Well we were last on Aurora 2011 .. and last on P&O in 2016. Since 2011 Aurora has had a refit and seems they were ready for the Adults only years as we noticed mostly tables for two now in the Horizon Resturant (Self-serve) Raffle also seems to have a different layout with more tables for two. So the ship was looking good.
We were in a balcony cabin on A deck so being Oct the sheltered balcony is great as you escape any sea breeze or dare I say it rain!!!!!! we were on a thirteen-night cruise to the Canaries. So we expected the weather on the route there and back could be chilly. It was but we managed to sit out when we could. Being back on a smaller ship was a delight. Less crowded at embarkation we moved swiftly on the ship as soon as we arrived at Mayflower terminal. We were directed to the easiest lift for our location and soon found our cabin, steward and a cup of tea. Once settled in and once muster was over and done with. We could then enjoy sail away. A quitter affair on a smaller ship we chose to sit in Crowsnest Bar for our complimentary Champagne and see the exit from Southampton from the warmth of the bar.
The first night we opted for the Horizon Restaurant (self-serve) which we found was a far better experience to that we had had on Azura, could be that P & O have made some improvements. The servers soon arrived to offer water and a drinks waiter also was quick to appear and take an order. The food was excellent up there and it was not ever too busy with lots of tables for two getting a seat was never an issue. We found when we would return another night the staff would remember we liked water and two glasses would soon appear on the table when we sat down. We were on Freedom dining so alternated with the MDR and the Horizon. Again the MDR seemed to have plenty of tables for two and only once did we require a pager then it wasn’t too long before a table was ready.
Daytime consisted of Port Lectures with Jo giving excellent talks about each port some we had been to before but its always worth listening to as often new things are available in port. If you miss the talks they are on TV later in the day. Also, the Guest Speaker was excellent they now use the Theatre for talks .. our last Aurora cruise they would use the Cinema and then have people standing as it would get too crowded. So this was another improvement we noticed. We also noted that films are shown during the day in the cinema which on a dull day in October is a great escape. With the cover over the pool, this meant we could still sit out and swim even when it was cool but a couple days you are soon in the warmth.
The night time entertainment was varied. Headliners dance and singing shows .. comedian and magician . We didn’t see the comedian but the Magician was excellent. Headliners .. well sad to say I’ve seen them do better shows. What they did was fine and lively. Maybe we have been on Princess and their shows are bigger and grander so we could be just a bit spoilt. We noticed a few ‘ Princess’ ways are creeping into P & O like having films on during the day and good service in the self-serve. So there you have it the ship is excellent. Lots of features which you expect on the larger ships just fewer people. We didn’t miss anything from Azura or Princess. The weather was good once out of the Biscay but even there it was just cool .. which you expect in October. If you are curious about Aurora I would say try her I doubt you will be disappointed. I think once shes adult only there will be little difference as not many children were on board when we were.
The aft deck is great for sitting out and the covered pool is a bonus too. If your going to the Canaries with Lisbon and Madeira consider a Port cabin as you get great views sailing into Madeira early and Lisbon early too. DON’T discount a covered balcony they do enjoy the sun when its out and when it’s not the shelter and privacy means you can sit out early and late too in comfort especially in October etc when mornings even in the Canaries can be cool. A deck balcony cabins are spacious with a sitting area and comfortable settee. Good storage and bathroom and neat balcony to be recommended