Review On The Aurora Christmas Cruise To The Canaries
Betty & John Ireland | February 28, 2014 | P&O Cruises | Aurora
My husband and I have just been on a 14-day Christmas cruise to the Canaries on the Aurora. We have been on the Aurora many times but this particular trip was fantastic. Everything you love about Christmas in one place. The ship was beautifully decorated and the spirit of the festive season was everywhere. A bonus of course was being able to go on shore into the sunshine when the ship docked on the islands, particularly when the weather in England was so hostile.
Our first port should have been Lisbon on Christmas Eve, but due to dangerously high winds, the captain informed us we would not be stopping and instead would call at La Palma. We love this very picturesque island, so we were rather pleased. The seas were rather choppy, but Captain Turnbull and his officers did their utmost to make our passage as easy as possible and kept us well informed on the weather and their resultant actions to avoid the worst conditions.
On Christmas Eve, Midnight service and the Christmas Day carol service with the help of the passenger choir, raised the roof. There was a hilarious traditional pantomime and a delightful Nativity Play performed by the children on the ship in front of a packed theatre. Prior to the children’s performance, I overheard a conversation. A proud father was telling someone his small daughter had a starring role … the Virgin Mary. Suddenly the little girl, with a rather perturbed expression on her face, said, ??Daddy do I really have to have a baby??
Because Santa didn’t know we hadn’t called at Lisbon on Christmas Eve and his satnav wasn’t working, Captain Turnbull announced Santa wouldn’t be able to find us unless everyone sang carols as loudly as possible on deck to guide the reindeer. Guess what, after a few minutes we heard ??Ho, ho, ho? and there was Santa, on the funnel. Before leaving, he very kindly left a present in our cabin.
The shows were exceptionally good … as is the norm and so were the individual entertainers. However, there were two additional items which deserve a mention. Before one of the shows, twelve of the engineering staff trooped on to stage, dressed in overalls and carrying various items of maintenance equipment. We were intrigued. Then they began singing their version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It went … 5 piston rings, 4 blocked toilets, 3 dodgy phones, 2 rubber gloves and an flashlight in a pear tree. This was followed by the full version of On Ilkley Moor Bart ‘at. They brought the house down. The other item was a variety show put on by the entertainment staff and the crew. Again, it was thoroughly entertaining and brought the house down once more.
As usual, the food and service in the restaurants were top notch. The festive fare was excellent and included everything you would expect and more … party poppers, crackers, hats, squeakers. A nice surprise during the evening meal on New Year’s Eve was the reading of Burns poem ??Address to a Haggis? followed by the traditional piping in of the haggis.
We were unable to go to La Gomera … this was disappointing, but unavoidable. The Saga Rose couldn’t get off the dockside because of the extremely strong winds, so we were unable to get into port. A complete day’s activities and entertainment was quickly organised for the extra sea day.
During the day, on New Year’s Eve Funchal was buzzing with people and street entertainers, the atmosphere was great for just wandering aimlessly and stopping for a coffee and a brandy. However, never having seen Funchal at night, I was very impressed by the spectacle of the bright lights which twinkled along the bay and up to the Monte. But the highlight of New Year’s Eve was the fireworks. The Aurora was anchored in the prime position in the bay, so we had a good view. 30 tons of fireworks were let off in eight minutes … it was spectacular to say the least and the explosions even vibrated the ship’s deck. Afterwards, there were parties everywhere till the early hours.
There was an excellent variety of shore excursions at every port, but as we have cruised to the canaries so many times, we just opted for a walk on shore (and a coffee and a brandy).
As we have come to expect, the cabin was kept spotless and it seemed every time we returned to the cabin the steward has tidied up and replaced the towels.
There was plenty of dancing, quizzes, art classes, keep fit, etc and music going on at all times … there was never a dull moment.
Next to the last but not least, the friendly Bolsover Cruise Club staff, as usual, handled our booking arrangements with their usual expertise and everything was spot on.
Finally, we would love to go again … actually we are … but not on the Christmas cruise. We are booked again on the Aurora to the Canaries … roll on September.
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