30 and 20:30 but the waiters wanted us out at 19:45 to reset the table. 5 courses in just over an hour after ordering is too fast. We asked for a 5 min break before dessert but they asked again after 35 seconds and would not take no for an answer. We complained we were forced to leave at 19:45 and asked why? The staff just repeated the message we need the table for 20:30. This happened every night even though we turned up bang on time to start every night. The waiters refused to slow down, it was worse than eating at a fast food restaurant, with a waiter often putting your soup down in front of you while you were still eating the starter. We went to reception to try to sort it out but the staff while polite just repeat the message, ‘it is the rules you have to be out by 20:30’. When we asked to see the rules explaining things they just repeated the message. It seems P&O expect passengers to just know the rules even if the staff don’t. Why were not allowed to finish the meal by 20:00 say, we will never know. So for P&O if you eat between 18:30 and 20:30, it means you start at 18:30 and finish at 19:45 and leave. We even asked what time zone the kitchen was on but it wasn’t that.
The other big problem was the shambolic safety drill. We were called to the muster station for the understandably mandatory drill. The two staff at muster station E did not know where muster station E was even though they were at it. The recorded message stuck and was restarted 3 times. The Captain tried to deliver a personal message (probably to apologize) but the speakers cut out twice. They gave up. They do this every week and messed it up. What would happen in a real emergency they have not seen before? No thanks I am not trusting my family’s safety to these guys again. Your life is in the hands of a soup waiter and a croupier who do not know where your muster station is, even when they are already stood at it – no thanks.
If you like very regimented holidays, and are over 75 this would be ideal, if not I would not recommend it."
- Holiday details: Jan 2016, Booked Independently
- Advice: Wait until you are over 75
1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"This was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime and it was our first with P andO. We could not have been more disappointed. We never felt welcomed and found the staff unsmiling, efficient but brusque to the point of rudeness (especially at Reception). Our balcony cabin's air conditioning could not be turned off and left us feeling headache and nauseous each morning. We had a blocked toilet six times during the cruise and had to call reception and wait for a plumber each time, including twice in the night. Each time we were told that either we or fellow passengers had been putting "the wrong things" down the loo. It was not until a senior staff member let slip that it was actually "an ongoing engineering problem" that the truth emerged. We were told not to tell anyone else about this revelation. There was a constant unpleasant urine smell in the bathroom and twice we had it "sanitized." We spent several days pleading for a replacement toilet brush until one finally arrived.
About halfway through the cruise a cough bug began to spread and both my husband and I caught it. I have a serious chronic lung problem and so, two weeks after returning home, and after two courses of high strength antibiotics, I am just about getting over it. There seemed to be little effort to improve hygiene. We never saw handrails or lifts being sanitized, the staff did not enforce using hand gel before eating and the public toilet areas were not always spotless.
The trips were badly organized ,some even chaotic, but of course this was"the fault of the passengers who came down too early."
It was not all bad. On the whole the food was good as was some of the entertainment. The highlights of our cruise were the choir with the ever cheerful Ryan in charge and the jolly atmosphere in the launderette!"
- Holiday details: Sep 2015, Booked Independently
- Advice: Avoid
2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Another fabulous holiday with great surroundings and service from all. This was our eighth cruise with p &o .R512 cruise had great ports including Venice and Split and interesting and informative staff. Superb weather made it even better."
- Holiday details: Jul 2015, booked with Thomson
- Advice: follow the dress code.
2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"A wonderful 13 night cruise aboard Aurora from Southampton to the Canaries and Lisbon and Madeira.
Check-in was easy, as was the car drop off process. We were soon relieved of our baggage and making our way to our cabin. Our interior cabin was well kitted out and spotless. Plenty of closet space for two ladies with too much luggage! Our cabin boy Morris was serious and helpful and incredible polite. During the cruise he created swans from our towels and later an elephant. Very talented.
We ate at the Medina restaurant every evening. Our fellow diners were lots of fun and this certainly enhanced the experience. Not that any enhancement was necessary - the food was absolute magnificent and the staff incredibly helpful and professional. Our grateful thanks go to Joe and Jones our waiters and Elvis our wine waiter.
On the subject of wine. Does it have to be so expensive?
We ate occasionally - lunch and afternoon tea - at the self service restaurant the Orangery. However, I much preferred the silver service of the Medina and not having to queue or carry a tray. It must be said that the hot scones in the Orangery are delicious. In general the curries are fantastic. A different curry each day for lunch and the quality superb owing no doubt to the majority Indian crew.
