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Sail Date: June 2009
Impressions of the P&O Ship Arcadia After our First Class rail journey from Durham to Southampton, we were delighted that our check-in was swift and we were soon directed to an inside Cabin C 184, which was spacious and very well ... Read More
Impressions of the P&O Ship Arcadia After our First Class rail journey from Durham to Southampton, we were delighted that our check-in was swift and we were soon directed to an inside Cabin C 184, which was spacious and very well appointed. My only criticism of the check-in and the security procedure was that the staff concerned showed little interest in the many mature and aged people. A pleasant word would have been comforting to some anxious customers. The cabin C 184 had plenty of storage facilities. However the lighting in front of the wardrobes was poor. Our cabin steward introduced himself and soon agreed to exchange the duvets on the beds for sheets and blankets. We attended the routine boat drill before dinner. Having attended many Captain's cocktail parties in the past, we decided to miss our invitation and relax before dinner on the second evening. Dining. Throughout the cruise, we ate in the Meridian Restaurant. We shared a table for eight. The standard of our meals was extremely high. The waiters were efficient and patient. We had no complaints. On one evening, my wife quietly stated to her table companion that she wished that she had chosen a different course. Our waiter overheard and pleasantly and quickly changed her meal. There was much choice at all meals, from the exotic to the simple. I heard no complaints. Sanitisation of hands was available. We used the gel on every occasion, but many diners did not. We think that there should be more insistence by P&O for this safeguard. Entertainment. We made our way to the Palladium Theatre after dinner on the first night of our cruise. There were no seats available, so we stood at the back. The singing was raucous. Even the song "I'm leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street", a romantic song, seemed to be sung at the maximum volume. We tried other shows later, but the amplification offended us and we did not stay for very long. The classical pianist Naomi Edemariam gave us much pleasure. Her playing was of a high standard. Our grumble concerning her concerts was that they were badly timed. A 5.15pm start for First Sitting cruisers, left very little time for us to prepare for the evening meal. The cinema on the ship was abysmal, with few seats and a poor screen. We thought that the choice of films was depressing. The art lectures were very informative and I must say that the one on "Turner" was one of the best I have heard. We also attended two lectures on health by the Deputy Manager of the Spa. He was both amusing and very interesting. He has left us with much to think about after the cruise. It was somewhat annoying that the lectures were given in open areas, with passing cruisers, whose chatter could be disruptive. It would have been more satisfactory if the lectures had been given in the many closed areas of the ship. Fellow Guests. Throughout the cruise we found much friendliness among those whom we came into contact. Politeness and good conversation made for a pleasant atmosphere. We thought that the disabled passengers were heroic and, despite their difficulties, very good humoured. Ports of Call. June 4th. Our first call was to Malaga, where we were very keen to visit the Cathedral. We were not disappointed and at a cost of 4 Euros each we spent a fruitful time in The Cathedral and in the Museum. We were also able to join in a Mass service in an adjoining church. A satisfying morning excursion. June 7th. We wended our way on to Dubrovnik, via the Straits of Messina, with good views of the Italian and Sicilian coasts. One could see the snow covered Mount Etna in the distance. The Captain announced that on arrival in Dubrovnik, he had permission to enter the port for only one and a half hours, after which he would manoeuvre the ship to anchor in the bay for the rest of the day. This meant that we could go ashore by the gangway, but we had to return in a tender. This did present a problem for some elderly passengers. Dubrovnik was magnificent, with its glittering walls and pavements. One felt that one was experiencing a perfectly preserved medieval city. There was little evidence of the bombing of the city by the Serbs. We returned to the ship with a pleasant memory. We were able