We’re currently on our 6th day of a Caribbean cruise on the P&O Aurora, which left Southampton on April 12, 2012. During our review of the Aurora we’ve looked at how this experience is suited to families, older couples, and those wishing to get married or renew their wedding vows. This has been made possible thanks to travelling in a group that includes all of the above, and meeting people getting married onboard during their cruise to the Caribbean from Southampton for 22 days.
While we’re still 2 days away from Antigua in the Caribbean, one thing has become apparent very quickly, and that is the P&O Aurora is in desperate need of a refit. We wouldn’t expect the 12 year old Aurora cruise ship to be on the same level as the other ships we’ve reviewed, which include the Independence of the Seas, Celebrity Eclipse, and P&O Azura, although there are some things that all cruise ships should have in 2012.
One of our days onboard required we stay in our cabin for a whole day thanks to our son being a little ill, which meant we got to see how good the cabin entertainment was first hand. The newer ships we’ve reviewed before were great for families and the older generation alike thanks to simple controls and on-demand entertainment, which meant it had been easy to watch movies, TV shows, see your cruise bill, photos, and more. On the P&O Aurora this is not the case and in fact has no on-demand entertainment, no way to check your bill via a TV, and in fact repeats programmes most days over and over.
The same movie is repeated around 5 times in a row in many cases, and would likely have already been on a few days earlier as well, which means you have no control over what entertainment is on the TV other than the few select channels on offer. We managed to watch Toy Story 5 times and Tower Heist 3 times, and while this had been great for our autistic son it also shows poor planning by P&O. We contacted reception for reasons behind the looping of programmes everyday and even repeating loops a few days in a row, and after explaining this information would be submitted in our review, they explained the decisions were made by “offshore management“.
It’s fair to say once you reach the Caribbean in-room entertainment is the last thing on your mind, but while on a small ship such as the Aurora and spending 15 days at sea out of 22, you’ll certainly expect a better level of facilities for cabins.
P&O Aurora is aging and this has resulted in water leaks – during our stay onboard the Aurora we noticed water leaks coming around lights in the ceiling, which had been noticed the moment we got onboard (we informed them on day one). Now 6 days in we noticed leaks again outside of our cabin, which worried us about the fact that this is electric and water near each other, so we contacted reception immediately. The relaxed attitude of the supervisor didn’t make us relaxed, although he explained that there is “old copper piping” above the lights and he “guaranteed us” that all was safe. He continued that if water did make its way to electrics then it would shut off the power, so we “had nothing to worry about”.
While this is reassuring, seeing what seems to be damp surrounding the light and rust on the metal was certainly not reassuring, and adds to our view that P&O’s Aurora needs a refit as soon as possible. You can see photos on this page, which were taken while onboard the Aurora in April 2012.
In Summary: If you plan to travel on the P&O’s Aurora with a cruise that has many sea days then expect boredom in the cabin, so bring plenty of crosswords and other gadgets to keep you busy. Sadly this ship is in need of a refit to bring it inline with other cruise ships that offer much more for the cabin, including ordering, seeing photos, on-demand entertainment, and more via your TV. Considering the cruise prices are pretty much the same as other ships with much newer technology and features, we’d recommend families especially avoid this cruise ship until it gets a refit.
There are plenty of other features lacking around the ship but we’ll save that for another article, so for now feel free to leave a comment if you’ve travelled on the Aurora as well as other cruise ships. What improvements do you feel this aging ship needs, considering you’re parting with money for much less on the P&O Aurora?
Update: After complaining about the water leaks for around a week while onboard we’ve seen results at last, and just yesterday we received the letter below in our cabin. Funny enough this had been after explaining we had taken photos and published them to Cruise Ship News, although the problem is much bigger than just the photos you see on this page. There are leaks all around the ship and we have more photos of piping with water leaking in a number of locations, which again means this ship does have a problems that need fixing when at port.