We picked this cruise for the 'different' itinerary. We'd cruised aboard Aurora quite a few times & so knew the ship well & knew we liked her. She's a typical British style cruise ship which suits the likes of me :-) Not glitzy, not loud, a proper ship in my opinion.
Anyway, the ports of call on this Southampton round trip were:- Dublin - Eire Reykjavik - Iceland Akureyri - Iceland Alesund - Norway Olden - Norway Flaam - Norway Bergen - Norway Stavanger - Norway Oslo - Norway
The crossing of the Irish Sea from Southampton to Dublin was a tad rough, but Aurora rides the waves well, so not too much bouncing around for us. Dublin was very busy, well it was a Friday I suppose. We were in there overnight, so after our wander around the city & a tour of the Guinness museum (recommended) we ate dinner in a good restaurant called Eden. After dinner we walked down the very busy Temple Bar area of Dublin with its crammed Pubs with their live Irish music. Then it was a walk over Ha'Penny bridge for a Taxi back to the ship. The Taxi driver actually got lost which was quite funny.
Our Captain aboard Aurora, Paul Brown decided that instead of sailing around the West coast of Eire towards Iceland, he would sail direct North up through the Scottish Islands which was very good of him. We got to know Paul & he's a really friendly nice chap.
So, Reykjavik, Iceland. The weather here was a shock for us. We expected it to be quite chilly up here even though it was July, but it was blue skies, sunshine & very warm indeed. There's so much to do in Iceland & our gang of 8 split up to do different things. I think we all enjoyed our tours. I went on a 4x4 Super-Jeep excursion through rivers & up mountains, passing geysers & all sorts of interesting things. We met up in the city for lunch & a drink in the Ice Bar in Kaffi Reykjavik.
On our way to our next port of call, Akureyri, we actually entered the Artic Circle & I experienced the Midnight Sun. It didn't actually get dark at all that night. A great experience.
Akureyri is a small picturesque town. We just wandered through the town & up the steep hill to the Botanical Gardens which are free to enter. A coffee & cake back in town then back to the Ship.
So, another day at sea to enjoy Aurora's facilities before calling at Alesund in Norway. One of our favourite places onboard Aurora is Cafe Bordeaux. Its great for Breakfast or Lunch, & now in the evenings its transferred into Marco Pierre Whites. Cafe Bordeaux is a 24 hour dining venue & I have been known to have a snack in there in the early hours of the morning before retiring to my cabin ;-)
Alesund is a very quaint, pretty place. You have to make it to the top of the hill for the spectacular views over the town & the harbour. There's various ways of getting up there, we took a little road train.
Next port of call was Olden. There's a lovely sail down a Fjord to get to Olden. Its amazing really how far in land the town actually is. This is another very picturesque setting. We did an excursion here. It was quite exhausting to be honest. We took a coach for about 45 mins & then had a long walk up hill to a small lake which was underneath a massive glacier. We then jumped into a dingy & paddled close up to the glacier towering above us. A good excursion, but quite tiring. A good way of working up an appetite I suppose for our dinner onboard Aurora that evening :-)
Our next port of call was Flaam. Another very long sail down a Fjord into the tiny town of Flaam. Very picturesque place, but I don't think there's that much to do here bar take the Train up the mountain. We did this long with hundreds of others. We found a pub with its own brewery near where the ship berths. It looked a very new place. I liked it in there despite the price of the beer being extortionate, but that's Norway for you. Another lovely sail out of Flaam back down the Fjord. The Terrace Bar at the Stern of Aurora is a good place for sail away we find. In fact, you can find us there most days around 6pm :-)
Bergen was our next call. A much larger place than the likes of Flaam & Olden. Really nice Fish Markets & some nice looking restaurants. Here we went on the Floibanen Funicular which when at the top gives you magnificent views of all the little surrounding islands.
Stavanger was next. I've been here twice now & both times it rained. I suppose it does in this part of the world. When the ship docks, it looks like your part of the town. The little red roofed houses are just below you. We just had a wander around the town & then back to the ship. I think our friends visited a fish canning museum or something, which sounds a bit strange.
Our last port of call was Oslo. Another nice sail in & out of Oslofjord. We walked into the City from where the ship berths & had a look at the sights of Oslo. We find Norwegian ports very expensive to buy food & drink & so don't spend as much time eating & drinking in port as we normally do in say a Mediterranean port.
So, back to Southampton. A nice gentle sail back on the glorious Aurora. I've cruised aboard all of P&O's fleet of ships & I still would put Aurora top of my list. For me, its just the right size & is well laid out. She has the retractable roof over one of the pool areas for inclement weather, which is very nice to have on such a cruise as this one. She also has a 'Crows Nest' bar, that's a bar right at the front of the ship, (or Forward I should say), with panoramic views ahead.
Anyway, all in all a fab cruise on a fab ship, & I'd like to do this itinerary again sometime.
Sunday 27th November By 9.00am we are all pacing the living room floor waiting for the mini bus to arrive, by 9.15am we have started to check for it down the street, but at 9.30am on the nose (the time he was booked for) he magically appears outside the house and before he can switch the ignition off a fleet of cases are at his back door. A clear run down to Southampton with only one short stop and we arrive at just gone noon. Check in is rammed, completely … more
Well after going down to soton on the thursday to get acclimatised to the good life at the De Vere, we found out that i had booked a nice little balcony which we could see aurora from on the friday morning which as you can imagine got me even more excited!! check in at the QE2 terminal was really quick! we arrived at midday and we managed to be in the crows nest (along with the goldies and priority people) at about … more
The MV Aurora entered service in April 2000 and is owned and operated by P&O Cruises (now a part of Carnival Corporation). She was built by Meyer Werft in Germany and has a Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT) of 76,152 tonnes and is 270 metres long, with a beam of 32.20 metres. Her draught of 7.9 metres means that she can enter and exit most commercial ports around the world without much difficulty. At full capacity, she can carry up to 1,950 passengers in 939 cabins and also carries around 850 crew.
Aurora is powered is provided by four MAN B&W engines generating 14,700 kW each, powering two 20,000kW STN AEG motors that are used for propulsion. This gives her a service speed of around 24.5 knots (45.4 km/h) , with peaks up to 26.5 (during 2007 World Cruise), even reaching 29 knots (54 km/h) in trials.
After entering service in May 2000, the ship suffered several setbacks. When being christened on 27 April 2000 by HRH Princess Anne, the champagne bottle did not break — a sign of bad luck among seafarers. She also suffered from engine problems during her maiden voyage, which was aborted after eighteen hours. In March 2001, she was involved in a rescue of eleven Russian seamen after their ship capsized and sank in the South China Sea. During the rescue attempt, her crew bravely battled horrendous weather in small rescue boats trying to rescue the Russian seamen and the vessel sustained propeller damage caused by floating debris. In July 2003, she...