to attend a Mass at the Monastery of St. Francis. June 8th. The entry into Venice was spectacular, as the ship slowly sailed past the many interesting sights. At a cost of £8 each, my wife and I joined others on a large motor launch and were deposited at a landing stage very close to St. Mark's Square. We achieved our objectives, visiting St. Mark's and seeing the Titian painting in the Frari, but at great effort. The crowds in the streets were enormous and we were pleased to take the launch back to the ship. With all its wonderful sights, I do not think that this visit was too sensible. The majority on the Arcadia were mature people and those we talked to said they found the visit exhausting. June 9th. The visit to Split was a revelation. Leaving the tender, we were faced with a very modern front to the harbour. Thoughtful construction had resulted in the idea of antiquity in a modern setting. Glittering pavements combined with simple garden areas to give a most pleasant result. However it was the remains of Diocletian's Palace which gave us the greatest thrill of our holiday. There was much exciting evidence of life in Roman times. The Catholic Cathedral had been built on the site of the palace and the building seemed to merge into what was left of the original buildings. A museum adjoining the Cathedral had many fine exhibits, which demonstrated the history of the area. Our short visit made us contemplate a holiday in this city in the future. June 10th. Our visit to Corfu was very disappointing. On leaving the ship, we were faced with a continuous excess of traffic, pollution, crowds, litter and overwhelming heat. We visited a Catholic church near to the harbour and made a pilgrimage to the famous cricket ground. We returned early to the ship. We would not return. June 11th. Our voyage from Corfu to Zakinthos was short and completed overnight. A cloudless warm evening, combined with a very calm sea, plus the slow movement of the ship through the water, created a magical atmosphere on deck. We strolled on a deserted Promenade Deck after dinner. Our fellow cruisers were busy at shows or at activities within the ship. We would not have exchanged our romantic moments with anyone. Anchoring at Zakinthos, we were taken ashore by tender, where our first local attraction was the sight of a dead dog in the harbour. Moving into the town, we were face with heavy traffic, much litter, dirty streets. Visits to a Catholic church and two Orthodox churches were interesting. We were particularly impressed by a number of men who were making visits to the Orthodox churches. They sang as they moved around and kissed a number of icons in various parts of the churches. Gibraltar our last port of call, was largely unchanged from our previous visits. Alistair, in Reception, directed us to the Cathedral in Main Street, where we attended the Cathedral for the 9.0am Mass. Incidents. As regular cruisers, we were invited to an evening party aboard ship in the Viceroy Room, given by Chief Engineer Jewkes. Making our way to Deck 10, I asked a passing white-suited member of the ship's crew for directions to the party. He answered, "I'll show you". He then led us up stairs and along corridors to the party venue. As he turned to leave us, I said, "What do you do on the ship?" He answered, "I'm the Captain". He was not joking. We both laughed. As the cruise developed, my wife Mary complained of a unpleasant smell in the toilet area in our cabin. We complained to the cabin steward, who reported the matter to the Deck Supervisor. He visited the cabin and ordered the steward to use more chemicals. This made no difference and we pursued the matter, both with the Deck Supervisor and with the staff at Reception. A plumber attended and after an attempt at repair declared that the problem could not be put right quickly. I pressed for another cabin and eventually we were transferred to cabin B85, which was a mini-suite. We were pleased at the upgrade, but were disappointed that it took so long (four days) to remedy the unpleasant situation. My pressure brought an interview with Helen Skoins (Head of Passenger Oganisation), who pleasantly arranged for her deputy, Karen Wright, to transfer us to the better cabin. Strangely, our experience with the defective toilet did not spoil our holiday. On the whole our accommodation was good. The cooking on board was of a very high standard. I have often praised the food on the Queen Mary 2, but the meals on Arcadia were better. Service by staff was excellent. We enjoyed our cruise and would not hesitate to sail on Arcadia in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
