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simonpjd

Atmosphere on board

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Aurora to USA and Canada September October 2018.

Quite a long cruise. 25 nights. Cruisers mainly young retirees. Very few kids young families.

well it was a very comfortable cruise. Everyone seemed very content. The crew were not as hectic as we sometimes see. The cabin stewards and waiting staff seemed happy in their work. It was just a very pleasant atmosphere on board. And on a longer cruise you get to know people. The quizzers all knew each other and there was a lot of mutual respect. There were some excellent quizzers on board. The bridge and whist were well attended as were most activities. 

I have to say this was not the case on QM2 earlier this year. Cunard have some regular passengers who look down their nose at others. They have some obviously very wealthy people on board who liked to make sure you knew they had more money than us. The staff seemed much busier and it just wasn’t as relaxing as it should be.

I think this is one reason why P&O suits us very well.

I do hope P&O keep these smaller adult only ships going. If they ever end up with only huge family friendly ships we will be off. And I can safely say will not be the only ones judging by the conversation on board.

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We were on Aurora in January and Britannia last week. We much prefer smaller ships and agree with simonpjd and hope they don’t pension off the smaller ships. Everyone has their different opinions about ships and there should be options for everyone’s taste.

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Wholeheartedly agree with all of this. We've enjoyed all our P&O cruises but one of our best was 18 nights on Oriana way back in November 2008. Plenty of sea days and we became friendly with quite a few of our fellow passengers.

At the moment we are restricted to school holiday cruises and are really disappointed that there are no smaller family friendly ship options such as Oriana or Aurora for us anymore.

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5 minutes ago, DamianG said:

Wholeheartedly agree with all of this. We've enjoyed all our P&O cruises but one of our best was 18 nights on Oriana way back in November 2008. Plenty of sea days and we became friendly with quite a few of our fellow passengers.

At the moment we are restricted to school holiday cruises and are really disappointed that there are no smaller family friendly ship options such as Oriana or Aurora for us anymore.

 

We too are stuck to school holidays and have always enjoyed Oceana - if you don't mind a fly cruise.

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Yes, we’ve enjoyed Oceana several times but for now our preference is to sail from the UK. Never say never though!

Edited by DamianG

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The atmosphere on the smaller ships always seems to suit me too.  I find them more relaxing and calmer than the bigger ships.

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I have gone off Fred mainly pricewise and the ships are getting tatty.  We are now going on Oriana and Arcadia, so should be OK for a couple of years yet I hope.

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On 10/31/2018 at 9:38 AM, simonpjd said:

Aurora to USA and Canada September October 2018.

Quite a long cruise. 25 nights. Cruisers mainly young retirees. Very few kids young families.

well it was a very comfortable cruise. Everyone seemed very content. The crew were not as hectic as we sometimes see. The cabin stewards and waiting staff seemed happy in their work. It was just a very pleasant atmosphere on board. And on a longer cruise you get to know people. The quizzers all knew each other and there was a lot of mutual respect. There were some excellent quizzers on board. The bridge and whist were well attended as were most activities. 

I have to say this was not the case on QM2 earlier this year. Cunard have some regular passengers who look down their nose at others. They have some obviously very wealthy people on board who liked to make sure you knew they had more money than us. The staff seemed much busier and it just wasn’t as relaxing as it should be.

I think this is one reason why P&O suits us very well.

I do hope P&O keep these smaller adult only ships going. If they ever end up with only huge family friendly ships we will be off. And I can safely say will not be the only ones judging by the conversation on board.

 

We were on that cruise too simon and yes there was a pleasant atmosphere onboard but I can't agree that it was mainly young retirees. We felt the age profile was very high and there were far more very elderly people than any other cruise we've been on, including Fred Olsen. I think P&O is polarising their offering by really focusing on attracting families and younger cruisers to Azura, Britannia and Ventura etc and by making Aurora adult only next year. She will increasingly attract an older clientele.  In particular, we thought  the entertainment was very weak compared to other ships we've been on, and again aimed at an older age group. 

