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Cruise Review: Aurora December 07 (again)

I know what your thinking- she went on alot of cruises in December 07. the answer is simple “yes i did”

I think that has to be one of the best short cruises that we have ever done with P&O.

Check in was already open when we arrived and we were straight onboard and the first into Goldie drinks. It was along session today and we made the most of it with superb attentive service from Thomas. Sandwiches were quite fresh when the first plate came out but over the next two hours or so we were given soggier and soggier ones!

I seemed to do a lot of dashing about from A to B before sailaway but no idea what I was doing.

Our cabin was in an excellent position, but oh dear, stale cigarette smoke hit us as soon as we opened the door!! Why P&O allow smoking in cabins is beyond me, but it’s the ignorant people who smoke in there that wind me up more than anything. They just don’t think about the repercussions it has on the next passenger. Alexander arranged an ironiser to be sent down to clear it and he kept coming back with the air freshener, but the smell was there. Even despite having fresh bed linen, I could still feel in the back of my throat everytime I woke up. You only had to pull the curtains to, to get a new waft of it. So not a happy bunny about that!!

Sailaway was slightly delayed by a family from the Isle of White who forgot their passports and had to return for them! They came legging it up the gang way at about 10 past 5. I haven’t seen prom deck quite so busy at sailaway for a long long time but then we were about to pass the new Queen Victoria. Mulled wine is always good on a cold frosty night and tonight was no exception.

We had fantastic company and as Jeannie has already said, great company at dinner with Jeannie & Malc, Dave & Kath Hellon and Vicki and David Yates. Im still waited with baited breath to see these ‘elevated menus’ that I keep hearing about, but I enjoyed the meals, and oh boy did we giggle at that table. Im sure people around us must have been wondering what the hell we were on!

Cruisa you have no idea what you missed at the 60’s & 70s night! We all commented that we had never seen so many people make the effort with the costumes, and oh boy did some people go to town on the outfits. There were whole families and large groups of people in the most fantastic costumes, all out to enjoy themselves. And the party went on until about 2 in Carmens before it continued in a very lively Masquarades. Im very pleased to say that Roger Gillespie came and tracked me down in here. Its always great to put faces to names. I managed Masquarades until about 2, but knew the clocks went forward so had to go to my bed. Mr C and Mr & Mrs Yates held the fort in there and continued to party until late or early as they case may be!

Not surprisingly Mr C had a little bit of a sore head in the morning and so we didn’t really do a lot in Rotterdam. We got the shuttle town, walked around the shops and that huge market taking in the sights, before taking refuge from the biting wind in a bar with a nice fire to keep me warm. We sat drinking mulled wine and hot chocolate with liguers and watching the ice skaters.

As soon as we were back onboard Mr C was under his duvet knocking out the Zzzzz’s. I went to Crows for a couple of drinks and sat catching up with Louise behind the bar. Then I was back into the Spa for my nail appointment.

Mr C was awake now and as we had both missed lunch we slipped in for a little of the wonderful ‘elevated’ tea. Oh yummy, toasted teacakes and crumpets.

Informal night tonight. Pre dinner drinks in Andersons and I managed to get by the bar this evening, but then I had made the effort to be a little earlier. Lovely to meet up with Peter and Sarah Monk at last and have a natter.

Tonights dinner menu always amuses me (we had this on formal night last cruise) Battered fish & chips, sausage & Mash or leek and potato pie! Not exactly elevated, but it went down very nicely all the same. It seemed especially stange as we had a nice bottle of Vintage pink Champagne at the table as a little aperitif.

We headed upto Crows this evening to listen to the sounds of Caravan. Has anybody not heard them do Bohemien Rhapsody yet? They are amazing!

Mr H was going to have an early night tonight in preparation for Bruges tomorrow, but something seemed to go wrong. Firstly Malc reappeared from nowhere so that was another round of drinks, and then we somehow managed to do a bit of a fly by in Masquerades and that was another set of drinks lol.

Arrival into Bruges was delayed by an hour or so because the sea was too choppy to get the pilot out, so the lads got to keep their heads on the pillow for a little longer.

We chose to go into Bruges on the Train. We paid the extra and went first class for €5 return each. (€3.90 for second class return) Sunday service is 10 past every hour and we had to leg it from the shuttle to make the next train but we did it.

