Short Northern Winter Break
Cruise Chef | May 12, 2019 | P&O Cruises | Aurora
1st time I have traveled from Southampton out of main holiday season, the docks are currently undergoing major works but this didn’t seem to cause to much disruption and we were notified in advance. Used triangle car park as an alternative to c&ps, if you have guests traveling from Ocean Terminal this is a great alternative but as we had a split terminal Ocean/Mayflower a taxi is required between the two.
Boarding the ship was quick and easy although at the early time we were given the cabins were not ready but this really wasn’t an issue.
Initial impressions from outside was that the ship even though it is one of the older members of fleet looks great from the outside, inside this I would say continues the art deco decor is being carefully looked after the carpets are clean and not worn. For me it looks like the ship has been well maintained and the staff were still out even in the colder weather painting and varnishing the decks. The staff in the buffet restaurant were still as friendly as ever so with tipping already included this doesn’t seem to have reduced the level of service offered.
From listening to forum member complaints I had been lead to believe that standards had fallen and that service was not what it used to be. Whilst I can accept that Silver Service is no longer available and meals are now plated I don’t think personally that the value for money has diminished from many years ago. Having compared pricing from my 1st voyage at Christmas to those of pricing now these are much the same, so to maintain this certain things have changed onboard but not in a way as detrimental to the customer.
What were you overall general final conclusions?
We both really enjoyed the short break with a chance to relax and enjoy the comfort of both the cabin & the ship. As with most guests I have probably arrived home slightly heavier for my experience than when I left but I’m told that also means you’ve had a great holiday.
Clearly we must both be model P&O passengers as the lack of disembarkation documents gave us the impression were were supposed to stop on for the next voyage although sadly work means this was not an option. Disembarking was still really easy and there were plenty of taxis available outside the entrance.
From my more recent experiences this favoured very well against the other ocean cruise lines I have traveled on, In respect of some aspects of the service and certainly the choice at both breakfast and lunch were superior to the competitors the evening meals I would say were on a par.
Personally it was good to see how things have changed over a long period of time, it is quite a few years since I last traveled with P&O and some of the ships I have been on are no longer in the fleet so to appreciate the changes was great for me.
Couple this with new locations that I have never visited before in Amsterdam, Rotterdam & Cherbourg even though in cruising terms these are very local to us it has given me a broader insight into what some of the shorter voyages on sale can offer and the ease at which it is to find your way around. From the shuttle bus services in most of the ports @ £4 (if you have to pay) in Cherbourg, or from the ports in both Rotterdam & Zebrugge to the towns and the readily available train services from these to different locations.
I really enjoyed my time & would I do this again the simple answer would be Yes.
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