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Thoughts from Aurora


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Just back from a lovely cruise aboard Aurora. Just thought I would share a few observations. The ship is in fine fettle. Had a wander around the area with the new cabins and all look pretty good. My favourite carpet (with not a line or point of symmetry in it) in the atrium has been replaced and looks nice- although I can’t remember a thing about it!  The ents staff work very hard and are keen and good fun ( although I think there are only 4 front line staff. )

We chose first sitting dining and the food was very good - although we did think Britannia had the edge in this area when we sailed on her in April. 

We were not too taken with the buffet for breakfast ( bacon almost boiled, poor quality sausages, although the omelette & poached egg section worked well) - much preferred MDR. Had a couple of lunches in buffet & they were fine. Sindhu was good. Beach Hut was OK. 

P&O seem to be trying to put acts on at both ends of the ship and this is having the effect of squeezing the dancing which was disappointing. Oriana( Yes, I know) and Britannia scored better in this area. 

The ship was full. I was quite prepared to vacate my sunbed even if I just went to the rail to see the dolphin ( I would not wish to incur the wrath of those waiting to pounce behind their screens) but honestly, I need not have bothered. There were loads of beds available at all times of day. Similarly there was never any problem getting a seat in the theatre. We wondered if this is a spin off of the ship going adult only and whilst all cabins were taken they were almost all only taken by two passengers with very few third & fourth berths being used.  

So now to the contentious part;

 

With no tipping needed on board, you can relax in the knowledge that the P&O Cruises standards of service you’ve come to expect are all part and parcel of your holiday.

 

I can report that most passengers were passing over envelopes to their waiters at the end of the final dinner on board. Our waiter didn’t rotate the serving order of his tables and we were ( table for six) always served last. We had taken the the above statement at face value and had an anything but relaxing final meal as we realised that we didn’t have an envelope between us. Fortunately one member of our table had been lucky in the bingo earlier that afternoon so we were able to give our waiter a tip. Apparently there were piles of envelopes on the desk at reception during the final few days, although I didn’t see them. 

I accept that P&O’s statement does not preclude tipping but it would actually be much easier if they either said ‘many passengers will give a tip to their waiter as an appreciation of fine service’ or used a statement ( as on another line) ‘xxxx operates a strict 'no tipping' policy.’

it did not spoil our holiday but did make the last meal a little tense. 

Cut backs! Well, we got luggage labels. Didn’t spot the failure to turn down the bed on the first night. Got choccies on the pillow and had a loyalty tier lunch ( we were with a procurements manager & he said that P&O would be looking to cut back on single use materials- so watch out for your foil wrapped butter and plastic wrapped cheese😂.) Where we did feel the pinch was in the appalling quality of table tennis balls ( fortunately someone brought their own) and the complete lack of toothpicks on the dinner table (I knew I should have avoided those raspberries) 😩)

All in all a super cruise. 

Just thought it worth mentioning the ‘T’ word to make future travellers aware of what happens on the last night of fixed dining. 

 

Edited by Ranchi
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Glad you had a good time, just a shame you felt uncomfortable about the tipping.

You should not have felt guilty as tips ARE included, but many passengers (us included) still like to tip good service, rightly or wrongly.

I would never look down on somebody who didn't, each to their own.

And now the big tipping debate starts again....

Andy

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Certainly don’t want to start the debate all over again, Andy.  Just thought folk should be aware. Would have been quite happy if we had had an envelope with us to fill. 

Edited by Ranchi
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We are on Aurora in a couple of weeks.  We haven't really thought about tipping, just assumed that it was now included there was no need to tip.  On our last cruise where tips were automatically deducted unless you opted to remove them we left them on.  It became clear during the cruise that on our table for 8 the other six had removed their tips.  So on the last night the other three couples came with envelopes and we didn't. Yes we felt uncomfortable, although we shouldn't have done.  My husband when shaking hands with our main waiter - 2nd sitting - said to him that we had left the auto tips on just so they didn't think we were the stingy ones on the table.  I know we shouldn't have felt like that.  Now, well my inclination is to tip if we get exceptional service, both with the waiters and our cabin steward.  By exceptional service I don't mean just doing their job.  For example I don't eat cheese and I have been on cruises where the waiter, once he knew about that, took great pains to bring me separate dishes if cheese was included - for example when cauliflower was part of a roast meal he brought me a separate dish of cauliflower without the cheese sauce.  Now that I call exceptional service. 

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22 minutes ago, AndyMichelle said:

Here's a thought for people who don't want to tip but feel uncomfortable not handing over an envelope... 

Hand over an empty envelope... 😀

Andy

 

I may only hope you are joking. If not, you should be ashamed.

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For Ranchi,

 Thank you so much for passing on your experiences. I am going on the ship on the 1st of September and I did wonder how she was after her refit, all sounds good. I am aware of the need to make cutbacks providing P and O manage to keep the prices down.  

 

Do I understand correctly that there is no longer a turndown service on the first night of your cruise. 

