Silver Travel Advisor Alan Fairfax writes his daily Blog from the deck of the P&O Cruises Aurora on his 17 day Mediterranean cruise. He gives a day by day account of life on board this classic ocean-going vessel.
7.30am and wide awake. Yes the ship is still rolling. Time for the shower challenge again and then off to the Medina Restaurant for breakfast. No doubt about it, P&O really excel at this. If you order the P&O special breakfast it is huge including black and white pudding which personally has never appealed to me. Taking into account the old cruise saying of “On as a passenger, off as cargo” I try to keep to the healthy option of fruit juice and Fruit Compote. However I succumb to the Bacon, Fried Eggs, Mushrooms, Beans and Grilled Tomato washed down with coffee. Time to visit the gym, well tomorrow perhaps.
It’s still cloudy but the temperature has risen to a dizzy 18c. We are informed that the sea is becoming calmer and the wind is down to only gusting force 8!!! “By afternoon we will see an improvement”.
First stop was the internet café on deck 13 to find out why I could not get an internet connection. Here I met with Ashley who had me connected in minutes. Time to send off the first part of my Blog.
It was then wandering around the various shops, collecting the daily quiz sheet, crossword and ships newspaper before heading for the Crows Nest where many of the more mature passengers are already indulging in mid morning naps. Some of the questions on the “Tormenting Brain Teaser” really are tormenting. “What unusual natural phenomenon is capable of speaking in any language?” Answers on a postcard please.
Lunchtime we decided to visit the Marco Pierre White dining area which is named Café Bordeaux. The Roast Beef sandwich and the Mussels in cream sauce were very good. For desert it was the Crème Brule. Definitely must visit the gym.
The afternoon was spent touring the ship and taking photographs. The Playhouse cinema was packed as was Vanderbilt’s the card room.
Tonight is the Captains ‘Welcome Aboard Party’ and the dress code is formal so it is off to the ironing room to get the dress shirt sorted.
8pm finds us at the entrance of Carmen’s Lounge waiting to be introduced to the Captain, Neil Turnbull and a photograph with him. It is then into the lounge for the reception and drinks. P&O excel at this. On many ships there is a choice of wine but here you order the drink you want. Excellent. All the men are in dinner suits and bow tie and the ladies look lovely in their cocktail dresses and ball gowns. The Captain then does his welcome speech which is one of the best I have heard for years. Witty and informative. Speeches over, glass empty it’s time for dinner. Special menu to match the formal occasion. Choice of Lobster, Duck, Beef, Chicken but I went for the Rack of lamb. Beautifully done and the Mango and Walnut ice cream was a desert to remember.
After dinner it was Showtime in the main theatre where the Headliners Theatre Company gave a colourful and energetic show titled Destination Dance featuring music and dance from around the world.
Gone midnight and time for bed, and yes, the ship is still rolling but less so. Will be in the Mediterranean tomorrow and Malaga our first port of call so hopefully better weather.
Awake at 7am and everything is very smooth. Hoorah we have stopped rolling. Great to have a shower and not have to concentrate on keeping your balance.
Up on deck for a walk before breakfast. The sun is shining and the sea is smooth as silk. The sun is warm and the coast of Spain is quietly slipping by on our port side as we make our way towards Malaga at just under 16 knots. The Captain comes on the PA and tells us that we are just past Marbella and we will be along side in Malaga at 12 noon.
Time for breakfast where I surprise myself by just having the fruit juice and fresh fruit. No need now to visit the gym!!
At about 11.15am we take the pilot on board and slowly enter the outer basin of Malaga port where the ship turns 180 degrees to go astern into the port and to our berth in the new cruise terminal. We slowly pass AIDAvita that is already berthed and has despatched her passengers on tours and into Malaga.
We approach our berth where the lines are thrown from the ship to the waiting dock personnel who secure the lines to the various bollards on the quayside. After being cleared by immigration and customs we are allowed ashore. The temperature is now 21c and a clear blue sky.
We are meeting friends in Malaga so it is onto the shuttle bus and into the town. Another good point with P&O is that they do not charge for the shuttle buses unlike some other well known cruise lines. Our friends are at the drop off point which is in the heart of the city. It is then coffee, shopping and eventually lunch. For those who have not visited Malaga it is a large rambling city with small walkways between the buildings housing some wonderful cafes and restaurants. The architecture of the buildings takes you to a bygone age. The huge cathedral really is magnificent having stood the test of time over the previous centuries. . There is much to see in Malaga and one of the best ways to see the sites is on the Hop-On, Hop-Off tourist bus. The bus station where they operate from is only a few metres from the shuttle drop off point. The bus has 13 drop off/pickup points so it allows you to see the major sights. If you travel outside of Malaga there are places to visit like Comares, the white village at the top of the mountains. From here on a clear day you look out on a 360 degree vista of Andalucía. The day passes very quickly and soon we are walking through the Palm Park near to the port listening to the endless squawking of the Parrots in the trees before boarding the shuttle back to the ship.
Back on board it is time for tea before going on deck for the sail away party. It seems in no time at all that the ships whistle is sounding it’s farewell to Malaga as we move away from our moorings and out into the Mediterranean towards our next port of call, La Goulette, Tunisia.