We had breakfast in the Marco Pierre White restaurant a couple of times, but the style and menu choices weren't appealing compared to the breakfast menu at Medina
This was a Strictly cruise. Therefore there were Strictly events. Craig Revel Horwood was aboard for a book promotion and for an evening session of questions and answers. He was present in the disco at night (sadly didn't see him dancing)and in the bars with his partner. Fab-u-lous shoes.... Also on board were Strictly professionals, Darren Bennett, Lilia Kopylova, Camilla Dallerup and the so handsome Ian Waite. A bonus was getting 'up close and personal' with Mark Foster the Olympic swimmer. His dancing skills hadn't got any better but he came across as a shy and single minded athlete.
The headliners dance troupe were good, but the choreography seemed to be dull. However hats off to all the dancers who managed to dance so well when at sea without seeming to be perturbed by the swell.
The cocktail pianist David Taylor was friendly and extremely talented. Lovely to hear him play outside Anderson. We tried to get to see him most nights.
Caravan are a superb cover band. Their cover of Bohemian Rhapsody is absolutely unmissable. Loved it when the wine waiter from Medina took the microphone one night in the Terrace Bar and belted out some rock n roll for us.
Ballroom dancing with Richard two hours per day, and then sequence ballroom another couple of hours per day kept me busy. Only criticism was that there were no hosts at the evening dances. As a single woman, passionate about dancing, I was looking forward to dancing the night away with a handsome ship's officer.... instead all dressed up and nowhere to go, I often sat alone in Carmens or the disco. Dancing was couples dominated.
DSI put on a lovely display of Strictly dresses. It was great to be able to touch them and see them for the works of art that they are. So many hours of work and planning for each one.
The professional photographers were present every trip ashore, every event and in the evenings. Their photographs were great, but pricey.
The entertainment in the Curzon was good. The ships entertainment officer was extremely professional and the range of entertainment superb especially the ventriloquist 'I'm only four...'.
Shore visits were partly disappointing. Lisbon and Madeira were lovely and we explored both independently. However the 'Essence' shore excursions on La Palma and Gran Canaria have to considered a waste of time and money. The exception was the tour to Fire Mountain on Lanzarote, our host was very informative and we didn't get the impression we were being driven around to kill time as with the other tours.
The Captain's welcome gala was a little disappointing. We were led into the Crow's nest and were seated in small groups. But none of the ship's company passed amongst the guests, and we had the impression the drinks were limited. We weren't there for the free drinks, but there were no canapes and the occasion could have been made to be so much more special and a highlight of the cruise.
Finally, the real stars of the show are the staff. Thanks to all the waiters outside and in, thanks to all the entertainment crew, thanks for the stewards and all the unseen staff working behind the scenes. Its because of you that our holiday on Aurora was a holiday of a lifetime... THANK YOU."
- Holiday details: Sep 2014, Booked Independently
- Advice: Elasticated waist trousers and skirts for week two
9 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Noisey room, very hard to sleep. Loud thumping n rattling all night n all day! Great staff. Got a bit bored during the day with not much to do and the evening was the same sort of music. Was a few children around but mostly much older people. Boat was nice apart from a few leaks through the lights! Food was good n plenty of it."
- Holiday details: Apr 2014, Booked Independently
- Advice: check how noisey your room will be depending on which cabin and where
10 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"A lovely ship, happy staff, but oh those round the worlds, ignorant people who think they own the ship, spend nothing and fill bottles with water and orange juice from the buffet, even when asked not to. We met some marvelous people and had a fantastic time. Our cabin steward mincer was a star, there was a bad case of coughing and chest infections going round. Food was good and the restaurant had a good variety of menus, waiters an wine waiters were lovely and couldn't do enough. Would i sail on her again, probably but much prefer Ventura."
- Holiday details: Jan 2014, booked with CRUISE CLUB UK
5 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"We sailed on Aurora from Southampton for Christmas and new year. What a fantastic captain Neil Turnbull was, it was lovely to see him waiting in line in the mornings with his children waiting for breakfast like everybody else. He seemed to be everywhere on the ship and always said hello. We have sailed on Royal Caribbean ,Msc,Carnival and Disney and the kids club was the best by far. The girls in jumping jacks were so friendly and my 2 little ones were in the Nativity on Christmas morning which was amazing. Apart from the weather which was awful the only complaint we had was the amount of very RUDE PENSIONERS, most of them would just ignore you if you held the door open or let them in front of you. My children were amazed that people could get in the lift and just push past them. All i have to say to them is stick to adults only ships and remember that once you were a CHILD. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 and our steward Grenville was so helpful especially when my little boy was ill. We would probably sail with p&o again but on a more family friendly ship."
