Aurora R119 Christmas & New Year
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|Reviewed By: Bryson, Whitley Bay on 22nd Jan 2012|
|Cruise Line: P&O Cruises||Times cruised before: 10+|
|Cruise Ship: Aurora||Sailed: December, 2011|
|Destination: Canaries||Age: 56-65|
Aurora Christmas Cruise R119 December 2011
So off we go again this was the, ‘we have a slow car case all over again’, as we left on Saturday for a Tuesday cruise. After a pleasant stay in Coventry at the Novotel we moved on to the DeVere in Southampton. We had dinner on that first night with friends from an earlier cruise surrounded by people clearly cruising on Oriana the next day. On Monday night we had a few drinks with friends we had made on line who were on Aurora with us. All very pleasant.
We left the hotel at 11.00 in the morning, going first to the town pier to have a look at the ships in port. We then drove to the Mayflower berth to join our cruise. The queue to unload was not large and within 10 minutes we were unloading, our luggage was whipped away as was our car. We walked down to the entrance, we were shown the gold queue, much longer than the ordinary one!! As I was on my scooter the guide suggested the section for disabled passengers much shorter.
10 minutes later we were boarding and being directed to Carmens to find it full already. So many that you had to go and collect your own food. Well I mean, it’s just not good enough. At 1.30 we get the call that the rooms are ready, we wait for the rush to die down and then we find our cabin. Disaster. The room I had so carefully chosen has a door which is so small I cannot get my scooter in without taking the back wheels off. We are situated by one of the bulkheads and so the cabin door is thin. Saved me going to the Gym I suppose. We will not make that error again.
Otherwise the room is fine with plenty of room for the scooter inside. The luggage came fairly quickly and we set off for a wander. It was soon 16.00 and the safety drill. Our wandering had taken us to Raffles and no further so not far to go to Vanderbilts for our muster station.
We were played off by a band and a school choir singing carols, very jolly.
The first few days of the cruise saw Aurora sailing south through the bay with a swell coming in from the west, this gave us a bit of movement but not too bad. On the first sea day we had our ‘Community’ meeting in the Uganda room. Over 20 people attended and we had a good chat along with a cup of tea. It was very good to put faces to those we had communicated with for such a long time.
The cruise then took on a familiar course with little or no breakfast, a light lunch usually in Cafe Bordeaux and dinner in the MDR. We had been put on a table of 6 with two couples. One couple were from Holland and were very nice. However they had asked for a table for two as they felt their English was not good enough to sustain 2 weeks of conversations. They came to see us the next day to apologize and say they had been moved to a table for 2.
We were joined by another couple who had been on an adjacent table and had been abandoned by their tablemates or more correctly had never seen them.
As ever our table stewards were excellent, very friendly and efficient. The food was excellent. I find that there is more choice now and that on many nights there were a number of dishes I wanted. However I now find that a starter, soup and a main course are enough and rarely would have anything after the main course. The others on the table were not so abstemious and many were devoured.
In Lisbon we took the trip which went across the bridge by the berth. Crossing the bridge we came to Almada a town on the southern shore of the Tagus. Up through its street we climbed up to the statue of Christ which overlooks Lisbon. Up close it is very, very big and has a small church in the base. From here we followed the coast down to Setubal over the southern hills. The views were fantastic. Setubal was a small port with some interesting old buildings. We came back over the other bridge, named Vasco da Gama some 6 or 7 mile, up stream.
On to Cadiz, one of our favourite ports. And the fog came down. We lay off most of the day giving up mid afternoon.
Apart from the usual jollifications Christmas day at sea is very different to that on land, the shops are open, as is the gym and activities are taking place. I go as usual and play bridge.
I did not get off in Casablanca, as little is done for those in scooters.
We enjoyed the 3 islands of the Canaries, going off into the town in each looking around having some tapas and a few beers. The weather was fine with temperatures around the 18c to 20c .
By this time in the cruise NV had taken hold and a number of people had taken ill. The Orangery had closed and there was gel everywhere. The Captain gave daily reports which were detailed. Some of our friends got it and the effects seem to have been varied, from being ill for a couple of hours to suffering for more than 12. Of course you cannot leave your room for 48 hours after you have recovered which for some was a life sentence.
To me this NV is a fact of cruising and indeed a fact of life. It is something you are much more likely to get on shore than on ship..
We moved on to Madeira where because of lack of berths we had to lie off until 14.00 when we swapped places with Queen Elizabeth. As a result we had to make a dash for our 15.00 reservation at Reids for afternoon tea. This was very pleasant and filled with cruisers. We caught another taxi down into the town and joined the throng on the main street strolling past the decorations and stalls.
We then walked back to the ship along the front which by this time had been lit up.
The fireworks, for the New Year, that night were spectacular and Aurora was right in the best spot to appreciate the spectacle. Our small group moved on to the Crows Nest and put the world to rights as the vino flowed. Later we found out who goes to Cafe Bordeaux at half past three in the morning, us. The bacon buns were very good.
The last few days of the cruise passed all too quickly and we were soon packing.
There were a number of cruisers who enjoyed having a good moan about this that and the other. The NV outbreak was like manna to them. Mostly they kept away from me but my OH did get lumbered three times at breakfast in the MDR. She has heard so many moans she is thinking of writing a book.
Overall we had a good cruise, I only saw Tom O’Connor in the theatre and spent most of my time in the casino. My OH did see most of the shows and then went on to the disco. This was a little disappointing because of the lack of people. This being one of the results of the average age of the cruisers being around 75.
Roll on Ventura in the spring, will we survive without a cruise for so long.
Photos will follow. Only about 1000.
|Quality of Food|
|Very good, the new menu gives you a greater choice. Mostly in MDR, we did have an excellent meal in Cafe Bordeaux.|
|I do not do the shows although I did go to see Tom O'Conner. He was excellent. My DW does go to the shows and the rating is hers.|
|We fully enjoyed the Southern Hills in Lisbon.|
|Excellent, as ever|
|We do not use them, apparently we are too old. Everything I saw and heard on board pushes me to give the facilities an excellent.|
|Fitted what I wanted to do.|
|Apart from the problem with the width of the door the cabin was very good|
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