P&O Cruises

Aurora

Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

P&O Cruises
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeSmall

Insider Take

Overview

The P&O Cruises Aurora has many amenities. These include three pools, including one with a skydome. The Aurora also has 12 bars and lounges, including an open deck grill restaurant for relaxed dining. For entertainment, guests can enjoy the golf simulator, the 660 seat theater and the spa and fitness center. If you want the ultimate indulgence, the Aurora has a luxurious two story penthouse.Read More

Ship Overview

Instantly recognizable with her elegantly tiered stern, the Aurora is a large resort ocean cruiser, designed for cruisers who prefer to embark and disembark in the United Kingdom. Offering good value for money, the traditional cruise format appeals to individuals, couples, families, and groups seeking worldwide destinations. Very British in atmosphere and ambience, the dining, entertainment and activities aboard are what one would expect from lively restaurants, theaters, and recreation hotspots found on U.K. shores. Families are welcome and can enjoy a special children’s program, club, and dedicated pool.

Aurora is a bit more formal than fleetmates Arcadia and Oceana but has superb facilities for children. Adjacent to the playroom and teen center, parents and kids have a dedicated area at the ship’s stern with its own pool, hot tub, and table tennis area. There’s even a bar nearby and waiter service for when you’re thirsty. Aurora is so family-friendly that there’s even a baby monitor in every cabin. Not merely kid stuff, Aurora has much to offer for adults. Interiors are designed in such a way that spaciousness prevails, while public rooms are quite distinct.

The centerpiece of Aurora‘s impressive four-deck-high atrium is a lovely sculptural Lalique-inspired waterfall. Relaxation is easy in the comfortable surroundings of Anderson’s, a mahogany- paneled lounge that has a fireplace. From the vantage point of the Crow’s Nest, enjoy spectacular sunsets. Head to upper decks for a tennis court, golf simulator, and third pool with sky dome. Other facilities include a virtual reality arcade, broad teak promenade deck, 12 lounges/bars, and a comfortable cinema that doubles as a concert and lecture hall.

Since 1937, P&O Cruises (originally the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company) has been a force in passenger shipping. Although the company’s suggestion that they invented leisure cruising cannot be proven, P&O is assuredly a pioneer of modern cruising. The company acquired Princess Cruises in 1974. P&O then purchased Sitmar Cruises and merged it with Princess in 1988, and the passenger-cruise business—known as P&O Princess—was spun off in 2000.

P&O Cruises is the oldest cruise in the world and remains Britain’s leading cruise line, sailing the U.K.’s largest and most modern fleet. The ships are equipped with every traditional big-ship amenity, including swimming pools, stylish restaurants, spas, bars, casinos, theaters, and show rooms.

Seven ships in the P&O fleet offer a diverse range of venues for relaxation and entertainment, including cocktail bars, nightclubs, cinemas, games rooms, and cabaret lounges. Enjoy live bands, dramatic musicals, and deck parties, cabaret singers, comedians, specialty acts, classical recitals, and concerts. Theme evenings include tropical, 1960s and ’70s, or Black and White Ball. Other activities include quizzes and panel games, with prizes awarded to winning teams. A select number of itineraries offer the opportunity to spend the evening, or even overnight, in port.

An abundance of balcony and outside cabins on P&O ships ensures that a view to the sea is never far away. Accommodations, from inside cabins to lavish suites, cater to a wide cross section of budgets and tastes. In the interest of passenger health and safety, smoking has been prohibited indoors, including in all cabins and suites and on private balconies. Outdoor smoking venues are published on board.

To offer passengers a variety of choices, P&O has adapted their fleet to match the preferences of their primary markets. Although most of the ships cater to families as well as couples and singles of all ages, Arcadia, Adonia, andOriana are adults-only ships. The Aurora, Azura, Oceana, and Ventura complete the P&O armada and welcome both adults and children. Following customer feedback, P&O announced major refurbishments for the Ventura, Oceana, and Arcadia in 2013.

  • 9 passenger decks
  • 2 specialty restaurants
  • 2 dining rooms
  • buffet
  • café
  • Safe
  • refrigerator
  • DVD (some)
  • 3 pools (1 indoor)
  • children’s pool
  • Fitness classes
  • gym
  • hot tubs
  • sauna
  • spa
  • steam room
  • 13 bars
  • casino
  • dance club
  • library
  • show room
  • Laundry facilities
  • laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • Children’s programs
  • No-smoking cabins

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
No cost for use of saunas and steam rooms
Formal night dress codes are strictly enforced throughout ship
A complimentary mineral water and amenities “pamper pack” is in all cabins upon arrival
The small fitness center has a very limited number of machines and workout space
For a family-friendly ship, there are few interconnecting doors between cabins
Special event cakes, specialty coffees, bottled water, and ice cream are no longer free
Ship design may feel dated

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Cabins
Suites
Accessibility

All accommodations have adequate storage space, a vanity desk, TV, safe, hair dryer, refrigerator, and tea/coffeemaker. Balcony cabins have a small sofa, chair, and table, but only Deluxe Balcony cabins and above have a decent-size seating area and use of bathrobes, atlas, and binoculars during the cruise. Standard inside cabins have a shower only; all other accommodations have a tub. All balconies are not created equal; some have obstructed views.

Suites receive mineral water, fruit basket, flowers, champagne, and chocolates upon arrival, and canapés are delivered daily. A bathrobe, slippers, atlas, and binoculars for use during the cruise are provided, and bathrooms have whirlpool tubs and separate shower. All have a trouser press, iron and ironing board, and DVD player. In addition, full suites have the added services of a butler, separate dining areas, and bathrooms with dual sinks. The two Penthouses are duplexes with a spiral staircase and two balconies. One has a baby grand player piano. Balconies for A104 and A105 are completely shaded; A106 and A107 are partially shaded; and C104 and C107 are smaller than other suite balconies.

Twenty-two cabins are wheelchair accessible.

Food & Drink

Food

Breakfast and lunch are open seating in the Alexandria and Medina dining rooms; for dinner, two traditional seatings are at assigned tables. The bistro-style Café Bordeaux specialty restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine, requires reservations, and has a surcharge. The casual Orangery buffet restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea, as well as themed dinners. The outdoor sidewalk Pennant Grill serves fast-food snacks and pizza, and has a coffee and chocolate bar. Expect extra charges for room service.

Entertainment

When it comes to bars the Aurora offers a variety to suit every mood including the Crow’s Nest bar, which offers a great view of every port along the way (and the oceans in between), Champions sports bar and adjacent casino, and a third bar called Anderson’s. Entertainment-wise there’s the Playhouse cinema, which shows recently released films, Carmen’s show lounge, and atmospheric Curzon theatre.

Spa & Fitness

The Oasis Spa has a sauna and steam room, both free for all to use. But cruisers can pamper themselves with an invigorating body scrub, massage, manicure, or hair styling. One-hour treatments are expensive. A small gym is outfitted with running machines, bikes, rowers, and weights. Enroll in the Pilates classes held weekly for a fee. Four whirlpool hot tubs and three swimming pools accommodate passengers young and old. One of the pools has a sky-dome; another one is dedicated for family use.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2000
Number of Cabins
939
Passenger Capacity
1,870
Crew Members
850
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.20
Gross Tons
7600
Width
106 feet
Length
886 feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
0845/374–0111

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