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We disembarked Aurora this morning (12 nights Northern Lights Cruise - although they were well hidden!). She left Southampton at 1220 today for Brest in France for her refit. 

 

The first lot of workmen boarded in Stavanger on Thursday and had started work in the kids area which is becoming new cabins. 1,000 workmen boarded today in Southampton and when the refit is in full flight there will be 1,800 workmen aboard. The crew are remaining on board to assist and to cater for the workmen. 

 

Other than the well publicised conversion to Adult only (removal of kids club and addition of new cabins) we couldn’t find out too much, but did establish that there will be new carpets in many areas, new chairs and, best news of all, new TV’s in the cabins to replace the dire excuses for TV’s that they have at present. Suspect they will be the small LCD ones that they have on Arcadia rather than the fantastic large on demand TV’s that Britannia has). 

 

If anyone has any more info info on the changes, perhaps they can post here?

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Good to hear some info regarding the re-fit.  We will be on her in August - really looking forward to it now

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Thank you for posting Selbourne.

I have been trying to find out info without success.

Great news about the TVs, anything will be an improvement on the existing rubbish ones.

Cant wait to see the improvements in June.

Andy

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Like the sound of the new TVs; on her in May. Hope there aren't too many new cabins which reduces the public space.

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35 minutes ago, Clodia said:

Like the sound of the new TVs; on her in May. Hope there aren't too many new cabins which reduces the public space.

From the new deck plans, there seems to be 19 new cabins where the kids club used to be,

6 are single balcony, 5 are deluxe balcony and the rest are inside.

More people, but I have never found Aurora to feel overcrowded.

Andy

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We are on her in april.  getting excited about it now.  Not sailed on her before.

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14 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

We are on her in april.  getting excited about it now.  Not sailed on her before.

I'm on her in April too, but it my case it will be for the fourth or fifth time. She's a lovely ship.

I'm also on her next March for the Northern Lights, so I hope I have more luck than Selbourne did.

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23 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

We are on her in april.  getting excited about it now.  Not sailed on her before.

I am sure you will love her Jean. We were unsure at first, but she really grows on you.

Have a fantastic time,

Andy

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26 minutes ago, jh1809 said:

I'm on her in April too, but it my case it will be for the fourth or fifth time. She's a lovely ship.

I'm also on her next March for the Northern Lights, so I hope I have more luck than Selbourne did.

 

As I’m sure you know, it’s pot luck. We did the Northern Lights Cruise on Aurora during the same two weeks last year and had a fantastic display for two nights (Tromso and the first night in Alta), plus a few lower level sightings at sea. Fast forward a year and we had two brief but very weak sightings. Probably 1 out of 10 this year versus 9 out of ten last year. Apparently the cruise immediately preceding ours had some good displays. We did a maiden call at Narvik, which was underwhelming and not a patch on Tromso, the latter also being much further North so gives you a better chance of getting a good display. 

 

Re the Aurora refit, I forgot to say that the exterior of the ship is also getting a repaint, which we noticed last week is needed. I presume that the existing livery is being retained. We shall see. 

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3 hours ago, Selbourne said:

 

 

 best news of all, new TV’s in the cabins to replace the dire excuses for TV’s that they have at present. Suspect they will be the small LCD ones that they have on Arcadia rather than the fantastic large on demand TV’s that Britannia has). 

 

 

Did you actually see the new TV boxes?  Were they the same old 4X3 Sharp Aquos TV's or were they widescreen format ones?

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1 minute ago, terrierjohn said:

Did you actually see the new TV boxes?  Were they the same old 4X3 Sharp Aquos TV's or were they widescreen format ones?

 

No, we didn’t see them John. I just asked a senior manager who we know well whether they were being replaced and he said yes. I am just assuming that they will be the same as the ones they put on Arcadia at the last refit. They are widescreen, bigger than the current TV’s on Aurora but much smaller than those on Britannia. As I recall they had limited interactive features. Of course, I may have been misinformed and may have a huge disappointment when next on board!

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I`m on board Aurora in 2020 for the 14 night Norway Iceland Ireland cruise

 

First time on Aurora - She will be the smallest ship I`ve sailed on 

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8 hours ago, Selbourne said:

 

No, we didn’t see them John. I just asked a senior manager who we know well whether they were being replaced and he said yes. I am just assuming that they will be the same as the ones they put on Arcadia at the last refit. They are widescreen, bigger than the current TV’s on Aurora but much smaller than those on Britannia. As I recall they had limited interactive features. Of course, I may have been misinformed and may have a huge disappointment when next on board!

The new TVs on Ventura are actually the old style 4X3 format, they are good quality Sharp Aquos LCD TVs, but fairly small screens, and certainly not HD standard, or at least the feed isn't.

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10 hours ago, Selbourne said:

 

As I’m sure you know, it’s pot luck. We did the Northern Lights Cruise on Aurora during the same two weeks last year and had a fantastic display for two nights (Tromso and the first night in Alta), plus a few lower level sightings at sea. Fast forward a year and we had two brief but very weak sightings. Probably 1 out of 10 this year versus 9 out of ten last year. Apparently the cruise immediately preceding ours had some good displays. We did a maiden call at Narvik, which was underwhelming and not a patch on Tromso, the latter also being much further North so gives you a better chance of getting a good display. 