Arcadia J910 Fjords & Iceland 16.07- 31.07.09 We left home on 15.07.09 at 10.00 & started the long journey down to Southampton, via M1, M69 , M40 & .eventually M27. We had intended to visit a NT house , but the ... Read More
Arcadia J910 Fjords & Iceland 16.07- 31.07.09 We left home on 15.07.09 at 10.00 & started the long journey down to Southampton, via M1, M69 , M40 & .eventually M27. We had intended to visit a NT house , but the weather did not encourage a lazy summer day in the countryside. This was a prediction of the cruise in general. We reached Southampton at approx 16.00 and booked into the Novotel, as recommended by Keith. It was a good choice, as City, QE2 & the new Ocean Terminal were accessible from there. It is also very close to the Railway station, but I would not like to do the walk with cruise luggage to the hotel! We rested with an adult beverage in the 'garden,' whiling away a few hours, until dinner time. We retired early for the night and I woke at 06.00 & watched both Artemis sailing up the river to her berth at the Mayflower dock and Arcadia manoeuvring into the dock beside the Ocean Terminal. We ate breakfast, which was included in the room price (£79) and then wandered around some shops,. We had to vacate the room at noon, so drove directly to the Ocean Terminal, where we lined up, waiting for our turn to off load our baggage.. This was dealt with efficiently and were in the Belvedere, eating our lunch by 1pm. It was interesting 'people watching.' One unfortunate soul, came up in a wheel chair, asked 2 people to move up at the table they were sitting at and then proceeded to get out of the wheel chair and proceed to walk to get his lunch! I am afraid that my sympathy for him was short lived. At 2pm we were allowed to proceed to our cabin, where most of our luggage was waiting. We had booked a cabin with a partial sea view, which was 'blocked' by safety equipment. Fortunately we were between life boats, so I had a decent view most mornings, for 'sail in.' By the time we had unpacked, it was time for 'Muster Stations.' I won't say Lifeboat drill, as we went to the dining room with our lifejackets, but did not go outside. We then had a tour of the gym, where Adrian won a 'G Form' treatment. This he took on the 1st Port day, at 5 pm on our return from Ypres. This entailed having electrodes put on his stomach- 1 hrs treatment was supposed to loose 2lb body fat. But at a cost of £50 per hr, it is a very expensive form of treatment. Adrian 'won 30 minutes', so should have lost 1lb, which he more than made up for on the cruise. I signed up for the Hydro Therapy Treatment- £10 per day, or £75 per cruise. However on the 1st day the offer was £55 for the cruise, which I thought was a good rate, so I used my on board allowance. I tried to get in every evening, when Adrian went to the gym. We went up on deck, where we watched 'Sail Away.' Artemis left first, I was surprised that there was no salute, as both ships are in the P&O fleet.  As we left, we had a good view of the Ocean Terminal, but it was cool on deck 10, where I had gone in the hope that Artemis might catch me on the web cam as she sailed away. We then got ready for dinner, where we met out table companions, Gordon & Claire from Kendal and Graham & Lynne from near Stonehenge. We were very grateful their company and fortunate that we got on so well together for the next 15 nights. We heard many complaints from other people that we ate breakfast & lunch with, but you cannot please everyone, all the time. . We were also fortunate with our waiters, Priyank & Suraj., who served at the speed of light. We never had to wait,& Suraj soon realised that Adrian was partial to ice cream with any sweet course and also would have cheese & biscuits as well. He had a great deal of humour and would ask' Anyone for Cheese & Biscuits,' looking directly at Adrian! No wonder he had to go to the gym every evening. Ports. Ypres- Fri 17.th July We had problems in Zebrugge, the coach was pulled over by Belgian Customs & Exercise. I am not sure what they were looking for, but the bus driver didn't have all the necessary documentation, so another coach was sent for! We wasted 3/4 hr in the process! We had the whole tour, but in reverse, so we were late back to the ship, which fortunately waited for us, as it was a ship's tour! Eventually, the weather improved, so we got some good pictures at Tyne Got cemetery, with the battle fields