Had an excellent long haul cruise in 2013 on P&O's Adonia so was happy to trust them with another long haul cruise.
The Aurora is a beautiful ship, lovely and clean, happy friendly crew, great onboard entertainent and excellent food. If you get the right cabin I would highly recomend it but our deluxe balcony cabin was disgusting. The balcony wasn't fit for purpose or as described to me by P&O's port admin staff before making our booking. The layout of the cabin was inpracticle and the air conditioning system was defective pouring contaminated air into our cabin.
1. We were asked to arrive at Southamptom for 1pm and instructed not to arrive early/late as this was our designated time slot to board the ship.
On arrival, one of several P&O female ground crew staff, took our tickets and barked at us in a very loud and unfriendly tone that we should find a seat as there were over a thousand priority passengers joining our cruise therefore we would be boarding late.
Not a nice start, being told you were insignificant and more than half of the passengers were more important and ging to get better treatment. They could have been discrete about prioritising frequent travellers.
The female ground crew, all aged in their eary sixties continously shouted out the same information as passengers arrived creating an umpaitable atmosphere.
2.A glass of bubbly was handed to passengers as we boarded the ship and crew in shiney white uniforms were there to greet us providing a lovely warm welcome.
Taking our hand luguage we proceeded exitedly to our cabin to see our home for the next 55 nights and was horrified to find our deluxe balcony cabin was anything but. It was dark and closed in.
The balcony front was actually a window with the glass removed. This window frame was still surrounded by the ships original metal structured enclosing in the whole balcony area. I could only peer over the wooden bar that had been built infront of the window frame by standing on my tiptoes. The whole structure was closed in. No chance of using the area to sit out in the sun or take in the view of the Carrabean sea during our well earned and excitedily awaited 55 day trip. (I live in a small flat, so hope you can appreciate why this balcony was so important for me on this once in a lifetime cruise)
The cruise had been booked on the early saver price which meant we coudn't pre-book our cabin number but P&O staff assured me that our balcony cabin would be exactly the same and that by booking a deluxe bacony the cabin would be bigger.
The crew couldn't move us as the ship was full capacity and the 'hotel' manager told me we wouldn't get our money back if we abandoned our cruise.
3.We later discovered our cabin (the rear of deck 8) was originally part of the childrens play area and had recently been converted into one of 5 cabins.
A couple at our dinner table also booked an early saver deluxe balcony cabin but unlike us didn't accept P&O's verbal assurity as we had and wrote to them expressing instructions for a deck 10, middle of the ship location with a proper glass panel balcony as orginally constructed to accomodate a deluxe balcony cabin.
They had exactly what we had expected and paid for. A lovely spacious cabin, laid out exactly as described and shown in P&O's brochures photo, nice and bright with ots of draw storage space.
4.Our cabin was very narrow so the layout was different. We didn't have a chest of draws like the other cabin i had asked about this but it wasn't possible because of the limited space. The narrow room also meant the tv hanging on the wall at the bottom of our bed was in the way. It was dangerously close and my partner constantly hit his shoulder when squeezing pass to get in and out of bed.
The lady in the cabin next door to us was unhappy with her balcony 'same as ours' and was mislead by the reception staff who wrongfully told her that nobody else had complained. Her cabin was the same size as ours, she had the space all to herself but was only charged just over half the price we were charged for our cabin.
5.A few nights into our cruise we woke up in the night with a strong smell of sewage coming through our air conditioning unit. This happened a secnd time further into our cruise. Each time we reported it to reception we were told no work was being carried out and the smell mysteriously disappeared immediately after
6.Paint fumes flooded our cabin from the air conditioning unit on many occassions throughout the cruise. Each time we were told no painting was being done and after being told this on one occassion I went out on deck, near our cabin and they WERE painting.
The fumes were coming out from the air conditioning unit directy above my side of the bed and I spent the last 10 days of our cruise ill. (I am still unwell now 2nd March) an engineer came to our cabin towards the end of our cruse while I was particularly ill, he was a bit surprised because we had left our cabin door wide open to try to circulate the air. He told us it wasn't possible to switch off the air conditioning, we had no control over the toxic fumes entering our cabin. Because our cabin had recently been added on I suggested the air conditioning controlling our cabin was at fault.