People were friendly enough and though we enjoyed the cruise (despite the weather) it's unlikely we'll cruise on Aurora again. We ARE young-at-heart retirees and although we met lots of lovely people, overall we felt the atmosphere was just a bit dull.  We can't wait to go on Ventura in February where the people really are mainly young retirees and there's a more fun and relaxed atmosphere. 

 

However agree about Cunard. Have been on QM2 a few times now and there is definitely a them and us feeling

 

 

Edited by tartanexile81

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We have now sailed with most companies. And all have good points, and bad. Of course our bad may be your good!

Fred, let’s be honest. The ships are tatty and old. And to get a good cabin costs a fortune. Yes I know the food and staff are on a par or better than most but I don’t think we will be back.

Cunard, for me too formal. Ridiculous drinks prices. Huge service charge plus the 15% on everything. Ships are lovely. QM2 so stable even in quite lumpy seas. Snobby staff and passengers. 

P&O, lots of faults but overall fits us best, but only on the smaller ships. When the 3 smaller ones go we shall be off.

RCI, Princess, Celebrity, HAL, well if the itinerary is exactly what we want then ok. In fact we are doing Alaska with Princess next year.

Oceania. This is where we are likely to end up. Lovely ships. Best food at sea. Interesting itineraries. Yes cost is around double all the above but you can’t take it with you. 

All the 7 star jobs. Maybe one day.

small expedition cruises. Fantastic but we have done the Arctic and Antarctic both twice. If they came up with a great trip and a good deal then maybe. If you haven’t tried one of these then save up and give it a go. Nothing beats cruising in a zodiac through the ice then wading ashore through the seals and penguins. Now that’s living.

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I've just realized why I disliked Azura, it was the general noise!  Loud music, the seascreen blaring out all day and everywhere seemed busy and crowded.

 

I agree that the clientele on Adult only are getting much older, but that doesn't bother me.  They spend their time in Tiffanys (Oriana) and we like to be out and about on deck, playing quoits or table tennis and sunbathing and relaxing.  It doesn't bother us what age the others are.  My husband is a pretty fit 80 year old, me 71 and our friend is another very fit 82 year old.  She goes to the gym 3 times a week!!  So we are lucky not to need wheelchairs and long may it last.

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1 minute ago, jeanlyon said:

I've just realized why I disliked Azura, it was the general noise!  Loud music, the seascreen blaring out all day and everywhere seemed busy and crowded.

 

I agree that the clientele on Adult only are getting much older, but that doesn't bother me.  They spend their time in Tiffanys (Oriana) and we like to be out and about on deck, playing quoits or table tennis and sunbathing and relaxing.  It doesn't bother us what age the others are.  My husband is a pretty fit 80 year old, me 71 and our friend is another very fit 82 year old.  She goes to the gym 3 times a week!!  So we are lucky not to need wheelchairs and long may it last.

That’s how I feel about Britannia, too frantic and busy. Everywhere seems to be a thoroughfare to somewhere else. Ventura, I can cope with, only been on Azura once a long time ago but would go again if right price, right time, right place.

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Once on Azura was enough for me.  Since then we have done a few Freds, but mostly Oriana.  Now the B lack Watch really did feel like an OAP home 😞

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One Fred cruise was enough for me. Worse than an OAP home. Most I have ever paid per night for a balcony cabin and worst balcony cabin ever. They seem to think it is fine to have your bedside table at the foot of your bed - doesn't work for me.

Could not use the balcony at night some nights in ports as it had a very bright light on it which apparently had to stay on - and as I like to sleep with curtains open this was awful

Staff seemed scared and were not friendly - I had read that staff on Fred's ships were friendliest at sea but this was not my experience. If I pass an officer or member of staff I always smile and say hallo - I was ignored which was just odd.

Entertainment woeful. Lounges awful and really uncomfortable. Quality of food good but very old fashioned choices. No speciality restaurants open

Not for me 

On Aurora in a few weeks after 18 months away from P&O. I am not one for bigger ships so hope I will like Aurora and go again. 