- Holiday details: Dec 2013, Booked Independently
- Advice: Balcony cabin in the middle
7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"This was our third cruise with P@0, having already been on the Oceana and Ventura, and we were not disappointed; she is a little older,yes, but is contemporary with a feeling of opulence, decadence, and unique friendliness.
The staff all seemed relaxed, only too happy to help,appeared happy in their work, and we felt this was a knock on effect of the CapTAYNE(as he addressed himself) Neil Turnbull, who was the most personable master of a ship we have ever encountered.....he is a fabulous example of family cruising for the future.
We travelled as a fifty something couple on our own but were lucky enough to be seated with two other like-minded couples, and this just enhanced our holiday.
The children were catered for, as were the teenagers; this shipj just has something for everyone, and we would like to give a special thank you to our cabin steward Elias, and our lovely restaurant staff, Viv, Ash, Marilyn, and Salvador...who ran the show and always had the biggest smile!
The food was fabulous, as was the service, at all times.
A fantastic holiday....until the next one...so with the speed of a thousand gazelles(the Captaynes quaint term of phrase) we are signing off.
Jane and Kev Hill."
- Holiday details: Jul 2011
- Advice: Read your daily Horizon mag to ensure you don't miss out.
20 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Me and my wife have just returned from a 14 day trip to Norway , the cruise was very good apart from missing the last port of call due to the pilots being on strike. The down side was 90% of the passengers were either crippled or 90years old. Getting behind one was a nightmare as they took ages to hobble down the decks. Also dodging the wheelchairs speeding into the lifts was very annoying,in the buffet dining they had a habit of forgetting where they were and just stood still when you were behind them with a tray of food.they also nicked the digestive biscuits from the cheese board.the worse thing was the smokers lighting up just outside the dining room so all their foul stench wafted into your nose as you were eating.I enjoyed the ports and sights of Norway but won't sail with the contents of a care home again."
- Holiday details: May 2012, booked with Bolster cruise club
- Advice: Go with younger passengers
29 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"My husband and myself have just returned from a Baltic Cruise, and feel that we could have had a much better time visiting the various ports independently using the wasted time on board flying from port to port. The cost of the cruise itself is expensive, but there is also a hidden cost for all the extras (drinks, trips etc) even wi-fi. True, there are a lot of things to entertain you on board, but it is very much like "Butlins on Sea" and the experience of the ports are minimal. Cruising is for those who are either too ill to fly, those who do not like flying or those who have a great deal of money and time to waste. There was a nono-virus scare when we were on board. It was laughable at the precautions that were taken. Passengers had our hands cleaned with gel every time we entered a dining area. The waiters though handed everyone paper menus which were not sterile and I noticed on a number of occasions unused pots of marmalade being returned to the store to be handed out to the next diner. The precaution was hit and miss to say the least with the waiters enjoying the power that they had over the clients. I was astonished that one waiter's job was to pore coffee and tea to the diners while another just pored water to the diners. Why a coffee pot and water jug couldn't be put on the table thus reliving the waiters time was a mystery. I noticed a number of times that there were too many staff and work was being created and the clients were given miss information as to the time of meals. All in all a very expensive not to be repeated."
- Holiday details: May 2012, booked with Iglu
19 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Just got back from a caribbean cruise for 22 nights. Being 38 years of age and going with family aged 50 to 75 we were prepared for the elder clientele. Unfortunately i wasn`t well for the first week and spent a few times in the medical centre on board. We felt fleeced and scare mongered with what was wrong with me. We were told i had to have proper tests in Antigua and would possibly have to get off of the ship. I found the medical centre to be unefficient and rip off merchants because they know they can charge as much as possible because hopefully your insurance will cover it. Problem being you have to upfront the money before leaving the ship. Fortunately we could get back on the ship. After being told i could return back on board our holiday finally began. The food in the Medina and Alexandria restaurants were 5 star, the service and waiters were fantastic. The orangery reminded us of buffet butlins. The Pennant grill was so lovely, especially on hot evenings as the ship leaves port. Cafe Bordeaux was very disappointing. I think if Marco Pierre White was to visit he would be very upset. The whole vibe and service just didn`t match other restaurants on the ship.
