Author: Mrs Nancy Chappell
Just returned from a 20 day cruise flying to Dubai and cruising back to Southampton. Stops included Safaga for Luxor and Valley of the Kings. Sokhna for Pyramids, Sphinx and Sakkara, Transit of Suez Canal, Limassol, Haifa for Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Civitavecchia for Rome and Lisbon. It was the final leg of the Round the World Cruise and we booked it because we wanted to go to the places that were on this final leg. We had a very good cruise, good food, Not so good entertainment, excellent excursions, and good weather throughout. Passengers who had been on the cruise from the beginning (800) were getting ready for home and lots of them were saying that they had had enough and would be glad to get home. As we were only just starting on our holiday this was a bit off putting and I do not think we would choose the last leg of a cruise again for this reason. However, as I said, we really enjoyed our trip, our favourite being Jerusalem and Bethlehem but all our excursions were good and well informed, in fact too well informed as it was not possible to take in all the information given on each tour. The staff on the Aurora were excellent right from the top. Captain Neil Turnbull was the best Captain we have sailed with. His humour was infectious and he did two shows on stage in the theatre, one a cooking show and the other an interview. He definitely leads by example and I am sure is very well respected by all his crew. Our cabin (Balcony) was kept very well, always nice and clean. The waiters in the dining room in the evening were very attentive and nothing was too much trouble for them. If you did not like something they would bring something else for you. The ship is getting rather old now and could do with a spruce up in certain areas but on the whole, it was a very comfortable ship and easy to find your way around. There were always lots of sun beds and the ship never looked as though is was full, perhaps the opposite. You could always get a bed in whatever place you wanted and sometimes there were only about 4 people up on the very top deck. The entertainment was weak and lots of the shows we had seen before on other P & O ships. We did not see the Cruise director until our 10th day aboard and someone told us he was busy doing paper work ready for arriving in Southampton. Sometimes acts on stage were not introduced which we felt was very bad. We prefer the bigger ships like the Azura and Ventura which seem to have much more atmosphere, but as I have said, lots of the passengers had had enough cruising and were wanting to get home which did not help things along. However, altogether we had a really lovely holiday and saw the places which we had been wanting to go to. The sights were amazing and something we would recommend to anyone. We are now looking forward to our next cruise. Bring it on!