 Celebrity is my first choice but as they don't sail from the UK in the winter months P&O still of interest

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12 minutes ago, gadabout60 said:

One Fred cruise was enough for me. Worse than an OAP home. Most I have ever paid per night for a balcony cabin and worst balcony cabin ever. They seem to think it is fine to have your bedside table at the foot of your bed - doesn't work for me.

Could not use the balcony at night some nights in ports as it had a very bright light on it which apparently had to stay on - and as I like to sleep with curtains open this was awful

Staff seemed scared and were not friendly - I had read that staff on Fred's ships were friendliest at sea but this was not my experience. If I pass an officer or member of staff I always smile and say hallo - I was ignored which was just odd.

Entertainment woeful. Lounges awful and really uncomfortable. Quality of food good but very old fashioned choices. No speciality restaurants open

Not for me 

On Aurora in a few weeks after 18 months away from P&O. I am not one for bigger ships so hope I will like Aurora and go again. 

 Celebrity is my first choice but as they don't sail from the UK in the winter months P&O still of interest

And I forgot to mention that smoking allowed on balconies - big no no for me

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Agree entirely with Tartan Exile about the polarizing effect making only the larger ships family friendly. We have been keen advocates of Aurora and Oriana and had for many years cruises as a three generation group. Obviously this was during the school holiday time. It was amazing how the friendship group increased throughout the cruise and from year to year. 

We booked on Oriana to the Adriatic (Sept ‘17) and whilst we enjoyed the cruise we did find the atmosphere a bit subdued. I don’t think it’s entirely an age thing (we are early-mid 60s) but more a spirit that is missing when age groups are absent. Incidentally, George was on board for that cruise & he has spirit in spades!

Of course we could always go on family friendly ships but we don’t really like the larger ships. 

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I just wish kids behaved.  We;ve only been on one Family friendly and that was Azura.  We lost the Adult pool at the stern for 2 days because some kids jumped in there and one had an accident of the poo variety.  Then we had older ones who thought it was fun to call the lifts and run away.  Also chasing up and down corridors making a hell of a noise.  Parents fault of course, but really put us off.

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3 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

I just wish kids behaved.  We;ve only been on one Family friendly and that was Azura.  We lost the Adult pool at the stern for 2 days because some kids jumped in there and one had an accident of the poo variety.  Then we had older ones who thought it was fun to call the lifts and run away.  Also chasing up and down corridors making a hell of a noise.  Parents fault of course, but really put us off.

You really have been unlucky Jean, we rarely see any misbehaving children on any of our cruises, and we normally cruise on the bigger ships.

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to top it off, it was the Kids Club leader who brought all the kids down to the Adult Only pool!!

 

However, I have read similar reviews from other cruisers saying the same thing.

Edited by jeanlyon

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Have been on Azura once and didn’t like it for various reasons. However it was over Easter and there were hundreds of kids on board and I have to say they were no trouble at all

(and I say that as someone who is often intolerant of children)

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Ive never seen any kids misbehave in that way either. Took all mine on a cruise many years ago....New York, around the Caribbean and then back to New York....and all the kids on board were really well behaved.

 

Will be taking my Grand-daughters next year on a surprise trip.

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14 hours ago, jeanlyon said:

to top it off, it was the Kids Club leader who brought all the kids down to the Adult Only pool!!

 

However, I have read similar reviews from other cruisers saying the same thing.

Often, during school holidays, adult only pools are open to children at certain times. There are notices in the Horizon, and around the pool, to that effect. 

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We haven't been on Azura for some time but really enjoyed our cruises on her when we did them. One was a Christmas cruise but children were no problem (and I don't 'do' children so I would have noticed anything untoward). 

 

It is even longer since I was on a FO ship, just a short Christmas markets trip with my mum, and I have no desire to repeat the experience!

 

We are going to Canada on Arcadia next year and I look forward to becoming reacquainted with her as we have been on her just once before (in 2009).

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That was the only trip we have done on Arcadia and it was wonderful.  All ports in Canada and States easily doable on your own.  There were places right in the port with loads of information.

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I did a ship tour of Aurora October 2017 and the gentleman showing us around was a retired senior officer. To reassure those on this list who are worried about the smaller ships 'going', he told me that Aurora is one of their biggest grossing ships, because of her loyalty base. It came as a surprise to me as I assumed the larger ships made more money, but apparently that ain't so! So she's going to be around for quite a while yet.