in the background. Even though Adrian's Granddad survived the war, he was gassed during the battle of Passendale. ( the fields where the battle took place can be seen in the background) He suffered for the rest of his life. We heard later that there had been problems with other morning tours when they returned to the ship, as the tide had changed and a gangway had to be moved. However the crane driver went off, as it was his dinner time, so more than 1,000 passengers were stranded on shore. Fortunately the Meridian restaurant remained open, even though it was past 1.45pm. One wonders if Belgium workers were on a 'Work to Rule,' or whether they are always like that. Not a good advertisement for Tourism! 1st Sea day We went to 3 port lectures, but decided that we would only take tours in Iceland, as the Norweigan Ports were accessible. We decided to book on the 'Jewels of the North' Tour in Akureyri. We left the theatre and went straight down to the Tours Desk, but were told that the Tour was 'wait listed' so booked on Nature & Flora. Fortunately we did manage to eventually get on our preferred tour. That evening was our first 'Formal Night,' held around the covered Neptune Pool. What a strange place to have the Commodore's reception party! I was spoken to by the Commadore, who asked me if I was Ok, to which I replied,'Well I would have been if I had had a Hair Drier(HD). I do not often use one, but as I had been to the Hydro therapy pool, my hair was wet. I looked for the HD and that & the kettle were missing. What a day to remove them for testing! In his speech, the commodore mentioned that if you find that you do not have a HD, then phone your room steward and they will provide you with one! Later one of the photographers annoyed me, as she pointed the camera at me as I was eating a roll! ( I did not buy that photo ,or any others on principle, they were so expensive) Later in the cruise the same photographer came to re-arrange us, just as we were being served dinner. Again I refused to move, but none of our table companions wanted a photo taken either, I was just the spokes person! Don't the photographers get training in Thinking Skills. It does not take too much intelligence to realize that passengers don't like eating cold food. I must be getting old to be grumbling! Stavanger Sun 19th July An early view of Stavanger from Cabin E126 Stavanger on a Sunday was lifeless until after mid-day. We walked around the town & I could not believe that a tourist place had nothing open, not even cafes. Fortunately, the Oil Museum eventually opened, so we were able to use their 'facilities.' We looked to have a cup of coffee, but could not find one listed on the menu, although Pills Larger was at a hefty equivalent of almost £9. This was the same cost as the entry to the museum. We eventually ambled back to the ship, where we had lunch ( having looked at a restaurant menu near to the ship & seen that soup was the equivalent to £12.00) Later walked through the old town ( as seen in the above image) This had plenty of character and so we sat on a bench in the warm sun for a short while. It was then back to the ship and to the Aquarius Pool deck, where we sat in comfort and promptly fell asleep. I must say that I favoured those comfortable chairs, but the settees were not built for people with short legs! Eidjord was wet, so we went on a trip on the Troll train. When we got off, the rain had stopped, so we went for a walk up river. It took 40 mins to walk to the place where the Kayaking was taking place & 25 mins on the return. I am sure the area is pretty when it is fine, Bergen Tue 21st July We took the free shuttle bus into Bergen and started walking towards the Bryggen district. On the way, we saw the Ulikren cable car shuttle bus, so we took it. The glass top gave good views, without getting cold.  We had a shot of Arcadia, moored at the commercial port, through the mist, which kept swirling to & fro. On the return journey, the bus did a tour of the Harbour district, so we had an idea where to go, but there was no commentary. We later went to the Bryggen district & saw Discovery, Prinsendam & Astori and another cruise ship also in Bergen. The Fish market was colourful & interesting, but I was surprised that it was outside- I expected to be an indoor market. Alusend Wed 22nd July It was a much sunnier day in Alusend. Alusend was the start of the Shetland Bus during WW2. We walked around for a few hours taking photos, but returned to the ship for lunch. We then went back to look at the