 

Re the Aurora refit, I forgot to say that the exterior of the ship is also getting a repaint, which we noticed last week is needed. I presume that the existing livery is being retained. We shall see. 

I am disappointed that you were underwhelmed with Narvik. I will be there on Arcadia in early December and was looking forward to a new port. Were you able to do anything worthwhile? The railway looks interesting and I assume it runs all year round.

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9 hours ago, cruisefan2012 said:

I`m on board Aurora in 2020 for the 14 night Norway Iceland Ireland cruise

 

First time on Aurora - She will be the smallest ship I`ve sailed on 

 

The strange thing is that despite the fact that Aurora is smaller, I actually feel as though she is bigger than say,  Azura, based on the fact that there seems to me to be more lounge/bar areas and outside deck space in relation to passenger numbers that it's always possible to find somewhere to sit and relax.  The lovely Crow's Nest, Anderson's bar and Raffles(?) (coffee bar area) are really lovely imo and we find the cinema a real plus too (not outside on deck).   The beautiful tiered stern is a real winner too.  For the reasons I mentioned, it is our favourite - although I understand we all have differing requirements and preferences.  I hope you find you like this size of ship and Aurora in particular. We're very much looking forward to a return visit later this year.

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52 minutes ago, pete14 said:

I am disappointed that you were underwhelmed with Narvik. I will be there on Arcadia in early December and was looking forward to a new port. Were you able to do anything worthwhile? The railway looks interesting and I assume it runs all year round.

 

I think that the railway would be a great idea, as then scenery outside of Narvik is beautiful but, as a port, it was a disappointment. Apparently the WW2 Museum is worth a visit (it’s part of the tourist information centre, opposite where the shuttle drops off) but I didn’t get there. The town itself is unattractive. There are a few nice looking buildings but on the outskirts. The central area has a small modern shopping centre but the adjacent roads are mostly commercial (not shops though). It probably didn’t help that there hadn’t been fresh snowfall so the snow on the pavements was all brown (from grit) - although this did make it easy to walk on. Contrast with Alta where everything was crisp white, there was an ice sculpture park, pleasant high street, cathedral, Northern Lights exhibition, huskies, people on sledges and an altogether much nicer feel. Tromso (the previous year) was also much more attractive than Narvik, with attractive waterfront, Northern Lights observatory, nicer ambiance etc. 

 

If snowmobiling is your thing, the trip from Alta (which I did last year) was much better value than the trip I did from Narvik. I had a bad experience with the latter, which will be in my cruise review. 

 

In summary, if you do the Railway trip from Narvik and the WW2 Museum then I think you will enjoy the port far more than I did. 

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I get the feeling that Aurora is very much like Oriana in size, tiered stern etc.  So I am sure we will love her too.

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53 minutes ago, Selbourne said:

 

I think that the railway would be a great idea, as then scenery outside of Narvik is beautiful but, as a port, it was a disappointment. Apparently the WW2 Museum is worth a visit (it’s part of the tourist information centre, opposite where the shuttle drops off) but I didn’t get there. The town itself is unattractive. There are a few nice looking buildings but on the outskirts. The central area has a small modern shopping centre but the adjacent roads are mostly commercial (not shops though). It probably didn’t help that there hadn’t been fresh snowfall so the snow on the pavements was all brown (from grit) - although this did make it easy to walk on. Contrast with Alta where everything was crisp white, there was an ice sculpture park, pleasant high street, cathedral, Northern Lights exhibition, huskies, people on sledges and an altogether much nicer feel. Tromso (the previous year) was also much more attractive than Narvik, with attractive waterfront, Northern Lights observatory, nicer ambiance etc. 

 

If snowmobiling is your thing, the trip from Alta (which I did last year) was much better value than the trip I did from Narvik. I had a bad experience with the latter, which will be in my cruise review. 

 

In summary, if you do the Railway trip from Narvik and the WW2 Museum then I think you will enjoy the port far more than I did. 

Thanks. I went to Alta (the port we miss out in December - we do of course go to Tromso) and was disappointed because we berthed outside the town (which was underwhelming anyway). I visited the ice hotel which was excellent and have previously seen the extensive rock carvings attached to the museum (needed a bus to get there) but this was a summer visit (unlike the ice hotel one). Covered in frost and snow, the rock carvings hold little appeal, in the summer they are fascinating and it is a nice walk.

Oddly for me, I did not spot the Cathedral because I tend to visit them. Shuttle bus dropped us off near the small bus station and I somehow missed the high street.

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1 hour ago, kruzseeka said:

 

The strange thing is that despite the fact that Aurora is smaller, I actually feel as though she is bigger than say,  Azura, based on the fact that there seems to me to be more lounge/bar areas and outside deck space in relation to passenger numbers that it's always possible to find somewhere to sit and relax.  The lovely Crow's Nest, Anderson's bar and Raffles(?) (coffee bar area) are really lovely imo and we find the cinema a real plus too (not outside on deck).   The beautiful tiered stern is a real winner too.  For the reasons I mentioned, it is our favourite - although I understand we all have differing requirements and preferences.  I hope you find you like this size of ship and Aurora in particular. We're very much looking forward to a return visit later this year.