 

Are the bathrooms serviced on the first night of the  cruise?

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2 hours ago, Ranchi said:

Just back from a lovely cruise aboard Aurora. Just thought I would share a few observations. The ship is in fine fettle. Had a wander around the area with the new cabins and all look pretty good. My favourite carpet (with not a line or point of symmetry in it) in the atrium has been replaced and looks nice- although I can’t remember a thing about it!  The ents staff work very hard and are keen and good fun ( although I think there are only 4 front line staff. )

We chose first sitting dining and the food was very good - although we did think Britannia had the edge in this area when we sailed on her in April. 

We were not too taken with the buffet for breakfast ( bacon almost boiled, poor quality sausages, although the omelette & poached egg section worked well) - much preferred MDR. Had a couple of lunches in buffet & they were fine. Sindhu was good. Beach Hut was OK. 

P&O seem to be trying to put acts on at both ends of the ship and this is having the effect of squeezing the dancing which was disappointing. Oriana( Yes, I know) and Britannia scored better in this area. 

The ship was full. I was quite prepared to vacate my sunbed even if I just went to the rail to see the dolphin ( I would not wish to incur the wrath of those waiting to pounce behind their screens) but honestly, I need not have bothered. There were loads of beds available at all times of day. Similarly there was never any problem getting a seat in the theatre. We wondered if this is a spin off of the ship going adult only and whilst all cabins were taken they were almost all only taken by two passengers with very few third & fourth berths being used.  

So now to the contentious part;

 

With no tipping needed on board, you can relax in the knowledge that the P&O Cruises standards of service you’ve come to expect are all part and parcel of your holiday.

 

I can report that most passengers were passing over envelopes to their waiters at the end of the final dinner on board. Our waiter didn’t rotate the serving order of his tables and we were ( table for six) always served last. We had taken the the above statement at face value and had an anything but relaxing final meal as we realised that we didn’t have an envelope between us. Fortunately one member of our table had been lucky in the bingo earlier that afternoon so we were able to give our waiter a tip. Apparently there were piles of envelopes on the desk at reception during the final few days, although I didn’t see them. 

I accept that P&O’s statement does not preclude tipping but it would actually be much easier if they either said ‘many passengers will give a tip to their waiter as an appreciation of fine service’ or used a statement ( as on another line) ‘xxxx operates a strict 'no tipping' policy.’

it did not spoil our holiday but did make the last meal a little tense. 

Cut backs! Well, we got luggage labels. Didn’t spot the failure to turn down the bed on the first night. Got choccies on the pillow and had a loyalty tier lunch ( we were with a procurements manager & he said that P&O would be looking to cut back on single use materials- so watch out for your foil wrapped butter and plastic wrapped cheese😂.) Where we did feel the pinch was in the appalling quality of table tennis balls ( fortunately someone brought their own) and the complete lack of toothpicks on the dinner table (I knew I should have avoided those raspberries) 😩)

All in all a super cruise. 

Just thought it worth mentioning the ‘T’ word to make future travellers aware of what happens on the last night of fixed dining. 

 

When we have been on Aurora it was standard practice to have entertainment at both ends as it has been on all ships except Arcadia where there is no real show lounge. The Globe not really fulfilling that function.

 

Regarding the tips we also give a tip but no where near what was paid before. 

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1 hour ago, Tablelamp said:

 

I may only hope you are joking. If not, you should be ashamed.

Of course I was joking, hence the smiley face. 😀

We happily tip if the service is good, which, fortunately always has been on our recent P&O cruises.

The point was that nobody was saying they felt they wanted to tip but were embarrassed because they didn't have an envelope to hand over.

Easy solution...😀(This means I am having a bit of fun!!!)

Andy

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52 minutes ago, daiB said:

 

 

Regarding the tips we also give a tip but no where near what was paid before. 

Agreed Dai, a smallish token of appreciation because we want to is what we now give.

We know we don't have to and wouldn't if we didn't want to.

Andy

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3 minutes ago, AndyMichelle said:

Agreed Dai, a smallish token of appreciation because we want to is what we now give.

We know we don't have to and wouldn't if we didn't want to.

Andy

We always gave a little more on top of auto tips and it is this amount we give now £20 tops for a 14 night cruise and not a lot more for a longer one or BtoB.

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38 minutes ago, AndyMichelle said:

Of course I was joking, hence the smiley face. 😀

We happily tip if the service is good, which, fortunately always has been on our recent P&O cruises.

The point was that nobody was saying they felt they wanted to tip but were embarrassed because they didn't have an envelope to hand over.

Easy solution...😀(This means I am having a bit of fun!!!)

Andy

 

I hoped you were having fun.  My apologies. I’m reading these messages outside and it’s difficult to see the face.   The reason I queried, it, was that years ago, when we WERE tipping, people were giving empty envelopes to the waiters.  Not wishing to drag the subject up again, the only thing I would say, is that they should be given a proper wage and cruise cruise companies should not expect the passengers to make their wages up.  I’m Off to Canada and USA on Aurora on 1st September.  I always fill my tiipping envelopes up before I leave home but I leave them open in case adjustments need to be made.