Bruges was busier than I have ever seen it. It was just fab here – so Christmassy and cold but sunny it was great!  We found the chocolate shop that came highly recommended by Kath (and a few famous chefs etc we later found out) and bought a good supply for Christmas pressies. The Christmas market was in full swing and loads of people enjoying themselves on the ice rink. We had a fantastic lunch overlooking the square snuggled up by a cosy warming fire. Mr C made the mistake of ordering a large beer! LOL he didn’t know it was a litre. I had a mulled wine, complete with egg nog – oh yummy! Although I had already had a huge main course I wanted a waffle so it sort of rounded it off. Mind you after a very large wine and the mulled wine etc, it nearly knocked me sideways when I got outside. Then it started raining and we giggled our way back to the train station, but not before I stopped for yet more mulled wine.

Formal night tonight. Mr C found time for a snooze but I didn’t, and I made it to Andersons even earlier tonight. Still very busy though. Gala reception was up in Crows but I decided to stay put and was soon joined by Dave & Kath.

Another most enjoyable and entertaining meal in Medina with excellent dining companions.

We headed for the party in Carmens again afterwards and I think Mr H is still getting over the shock of the ents team lol. It was very busy but we managed seats at the front which suited me and Kath as we could do our people watching from here.  The bloke from Beat the Burglar’ was our guest speaker this cruise (his first one) and he was making an excellent job of working the room and dancing with all the ladies (maybe he was trying to impress Hughie who was watching from the back.

Caravan finished at about 1230 and DJ Gittos took over. When we left the room was still rocking. Somehow we ended up back in Masquarades (oh what a surprise) and it was busier than ever in here. I cant imagine what time the passengers stopped partying in here. We caved in at about 2.30 and it was still packed with people dancing and enjoying themselves. Even when it went to a cash bar they were still serving as fast as they could.

I still hadn’t packed a thing so there we are at 3 in the morning packing the case and getting everything sorted. In some ways I think it was better that way as it meant that I didn’t feel as if the cruise was over before I went out for the evening. It was hard work though at that time of night!

I went straight to sleep and never heard a thing until 7 the next morning. Somehow we made first sitting breakfast and we were ready to disembark by 8. in hindsight we should have kept the suitcase and done self disembarkation but we were off just before 8.30 and I could here the Captain doing his ‘Thanks for coming’ speech just as we walked across the car park.

Getting hime took forever (apparently) I closed my eyes as soon as I had directed Mr C as far as the A34 (hes still useless without Tom Tom woman!) and never woke up until we were pulling off the slip road for home. I then fell asleep on the sofa, he woke me up to go to Redditch to collect a new car, and I slept all the way there. And I was in bed before corrie! Bring on the next weekend!!

As I have said, thank you to all those we met for your fantastic company. Great to meet Peter & Sarah Monk and Roger and the lovely Collette.

It was great fun watching all the crew do double takes at us as we went around the ship and asking if we had actually been home – cant wait to see thir faces again next weekend lol.

The ship still looked remarkably good and Im sure she will look even better after her mini refit. Contractors were embarking like a team of ants. There was some heavy duty looking carpet fitting equipment being carried up the stairs. Beds were stripped back to the mattresses and soft furnishings were piling up in the corridors as you left your cabin for the final time. I know that a lot of upholstery in public areas were being replaced and you did have to look hard in good light to see that it was in need of a change. I believe that the cabins are getting their elevation with soft furnishings and bed linen and mattresses etc. most of the carpet is being replaced. The ship will also be re registered in Hamilton so that means that the aft of the shop and lifeboats will have to be re done. And of course she needs the new logo applying to the forward sides. I think that some of the Navigational equipment was also being updated. It will be nice to see the changes next weekend while it is all fresh and new. Hopefully they will also have the Christams decorations in place for us too.

A lttle bird told me that it isn’t Nigel Travis who will be taking over as Cruise Director from Hughie over the festive period. They have done some rejigging and one of my favourite CD’s is due to join the ship!

I will update you more following our return in a few sleeps time.

All in all, anyone who want there really did miss a fantastic short cruise onboard Aurora!

I’ll be honest this was only a very short trip so we didnt get around to taking many pictures but what i did take can be seen here and as always your comments are welcome below

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