Totally agree, despite a full ship on our last cruise, we always got a good seat anywhere we wanted, including the popular shows in the theatre, and we are not ones to rush or queue, just meandered in when it suited us.

We did miss some of the modern luxuries of the larger ships, but the quaintness easily made up for this. 

The crew also seem to have time for a chat, which can go amiss in busy times on the larger ships.

It feels like a different holiday, although we are still booking the larger ships as well as we are driven by itinerary and love a bargain, but back on Aurora in June, can't wait to watch a telly that works....

Andy

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, kruzseeka said:

 

The strange thing is that despite the fact that Aurora is smaller, I actually feel as though she is bigger than say,  Azura, based on the fact that there seems to me to be more lounge/bar areas and outside deck space in relation to passenger numbers that it's always possible to find somewhere to sit and relax.  The lovely Crow's Nest, Anderson's bar and Raffles(?) (coffee bar area) are really lovely imo and we find the cinema a real plus too (not outside on deck).   The beautiful tiered stern is a real winner too.  For the reasons I mentioned, it is our favourite - although I understand we all have differing requirements and preferences.  I hope you find you like this size of ship and Aurora in particular. We're very much looking forward to a return visit later this year.

Because she has public areas designed to cope with the number of passengers carried, as do Oriana, Arcadia, Oceana and Britannia. Azura and Ventura do not. The Grand Princess carried circa 2500 passengers with public space designed to cope with them. Then Princess got greedy and added an extra deck of cabins to later variants, increasing the number of passengers to 3000. But they did not have any extra deck space or internal public areas. Ventura and Azura are of the later Princess design, ships carrying 3000 passengers with public areas designed for 2500. Which is why they feel overcrowded, why seats in the buffet restaurants are in short supply, why you sit so close together in the MDR......

Edited by Denarius

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21 minutes ago, Denarius said:

Because she has public areas designed to cope with the number of passengers carried, as do Oriana, Arcadia, Oceana and Britannia. Azura and Ventura do not. The Grand Princess carried circa 2500 passengers with public space designed to cope with them. Then Princess got greedy and added an extra deck of cabins to later variants, increasing the number of passengers to 3000. But they did not have any extra deck space or internal public areas. Ventura and Azura are of the later Princess design, ships carrying 3000 passengers with public areas designed for 2500. Which is why they feel overcrowded, why seats in the buffet restaurants are in short supply, why you sit so close together in the MDR......

Aah, that makes sense. Thank you for sharing.

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22 hours ago, jeanlyon said:

I get the feeling that Aurora is very much like Oriana in size, tiered stern etc.  So I am sure we will love her too.

They are very alike; Aurora was built a few years later and has far more balcony cabins which makes her more affordable for solo travellers. The tiered sterns are virtually identical. I think that if you like Oriana you'll like Aurora.

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Jean- almost identical - slightly different feel mainly down to decor but I feel sure you'll feel at home on Aurora. Enjoy!

 

Thanks Denarius for that explanation on the poor public area space on Azura.  As Andy says, that does make sense.  I always feel that if the passengers distribute themselves evenly throughout all the venues/bars/deck etc there would be enough space -  but of course that's never the case because there are pressure points at different times of the day so that it often seems very crowded with little chance of finding somewhere to sit - especially in the evenings. 

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On 3/23/2019 at 7:57 PM, Selbourne said:

We disembarked Aurora this morning (12 nights Northern Lights Cruise - although they were well hidden!). She left Southampton at 1220 today for Brest in France for her refit. 

 

The first lot of workmen boarded in Stavanger on Thursday and had started work in the kids area which is becoming new cabins. 1,000 workmen boarded today in Southampton and when the refit is in full flight there will be 1,800 workmen aboard. The crew are remaining on board to assist and to cater for the workmen. 

 

Other than the well publicised conversion to Adult only (removal of kids club and addition of new cabins) we couldn’t find out too much, but did establish that there will be new carpets in many areas, new chairs and, best news of all, new TV’s in the cabins to replace the dire excuses for TV’s that they have at present. Suspect they will be the small LCD ones that they have on Arcadia rather than the fantastic large on demand TV’s that Britannia has). 

 

If anyone has any more info info on the changes, perhaps they can post here?

Yay new TV@s best news thanks x

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23 hours ago, kruzseeka said:

Jean- almost identical - slightly different feel mainly down to decor but I feel sure you'll feel at home on Aurora. Enjoy!

 

Thanks Denarius for that explanation on the poor public area space on Azura.  As Andy says, that does make sense.  I always feel that if the passengers distribute themselves evenly throughout all the venues/bars/deck etc there would be enough space -  but of course that's never the case because there are pressure points at different times of the day so that it often seems very crowded with little chance of finding somewhere to sit - especially in the evenings. 

The space problem was made worse when they converted part of the main bar into single cabins, same on Ventura. the converted part was the 'lounge' area but that was full of passengers sitting there not buying drinks so no revenue generated

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