On P&O the paint was peeling on the ceiling and the steward could not avoid a constPerhaps it is an unfair comparison because Aurora is normally reckoned to be a 4 star ship and Celebrity Solstice 5Star. But P&O try to charge top dollar for their cruises with UKP100 pppn (USD160) a frequently used guideline. We were fortunate to secure our P&O cruise at a heavily discounted rate (less than UKP50 ppn) and as such our balcony cabin was not bad value.
Let us start with the balcony. On Solstice we enjoyed a reasonably spacious open balcony. but on Aurora our Attendant could not keep up with the peeling ceiling paint covering white flakes on the chairs. The balcony had an enclosed feeling and unfortunately P&O still permit smoking on balconies so there was the occasional whiff of tobacco smoke.
The cabin was pleasant if a little dated but the shower was let down by a plastic shower curtain and a slightly musty smell. The toilet system for our part of the ship blocked up on 2 occasions.
We were not able to have free seating for dining but on evening 4 were moved to a late sitting table with 6 excellent dining companions. The food was unexceptional and one evening my wife had to return her main course because it was still frozen in the middle.
The lounger seating is not very varied and we had difficulty finding snug corners in which to settle.
Pros and cons?
OBC are much lower. Not only list price of drinks but no 15% gratuity on everything.
Design of rear decks allows plenty of out-of-wind spots.
Separate night club and theatre areas.
More spacious and better equipped cabins and balconies.
Higher standard of cuisine.
Greater choice of restaurants.
More choice of comfortable chairs and loungers.
Full height Atrium makes for a lighter less claustrophobic feel.
Solstice has quite a considerable edge. But that is to be expected of a 2008 5 Star ship v a 2000 4 Star ship.
If you can find P&O at a good discounted price and it has the right itinerary, it is worth considering. But I would not pay more than UKP 50 ppn for a balcony.
Aqua in Celebrity (we aim to pay under UKP60 pppn) gives it quite an advantage and P&O does not seem to have an equivalent.