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15 minutes ago, Tablelamp said:

 

I hoped you were having fun.  My apologies. I’m reading these messages outside and it’s difficult to see the face.   The reason I queried, it, was that years ago, when we WERE tipping, people were giving empty envelopes to the waiters.  Not wishing to drag the subject up again, the only thing I would say, is that they should be given a proper wage and cruise cruise companies should not expect the passengers to make their wages up.  I’m Off to Canada and USA on Aurora on 1st September.  I always fill my tiipping envelopes up before I leave home but I leave them open in case adjustments need to be made.

Oh now I'm very jealous, would love to do that cruise but not in a position to take a month of work in one go at the minute, so having to make do with lots of shorter ones.

Our time will come...

Have a fantastic time.

Andy

 

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Table lamp. I’m afraid I didn’t notice if the bathrooms are serviced on the first evening. We were late arriving on the ship and rushed to muster then to first sitting. We didn’t have a shower so didn’t move the big bath towel of bath mat. The bathroom was fine though. 

Lucky you going to US & Canada. We did that on my retirement. I found going west very tiring as my body clock refused to reset and by the time we got close to US I felt I was dining in the middle of the night. Most found no bother going west but instead got tired on the return voyage. NY is great and the people so friendly. We walked miles. Central Park was great. The Staten Island ferry must be the best free ride in the world and you can take your pick as to which skyscraper you go up. Times Sq at night is buzzing. 

Bar Harbor was another highlight with the Acadia National Park a gem. 

Actually, it’s all good. So have a great time...& brush up your schoolboy/girl French for use in Quebec. 

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Ranchii,

 

 We are not going to Québec but are going to Bar Harbor and I have booked my one and only excursion to Arcadia National Park. It is less than two weeks before I go and  I am trying not to get too excited. But I am - and very much looking forward to going on my favourite ship, the ,’Awesome Aurora’

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Looks a great cruise. We wished we had taken a tour in St John NB. Newport was good and if you like tennis, there is a good tennis museum there. We did that after we did the cliff walk. 

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I too am on Aurora on 1st Sept. 

 

Several years ago I did aa Caribbean Transatlantic, and actually found losing an hour midday harder. It meant that morning and afternoon activities were squeezed, and a rushed (or no) lunch. Going to bed an hour earlier than I felt like to toss and turn, but still getting up at "normal" times. And this was happening every other day. It really messes with my body clock. 

 

I was shattered by the time I got home. 

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39 minutes ago, FangedRose said:

I too am on Aurora on 1st Sept. 

 

Several years ago I did aa Caribbean Transatlantic, and actually found losing an hour midday harder. It meant that morning and afternoon activities were squeezed, and a rushed (or no) lunch. Going to bed an hour earlier than I felt like to toss and turn, but still getting up at "normal" times. And this was happening every other day. It really messes with my body clock. 

 

I was shattered by the time I got home. 

 

If you go into the rollcall tool, you will find about five other people on the same cruise, there is no list of names so you will need to ‘join the discussion’.  There are quite a lot of interesting facts about excursions and what different people are going to do. I have room service at 7.30 each day, so am forced to get up.

Christine

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We are on the Sept 1st cruise too and really looking forward to it. We have only recently returned from Norway/Iceland cruise on Arcadia. We definitely had turndown service on the first night. Maybe it is somethig they are trying out on certain ships? We were last on Aurora (our favourite ship), May last year so we are looking forward to noticing any changes.

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7 hours ago, Ranchi said:

found going west very tiring as my body clock refused to reset and by the time we got close to US I felt I was dining in the middle of the night.

You should try working in the morning in the UK, flying to New York,  and then working for another 4 hours. And then flying  back the next day .  And my colleagues at work couldn't understand why I was tired!  Cruising to the US is fantastically civilised. 

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23 hours ago, Danamis said:

We are on the Sept 1st cruise too and really looking forward to it. We have only recently returned from Norway/Iceland cruise on Arcadia. We definitely had turndown service on the first night. Maybe it is somethig they are trying out on certain ships? We were last on Aurora (our favourite ship), May last year so we are looking forward to noticing any changes.

Just off Arcadia -- no turn down service on first night too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Elsie69 said:

Just off Arcadia -- no turn down service on first night too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow! We were on Arcadia mid July and we had turn down service on first night. We did have the best steward we had ever had so maybe he went above and beyond.

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35 minutes ago, alija1960 said:

just recently off Aurora last week and the first thing that the steward advised us was that there was no turn down service on first night, but this did not bother us. 

Just back off Independence OTS and despite our stateroom attendant (steward) sometimes not finishing until 2pm, we always had the evening turn down and bathroom tidy service every day, including the first night.  Lack of the bathroom clean up every night would certainly bother us. 

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