We expressed our disatisfaction and the fact nothing had been done about it and how it had affected both of us and made me feel so ill. He said he woud get on to the department cntoing the air conditioning. He didn't get bac to us but the last couple of days of the cruise was fume free.
The balcony had a big impact on our holiday and we simply woudn't have booked this particular cruise if we had known what we were going to end up with. We trusted P&O and took their word as being factual and honest.
This together with the lower spec compared to the other deluxe balcony cabins and most importantly health implications surrounding the airconditioning unit warrants the one star rating we have given in this review.
It is a shame because the Aurora really is a beauiful, splendid ship. The rear swimming pool and sundeck is a rarity these days as ships tend to crame more berths into the back of them now. I did love the ship and will miss her.
I am disapointed with P&O's treatment of us. And to be honest saddened by it as it should and could have been an amazing holiday. We had cruised with them long haul to the Carrabean in 2013, we are in our fiftys and represented the next generation of P&O's cruisers.
SUGGESTION IF YOU'VE ALREADY BOOKED.
1. Get everything in writing. Be a nuisance and be insistent about what you expect.
2.Take an extention 3 pin plug lead, with lots of sockets with you. You only get 2 plug sockets in the cabin. They are on the dresser, away from the bed. The plug on the kettle is extra wide so the 2nd plug can't be used at the same time. Hence extention lead with lots of sockets.
3.take your own brand of washing detergent and stain removal spray for the launderette
4. Take a pack of antibacterial wipes or spray to wipe down door handles, light switches and tv remote in cabin. Our cabin steward kept our cabin lovely and clean but I woud recomend th8s precaution
5. I was surprised at the crews reluctance to insist passengers use of antibacterial gel. Equally shocked by the number of passemgers not bothering to use it when re-entering the ship at ports and the buffet cart.
After gathering your food, i would recommend washing your hands again thoroughly before sitting down to eat, especialy if you have bread rolls to handle and other food to pick up.to eat.
Observing passengers not cleaning their hands then using the coffee machine and picking up food tongs to handle food puts you at risk of picking up their nasty germs
6. If going to the beach. I often found the sunbeds to hire were too close for comfort. No space, no privacy.. I took a large sheet from home and spread it out on the soft sand to lay out on. Much more space, you can put it where you want and often bag a much better spot on the beach, plus save $10 a time on sunchair hire!!
*Terrible. Not as described and expected. Ruined hoiday. Wouldn't have booked trip with this balçony cabin under any circustances. Would only have booked if expected and paid for a seaview cabin only. Not a balcony cabin and definately not a deluxe balcony. Am very, very upset. Has ruined memories of my partners 60th birthday, Cabin left us feeling depressed at times during trip.
Deluxe balcony - just a window frame where window has recently been removed and turned into a cabin.
*Cabin dark and drap because of metal framework encsing outside area.
*Cabin not configerated as shown in brochure due to lack of space. *Coffee table squashed up against wall instead of in front of sofa as no space for it, therefore unable to make use of it properly.
*No chest of draws in this cabin due to lack of space, they were in other cabins. Had to use sofa to store clothes on for 2 months rather than use it to sit on.
*Draws in wall unit only a couple of inches deep so no good for storing clothes. Not deep enough for hairbrush either!
*Cabin so narrow partner kept hitting head or shoulder on tv which was hung on wall at bottom of bed.
*Wall was very thin. Lady in neighbouring cabin could hear our tv even though volume was only set at number 12.
*Entrance to cabin was so narrow that cabin door and bathroom door could not be openned at same time. This caused more than one injury during trip when my partner entered cabin as I was leaving batroom.
*Air conditioning was faulty. Sewage smell came into cabin twice at night and smell of paint regularly throughout cruise. On one occassion the Air conditioning got stuck on 'fast' cold setting all night
*Only 2 plug sockets, none near bed.
*Socet for kette was extra wide so secnd scket couldn't be used at same time
*phone not set up same as other cabins. Unable to call ship to shore, or other cabins or servces. Could only call reception.
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