Entertainment from the Headliners was our high-light and the Beatles tribute band, David copperfield but everything else was very mediocre and sometimes tedious and boring. If you are someone who likes to play Golf, Tennis etc these facilities are also mediocre. The Golf simulator kept playing up and to book a lesson you would have to wait for a week. We found that there really wasn`t enough to do and there were too many days at sea. The port calls were a much needed break from the ship and we would definitely like to hoilday in St Maarten or St Lucia now.
Our cabin was inside and ok but the ship is rather worn looking in places and there were so many leaks around the ship with buckets and cones seeming part of the furniture, there was water leaking from lights in the hallways. Not Good. This isn`t a holiday for the young or middle aged. There were so many wheel chairs, zimmers, scooters and slow moving people and at times this was very frustrating. I don`t mean to sound nasty because these things may happen to us one day but this is just not a cruise for young able bodied people. You will get bored!!! Staff are excellent though and Jason Dean who does the radio and Entertaining on board was the one who entertained the most. We did have a nice break but it does feel like a money making machine at times. We wouldn`t return to this ship again."
- Holiday details: Apr 2012, Booked Independently
- Good For: Beach
19 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"I have recently returned from a 12 night Medeterrenean cruise on the Aurora. This time I was accompanied by my elderly mother, who unfortunately suffers from Alziemers Disease, I was determined to give her one last cruise before she dies. One big problem, I found though, is that P&O will go out of the way, if you have some physical disability, hence specially designed cabins for wheel chair users, mobility assistance at port disembarcation etc, but on some ailment that is not visibly noticeable, they are not so strong. My mother is fairly physically active for her age (she's 86) but this is more of a hinderance than a help, if you suffer alzeimers, for instance, although she has been on the ship many times before, she could not find her way around the ship, and could'nt use the swipe card key to her cabin. Although, I had a next door cabin, I could'nt keep tabs on her all the time, and she sometimes went wandering out of her cabin and got lost, she was usually picked up by a member of staff, but they were far from sympathetic at times (language difficulty, is a problem here) and made it clear to me, that I should keep a better eye on her, which grated with me a little bit, especially when I witness badly behaved children, unaccompanied by parents, not being challenged about their behaviour.
As for the ship, the food was good, with the odd duff dish, (never tried the cafe bordeux or Pennant grill, the waiting staff were pleasant and efficient in both the bars and the restaurent. The Cabin Steward was average, (did not understand my Mum's need, but I did'nt expect him to), though he lost the plot at the end, when on the last morning he woke me up at 6.15am, loudly talking into his mobile phone, and I had to open the door and tell him to be quite as I was still resting, his tip was of course reduced, and talking about tipping of the cabin steward, here's a useful tip (excuse pun), always give it on the last morning, when you have completely finished with their services, because if you give it the previous night, (which many people do!) and then during the night or next morning, they do something to irratate you, like as happened to me, its then to late, they have got their money from you and are laughing. The theatre company was very good, with some great shows, and the resident band, Caravan were very good. Though that miserable concert pianist was still there. I have seen this gentleman on this ship since 2001, he has a lovely life, full use of all the passenger facilities, sunbathing on deck, seeing the world plus probably reasonably paid, for minimal amount of work, playing a bit of bach or whatever in the Champagne bar for an hour every night (nice work if you can get it). This leads me on to a general criticism of some of the lesser entertainers on P&O cruise ships, I think they are ever in much threat to their jobs as they would be on other lines, because of thier membership of Equity, (one of the worst restrictivwe practice unions, still to be found). and this leads to a comfort zone mentality, Knowing no one is likely to step in and replace them at any time.
The ports of call were all good, apart from that dreadful Gibralter, it has got nothing going for it whatsoever, all it is, is a few ugly buildings, surrounding an ugly looking cliff, and they even have the audacity to charge for shuttle busses, when we subsidise them, with our taxes."
- Holiday details: Aug 2011, All Inclusive, booked with Thomas Cook
- Advice: Use all the facilities available.
21 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Rating by feature
Top traveller tips for Aurora Cruise Ship
" Eat at 8.30pm in the restaurants so you don`t get bored after the early 6.30pm slot. "
" dine in the Bordeaux restaurant - cover charge in the evening but worth it . "
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