Yorkshire woman | May 10, 2017 | P&O Cruises | Aurora
We have just returned from our 30 night cruise to Canada, USA and Bermuda and it has been fantastic. Although we are frequent cruisers, we had not been to any of the destinations on the itinerary so everything was new and exciting to us.
Firstly the ship, yes, she is a bit shabby now but everything else is fine. The layout is good, the food was good, the crew were lovely, no real complaints at all. As a minor grumble, we thought the shops were lacking in variety and the entertainment, with a few exceptions, was disappointing and not much of interest to do during the day. But as we had gone with friends we were able to fill the sea days, playing scrabble, cards etc – oh and going to see La La Land in the cinema. The universal opinion was that this was rubbish and most of the films during our cruise were not the sort our age group – late 60s, early 70s would want . Now on to the ports of call.
Sydney Nova Scotia
Saturday and 50% was either shut or closed down, a miserable destination so best to take a ship’s excursion.
Halifax Nova Scotia
A pretty coastal place. We took the road train along the harbour front – donations for the fare. Plenty of places to eat and a good feel to the place.
Free shuttle bus into the centre. Good to browse around. We went on the T (subway) out to Boston Common, the oldest park in the USA. Not much there but from there we walked towards the Charles River where you can see Harvard across the water. On day two we took the hop on trolley. It is worth negotiating with the sellers in the booths as they put together a package to suit your time and purse. It was 31 dollars each, but very enjoyable. We had hoped to visit the US Constitution which has just reopened after maintenance but it was closed as it was unsafe after the heavy rainfall we had. Quincy Market is a must, try to go when you are hungry there is so much choice.
We could not anchor safely because of weather conditions, so we headed to New York where we got there a day early – great.
The morning sail into NY was spectacular, everyone including crew were on deck to catch sight of the NY skyline. Once docked we disembarked and walked about 100 yards to the ferry stop. The ferry was 2.75 dollars – such good value, in fact all public transport in the USA was cheap. We walked across to the Freedom Tower and 9/11 memorial, passing the Stock Exchange and Wall Street. Then we took the Metro to the Rockerfeller Centre where we went to the Top of the Rock 28 dollars each. We went at 5.30 which was great as there were no queues at all. After a meal we got the Metro back to Borough Hall in Brooklyn and got a cab for the 1 mile ride back to the ship. Our green cab driver just didn’t know where to go, at first we thought it was a rip off but he had to ask a local for directions. The fare we agreed with him was 10 dollars, as he had got lost! Day two we took the Metro to 50th Street and walked the three quarter miles to the Intrepid. If you are a lover of this kind of thing it is very good indeed 26 dollars. We ladies just wanted to sit and have a coffee, no luck. We were allowed to go on the pier and sit with a coke from a vending machine, the only facilities being the restroom! We then took a black cab back into central Manhattan, Grand Central Terminus. This cost 25 dollars plus tip but was well worth it. We returned to the ship via Metro and ferry. Day three, by now quite footsore, we decided to do the hop on bus. We walked to the edge of Battery Park and a ticket seller for the Big B Bus offered us tickets for 51 dollars as a good deal. We didn’t think so, so again we used the Metro. This time we did mid town, Macy’s, Times Square before heading back to the ferry stop. The queue was very long but it was a busy Sunday (the day before the 9/11 anniversary).
We chose to do the ship’s bus trip into Washington so cannot comment on Baltimore itself. We had 4 and a half hours in Washington which just gave us time to do the Circulator bus – one dollar each boarding. We got off at most of the points of interest on the National Mall. On our last leg the driver only charged us 50 cents each for seniors (we must have been looking weary) so this was really good value. We spent time in the National Space Museum which again, if you like that kind of thing is amazing and free.
We landed two days after Irma had gone through and there were a few signs of damage to property. It was extremely hot and humid so we made use of the loop bus which is free and had the best air conditioning ever! I think probably a ship excursion would show prettier parts of Charleston and save on weary legs.
The stop was a short one and as it was Sunday and we were told that transport stopped for over an hour in the middle of the day we decided not to risk going across the bay into Hamilton. So we stayed around the Naval Dockyard where there are loads of tourist shops, craft shops and places to eat. We used the hop on free road train to get around which was good in the heat. I would want to go into Hamilton if I went again.
Praia de Vittoria
Again, don’t stay in Praia as we did, but take an excursion. Praia, a one street town is pretty and has a nice promenade around the bay but apart from a few churches there is nothing to see or do. Sadly it is all a bit down at heel, but at least it was a welcome stop off during the eight days crossing we had back to Southampton.
To sum up, I loved this cruise. Not everything was great but nothing was terrible. Anyone considering a similar cruise should do their homework and plan what is achievable in the time you have in port. Be prepared for all the sea days. Don’t expect fine dining from P&O. Take plenty of dollars – NY eats money!!
Be prepared to manage your expectations.
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