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Aurora cruise ship review

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When Aurora entered service in 2000, Café Bordeaux was a novelty. Offering around-the-clock dining, this attractive open-plan area wraps around the mini-atrium on deck 8. The rooms' French bistro style decoration very successfully hides the fact that there are no views outside from this restaurant and Café Bordeaux has been a hit with Aurora's passengers since the vessel's maiden voyage.  

The concept of the Café Bordeaux is a little puzzling at first. From 6:30 am to 11:00 am, breakfast is served here, immediately followed by lunch. A "Bistro Dinner" is available from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, after which you are welcome to the Café Bordeaux for late night snacks until late. Very late, as the place doesn't close! All food with the exception of the Bistro Dinner is included in your cruise fare. For dinner a surcharge is applicable, with advance reservations recommended. Being good investigating reporters, my friends and I try out the Café Bordeaux for Sunday lunch. We report to the "wait to be seated" stand and are accompanied to a table. Our waiter brings the menu, which features some well-know favorites like salads, pasta, steak and salmon.    

Lunchtime pasta dish at Café Bordeaux
Yummie desserts

Though lacking some finesse, our lunch dishes at the Café Bordeaux do not disappoint and we spend a wonderful hour or so looking at all the going-ons at this busy place. As for the service: overseen by an eclectic British Restaurant Manager, an army of Goanese stewards is available to serve guests. While definitely friendly, they do not appear to be a very efficient bunch of workers.

After lunch, it is time to see what more Aurora has in store for us. First, we grab a movie at The Playhouse, Aurora's dedicated cinema seating 210 passengers in plush comfort. Sporting some beautiful murals, this is really a great hideaway and apart from movies The Playhouse is also used for classical evening concerts and lectures. Next door is the ship's Photo Gallery, open most of the day. The quality of the shots that are on sale here really exceed all expectations. The Photo Staff sell large framed prints of the ship, photo albums filled with interior shots and CD-ROMS with photos. Very innovative and judging by the crowds in the Photo Gallery, P&O has come up with a very good concept to commercially exploit the onboard photography.  

Innovative artwork at Champions
Champions Sports Bar seen from the outside world

No P&O or Princess ship would be complete without an Art Gallery, featuring objects available for the onboard Art Auctions. Contrary to Princess ships where the "art" is littering the whole ship, Aurora thankfully limits the display to one area only. So let's skip the Art Gallery and move on further aft to Champions, Aurora's lively Sports Bar

Done in blond woods, greens, blues and reds, Champions is a contemporary version of the traditional Sports Bar. In addition to large TV-screen and a large circular bar for socializing and drinking, there is a small dance floor where Party Band Caravan performs nightly. Large bay windows offer an unrestricted view of the gorgeous wrap-around teak Promenade Deck and the atmosphere at Champions is upbeat and lively around the clock. And should you get a little hungry after a night at Champions, simply hop up the grand staircase to Café Bordeaux for a late night snack!

Café Bordeaux

Café Bordeaux

Café Bordeaux

Café Bordeaux

Café Bordeaux
Café Bordeaux
The Playhouse - Aurora's cinema and conference center
Photo Gallery
Champions Sports Bar

Champions Sports Bar

Entrance to the Playhouse

Art Gallery

Champion Sports Bar
Champions

   

Photos and text: © 2001-2011 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on March 6, 2005

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