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Aurora is very popular and because of this they charge ridiculous prices for solos. I was quoted £6500 for a solo balcony and my reply was that I could go on Silversea for less than that. Bad move by P and O because next Autumn I am doing just that. It may be that I shall cruise less often but with the 6 star lines, if I like it. Still got several P and O cruises booked, but only one on Aurora, which is my favourite, because of the prices. 

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and yet our single friend got a great deal on Aurora and also Arcadia for booking early.  Twin cabin for single use and she paid about £113 per night which is great for her.

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As another solo traveller who likes Aurora I have always found outside cabins to be relatively reasonably priced, but I have steered clear of balcony cabins because those do seem to be very expensive.

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1 hour ago, jh1809 said:

As another solo traveller who likes Aurora I have always found outside cabins to be relatively reasonably priced, but I have steered clear of balcony cabins because those do seem to be very expensive.

I too was surprised with the premium balcony cabins on Aurora command, on an 18 night cruise we recently priced up, standard balcony cabins were over 40% higher than OV cabins, this seems far too high for such tiny balconies.

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Yes it's the balconies which are overpriced, but I've only once not had a balcony and I didn't enjoy the cruise as much so it's a non negotiable for me. I just think it's silly that I am going on Silversea next Autumn for less than I would have paid on Aurora!

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1 hour ago, Clodia said:

Yes it's the balconies which are overpriced, but I've only once not had a balcony and I didn't enjoy the cruise as much so it's a non negotiable for me. I just think it's silly that I am going on Silversea next Autumn for less than I would have paid on Aurora!

It's the same with Superior Balcony cabins on Fred Olsen which are a ridiculous price and the basic cabins are like rabbit hutches

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Supply and demand, I guess. Cheaper balconies are available but the cries of ‘too big’ or ‘floating block of flats’ go up, I’m afraid. 

Edited by Ranchi

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1 hour ago, Ranchi said:

Supply and demand, I guess. Cheaper balconies are available but the cries of ‘too big’ or ‘floating block of flats’ go up, I’m afraid. 

One reason we usually have insides on Aurora and Arcadia but a Balcony on Britannia!

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On 11/9/2018 at 8:15 AM, Clodia said:

Aurora is very popular and because of this they charge ridiculous prices for solos. I was quoted £6500 for a solo balcony and my reply was that I could go on Silversea for less than that. Bad move by P and O because next Autumn I am doing just that. It may be that I shall cruise less often but with the 6 star lines, if I like it. Still got several P and O cruises booked, but only one on Aurora, which is my favourite, because of the prices. 

 

Just as well I am happy with Inside Cabins.  All balcony cabin prices on Aurora are high (and indeed Oriana) because the numbers available are low.  I have booked for 2020 in an Inside for about £130 a night.

 

I am sure you will find Silversea to be of a very high standard Clodia.  If I could afford them, in many ways I would love to try them but the other drawback for me is that most of their itineraries (in common with other 6-star lines) have very few sea days.

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It's about the single supplement: 15% as opposed to about 95% on Aurora. Makes Silversea affordable for solos in comparison. Bad move by P and O; once lured away will I come back?

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Sadly, all the large mainstream cruise lines have high single supplements.  It is rare to get a good deal with the likes of Princess or RCI too.  It is interesting how some of the ultra-luxury lines do have low single supplements.  Crystal often have a low supplement and sometimes no supplement at all.

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21 hours ago, Clodia said:

It's about the single supplement: 15% as opposed to about 95% on Aurora. Makes Silversea affordable for solos in comparison. Bad move by P and O; once lured away will I come back?

95%? I don't think I've ever paid a supplement of more than about 60%. But even that is more than enough, and of course is still a lot more than 15%.

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21 hours ago, Clodia said:

It's about the single supplement: 15% as opposed to about 95% on Aurora. Makes Silversea affordable for solos in comparison. Bad move by P and O; once lured away will I come back?

 

I very much doubt it! 

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