WW2 memorial near the Tourist Information centre, where we eventually spent some Kroner. I bought a mug & Adrian bought a hat& tie - the last of the big spenders. We then had a fire boat had a fire boat send off from Norway,  2nd Sea Day Today's Port lectures were for Reykjavik, Iceland & Dublin, Ireland. We immediately went to the Tours desk & booked the Golden Circle Tour. At the same time I had asked if we were on the 'Jewels of the North' tour in Akureyri, which included the Godafoss waterfall. Amazingly, they had just had a cancellation, so I was at the right place at the right time- unusual for us! We also had put our clocks back 1 hr, taking us back to BSTso had an extra hour in bed, which I was grateful for. I do find 4 port days in a row, rather tiring. We had sailed above the Artic circle overnight, but the seas were reasonably calm. I woke early in the morning, with the sun high in the sky, so thought it was about 10.00- it was actually 05.00. We heard later that the sun had actually setovernight, the 1st time for 2 months. Iceland -Akureyri. Fri 24th July 12 buses in all set off on the trip Jewels of the North which included the 'Godafoss Falls,'  A crater( filled with supposedly non biting mosquitoes, but they bit me) Lava formations The quide has one foot on the American Plate & one on the European plate in this Rift Valley.  and the mud pools.  The trip was excellent, but was rushed as we were leaving at 2pm. We returned 15 minutes after scheduled sailing time, but 2 other coaches were after us. We just made lunch in the dining room- there was no way we were going to the 'Belvedere' after the manic queuing that we had to put up with that morning. They were totally unprepared for the influx of passengers. You would have thought that with 3/4 of the ship's passengers going on trips ,that they would have adjusted the time of breakfast in the dining room! Sail away at 2 pm was superb as there was a fresh snow fall the previous day & the sun on the snow was stunning. We again had a dusk & dawn night, at no time was it dark! Sat 25th July Reykjavik, Iceland Again , I woke early, as the sun was so high in the sky. We had decided to order room service for breakfast, which arrived promptly. It was another early start, but this trip wasn't so rushed. Our German guide was well informed and again we went into Rift Valleys, which reminded me of Canada( it must have been the Loon which I heard)  We then went to the Gysir reagion, where we saw more mud, instead of the Earth's crust, Blue Pools and Gysers of various heights. Unfortunately, while we were eating a lunch of Soup, Salmon and Salad, the clouds came and the sun went in. Gullafoss Falls were still stunning. We returned, via a Hydro Eletric plant which is not yet complete, but utilizes the Thermal Springs and we also had a sketchy tour of Reykjavik, where we were taken to the 'Pearl.' There were excellent views of the town from the top. Sail away was again stunning, as the air was so clear. My only regret was that I didn't see the Blue Lagoon, but as I was unwilling to shower with nothing on, before entering the water, we decided not to take that tour option. Sea Days 3&4 We were warned that the weather would become 'bumpy' once we were in open seas, but I believe the 3rd Officers comment from the bridge at noon on Monday was unnecessary. He was trying to inform us of the depth of sea below us, but when he continued his analogy by informing us that Arcadia would only take 5 minutes to reach the bottom, many passengers thought that he had overstepped the mark. I was told my another officer that he had been reprimanded! We went to Digital Living lectures and the ship's company 'laid out informative demonstrations. It was also our final Formal night, as we were in port for the 2 following evenings. The Commadore had told us at the 1st Formal night, that in 40 years at sea, he had never been to Ireland, so maybe we stayed in port for him. Dublin Tue 28th July We spent an interesting morning finding a bank. We had omitted to take sufficient Sterling for our tips, so had asked to change N.Kroner on the ship. Adrian was unhappy with the exchange rate, so we decided to take a chance in Dublin. We were happy with the rate we were given, even though we had to change into € first then £. We then passed the statue of Molly Malone ( or the Tart with the Cart amongst other names for her) We then jumped on the Hop on Hop off bus & were lucky with the driver that we had, as he was doing his own commentary. His opinion of the government