Baltic Cruise 5th July 2013
Carol Morris | October 26, 2013 | P&O Cruises | Aurora
Back home for a week now from our Baltic cruise on Aurora. Very enjoyable holiday made more enjoyable by the lovely staff on board. Our cabin Steward Rony was efficient and the cabin was immaculate. Our waiters Inacio and Jaisen were stars – keeping my 12 year old daughter amused with napkin folding demos and little puzzles (special mention to Darwin for his tortoise and hare folded from napkins). Amazingly Jaisen had been our waiter 2 years ago so it was nice to see a familiar face. I do wonder why the staff are moved around the fleet so much – I think people like to see a “known ” face. The Alexandria restaurant was a bit chilly most nights.
The only tours we did were in St Petersburg – the military museum and a walking tour. Both very good but would have liked to wander in museum instead of having guided tour of a couple of rooms. Be aware – in Russia return to your tour bus when told – 2 passengers almost got left behind as they were late an the guide miscounted! Other guests had mixed reviews about the tours they were on but most seemed to think they were too expensive for what they got!
Having been on Aurora before I knew what to expect – much higher standards the on Oceana and much nicer staff and better food. The menus however don’t seem to change much – We were able to recall what we ate last year so this is maybe an area to be addressed by P & O. It might also be nice for the kids to have an ice cream bar like they have on oceana – especially when it is hot.
On the comfort side the sofa bed in our mini suite was the most uncomfortable bed I have ever slept on and the duvets were too short or slid about and would not stay on – again a P & O issue.
Embarking and disembarking were trouble free – our mini-suite gave us a priority disembarkation so were at the train station by 9.30. Pity same could not be said for the rail service!
There was a bit of a nasty “niff” in the corridor on B deck near our cabin – there had been a leak one day so don’t know if that was the cause or not.
Laundry facilities are very good on Aurora with approx. 10 washers and 10 driers for 2 decks (compared with Oceana last year 2 washer and 2 driers for 1 deck – it was like a catfight trying to get a machine!) I know you don’t all go on to do your laundry but with kids you really have to – even at 12 and 15 they still have difficulty finding their mouths at times!
The weather was very kind to us and we spent many days soaking up the sun – but there were a couple of colder days as well so do take a fleece or a jumper.
I didn’t really go to much of the entertainment – stuck my head in one night to the headliners and came out pretty quickly -very loud in an enclosed space (Carmens) and not very good singing. “Caravan” was a good group according to my son. The films shown in the cinema were a bit odd and not very enjoyable. TV was the usual- very repetitive the same film being shown several times in one day and then again at some stage the following week.
A chocolate afternoon tea was held in aid of Cancer care and the pastry chefs did themselves proud.
The merchandise on board (other than the specialist Russian goods) was pretty much same old, same old. Just what they have been selling for the last 3 years. So it would be nice to go on board and see something different. The Russian goods were stunning especially the genuine Faberge goods but some were ?10,000 which is a bit much for an impulse holiday buy for most of us. There were others, not Faberge, which were cheaper.
Of the ports, St Petersburg was my favourite. Kristiansand in Norway was a bit pointless – not a lot to do or see- it probably would have been good to do a tour here and see the surrounding area.
Overall a great holiday – going on Aurora was like being on an old friend and am trying to decide where to go next on her!
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