cannot be repeated. We stayed on as far as the Jameson Whiskey Distillery, where we took the Tour. Adrian was a taster! We then had a wonderful lunch of Irish Beef & Yorkshire pudding! We jumped back on the HoHo bus, as far as O'Connell street, where we tried to walk back to the place where the shuttle bus had dropped us off. It started to rain, so we jumped back on the bus again. We had thought of going round Trinity College , so that we could see the Book of Kells, but when we saw the queues, we decided that we would have to pay another visit to Dublin in the future. On our return to the ship, we saw that Boudicca was also in port. Cobh Wed 29th July The Sail in was during the morning, so we went up to the Aquarius pool deck to watch, where a sail in party was taking place! I am sure the people of Cobh were regretting our arrival! As Adrian & I had been to Cork before, we decided to explore Cobh. We climbed up to the church and took in the views. It started to rain ( whats new?), so we sheltered in anArt Gallery, but the prices were beyond our means. I took a few photos and interestingly we saw a photo of the church taken from a Titanic Tender, without the Spire on the church, as this wasn't added until 1916. I must admit that the most impressive part of Cobh was the sail in. Sea Day 5 After a poor start, the weather brightened up & we had our one & only sun bathing afternoon. Our intention was to read, but sleep soon took over. I now know why I have been so tired on this cruise, as I never totally relaxed. As soon as the sun came out I fell asleep. We had 3 hrs of sun, as we sailed up the coast of Cornwall & Devon. I do wonder where everyone would have sat outside, as in my opinion, there were insufficient sun loungers & certainly those around the Neptune Pool were too low for me. [IMG]http://i30.tinypic.com/2hgy5xx.jpg[/IMG] Southampton Fri 31st July Disembarkation was quick. Our car had been moved by CPS to the car park at the QE2 terminal and we were on the road before 9am. Southampton was full of ships, Ventura was at the Ocean Terminal, Celebrity Equinox at the City? Terminal and Crown Princess at the Mayflower Terminal. Arcadia Experience We tended to favour the Meridian restaurant for all our meals. We did go to the Belvedere (self service) occasionally, but found that the service was ultra slow—10 minutes queuing for a bowl of porridge is unacceptable. Adrian experienced the same for cooked breakfast. Why the dining room was not opened earlier when at least 12 coaches were departing on trips at 8am is beyond me. We also sometimes went to the Belvedere for a cup of tea late afternoon and found that small spoons could not be found. Arcadia Rhodes My only experience was on the Galley Tour, as we entered through Arcadia Rhodes. It looked good, & I am told that there were separate kitchens and food stores. But for £15p.p extra cover charge, we declined, as we were happy with the service in the Meridian. Digital Living I signed up for the Internet, which I found painfully slow, but eventually I was credited with an additional 55 minutes. We spent quite a few hours in various rooms; The Sea Room, The Bay & The Ocean Room, listening to free Technology Seminars & Computer Work Shops., given by Karen Wyness. From 1st August, she will be using the Bay Room as her base, as she suffered so many interruptions in the Sea room, where the Lap Tops for passenger use were also situated. It was a no win situation, passengers who had paid for lectures were being disturbed, and those who had paid for Internet access could not use the Lap Tops if she was lecturing. At one time we were in a seminar in the Ocean Room, when passengers were coming in & helping themselves to chairs for use in the cinema ( which I am told was too small) She stopped that, as she said that passengers should not be moving furniture ( Health & Safety) A little later, a woman passenger came & stood in the room, & when asked what she wanted, she said 'Bridge- are these people paying for this?' Bridge started 15minutes later. Entertainment This was excellent. The Headliners Theatre Company had been formed and had 6 weeks rehearsal in London, before embarking on the Ship in mid May. We watched them every night and they put on 8 excellent performances, even dancing through a Force 9 Gale. We also had a variety of artists: Week 1 Suzanne Gayle- vocalist- 2 shows Kyle Esplin- billed as piano/ vocalist, but his piano skills were incredible- 2 shows Week 2 Allan Stewart, I split my side laughing at his traditional British Humour, but some of the older passengers objected to being ridiculed. Bruce Morrison- Singer They both performed twice in the evenings, but Bruce joined forces with Sally Sagoe for a 'heartwarming sketch about Queen Victoria. He also performed on the last afternoon, but we fell asleep on deck, so missed him. Quest Speakers Brian Hanrahan - BBC's diplomatic editor Jeanette Kupermanr- ex Fleet Street Jorurnalist & Anthropologist Sally Sagoe was the Cruise director. My only comment would be that she needs to revise her programme of jokes. She was cruise director when we were on Artemis in Oct 2006, and she is still using the same jokes- which fell flat! However she did an excellent job devising both day & evening entertainment; keeping 2,000+ passengers happy with the weather that we experienced is no mean feat! Over all the cruise was a good experience, we could have asked for the weather to be kinder, but as my photos show, it improved as we travelled further North. I would certainly sail from Southampton again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
Arrived at Southampton port, embarkation very well organised and efficient,when we arrived at our stateroom all our baggaged had been delivered much more efficient than our previous cruise with P+O on Artemis. Arcadia is a very ... Read More
Arrived at Southampton port, embarkation very well organised and efficient,when we arrived at our stateroom all our baggaged had been delivered much more efficient than our previous cruise with P+O on Artemis. Arcadia is a very impressive ship very well appointed and clean. Activities on board cover a good range if you want to get involved, with two pools, gym, cinema, theatre, deck games,line dancing, etc. Service in the Meridian restaurant was first class could not fault it in any way, the food was also very good. The Belvedere restaurant served a good variety of food during the day with a themed menu in the evening, this could get busy at peak times but we always managed to find a table. We did not visit the Arcadian Rhodes as there was a cover charge of £15 a head or the Orchid Restaurant where there was also a cover charge of £10 a head which we thought was expensive on top of the price we paid for the cruise. The port and shore excursions, Two of the ports we were scheduled for had to be changed due to an incident on board as a crew member was missing and we had to turn the ship round and retrace where we had sailed from as he was presumed lost overboard , he was eventually found on the ship but it was then too late to make Malaga and we ended up in Palermo Sicily, what a disappointment to say the least. Our last port of call was due to be Cadiz but due to bad weather forecast in the Bay of Biscay the Captain decided to miss out Cadiz and head for LaHavre to make the journey more comfortable for passengers by missing the worst of the weather, although we did have two days of rough seas. Unfortunately it was a bank holiday in LaHavre so no shops were open. Entertainment was very good. One seminar to avoid is 'Secrets to a flatter stomach'. You will be asked if you want to book a consultation after the talk, this will cost you £15.00 and he will measure your body fat mass etc.and advise on exercise. What is not mentioned in the seminar is that this is a ploy to sell a detoxifying Catalonian mud foot soak which will cost you £61 for a months supply. This is a very underhand method of selling. I came out of there feeling I had been misled into a selling situation. As the trips are quite expensive I research on the internet and find you can do most of them a lot cheaper. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Arcadia,embarked Southampton 05 January; 1900 on board, mostly Brits with 400 Aussies going home on the return leg of a World Cruise. No virus on board, unlike the Vic,it stayed that way. The officers and crew took every precaution in a ... Read More
Arcadia,embarked Southampton 05 January; 1900 on board, mostly Brits with 400 Aussies going home on the return leg of a World Cruise. No virus on board, unlike the Vic,it stayed that way. The officers and crew took every precaution in a friendly and persuasive way. Bay of Biscay, into wind Force 11 going to 12, waves 12 metres high. Speed slowed, Due to the weather and possible damage to ship. Captain cancelled first stop Azores, This gave an extra sea day. Onto Barbados, where most passengers just stretched their legs. Then Aruba, crystal blue sea, spent the day on beach with the show's Headliner Dancers Needed to go to the clinic after that! Taxi to beautiful public beach for six people $30 each way. The ship's crew did a big build up on Panama Canal .Loved the experience, in at 0800 hours, out 1700 hours with commentary by Canal Historian. Fair to say no client disappointed. Then Acapulco for the day. Eight Brits took a sight see with a local guide in his people carrier, Saw the Acapulco homes of the famous ( 1940ish stars). Total cost , one third of price for the ship excursions to same places. San Francisco on 24 January and back to Heathrow, upgraded on BA. Belvedere Buffet food okay, but Trevor the Chief Executive Chef, had it laid out like school dinners with hot Brit pudding available every day even in 32C! Always dour, not many smiles in the Chefs Meridian parade. The Meridian restuarant staff were patient, kind and considerate. Headliners Show's were the best we have seen on 12 cruises. Four quizzes every day, plus " The Battle of the Sexes", men versus women at lunch time on sea days. Ladies built a tremendous lead due football being shown at same time. However, the men recovered to win by 203 to 202. This was because the final quiz had questions put forward by the Ladies to the Men and vice versa. Try being aware of the Chief Security Officer's surname and name the food and beverage computer program. Answer Crunch Time. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
A short cruise Auckland to Sydney on " Arcadia " February 2011.We took this short cruise as a very pleasant way to get to Sydney instead of sitting in a metal tube and hanging around airports.Embarkation; at Auckland was ... Read More
A short cruise Auckland to Sydney on " Arcadia " February 2011.We took this short cruise as a very pleasant way to get to Sydney instead of sitting in a metal tube and hanging around airports.Embarkation; at Auckland was OK, but there were 3 cruise ships in port and we embarked via tin shed 10 on Queens Wharf. It was alright for the 150 getting on in Auckland but would have been stretched for too many more.On boarding we were "greeted" by the standard photographer and a girl who asked" do you know where you are going ? " Not exactly the best way to present your ship ! Accommodation; we had booked an Outside but had an upgrade to a DB Balcony; the cabin was really nice and was a decent size. Bathroom was also of a reasonable size although we felt the mini tub was unnecessary and would prefer a shower cubicle. The cabin had an excellent verandah, spacious and furnished with traditional cushioned steamer chairs, ideal for a long cruise. Nice little touches like electric jug and tea/coffee making facilities; air con.was easy and reliable to control. Cabin steward was excellent and nothing too much for him.Public rooms; a mixture of really nice and very ordinary; it didn't seem to have any " flow" with various spaces here and there. DEcor was low key but quite nice but we did think the lack of an atrium as the centre point of most ships was lacking and let down the overall impression. Lovely theatre but back up , The Globe, was miniscule and did nothing for us. So pleased they didn't appear to have the crappy "art auctions" that most other ships have, but a very pleasant art gallery with really original works on display. The ship could really do with a secondary theatre of a decent size for smaller shows .Dining; Main Meridian restaurant appeared quite pleasant on 2 levels and didn't seem to be as noisy as many we have struck. Food here was generally good and a decent choice.The Belvedere Buffet was disappointing; breakfast was your standard English breakfast offerings with little in the way of "extras" to tempt one; and why have the cereals and fruit at the stern end when 80% of passengers enter from the centre of the ship ! Lunch was very poor; a standard choice daily with no attempts at variance; and have you ever seen beverage dispensers with notices "Fruit Juices only available from 6 a.m to 12 noon ?? " It is a big area and plenty of seating, but service was almost non-existent with few attempts to clear and clean tables; could do with a brush up all round ; perhaps the largely British passengers preferred the dining room ?We also tried the alternative venues; Arcadian Rhodes was very nice and the food excellent; but service again almost non- existent, had to ask for wine list, and appalled when staff were clearing tables around us before we had finished, and locking away the liqueur trolley offerings in a cupboard as if to say "let's get out of here ". ( and it was only 9 p.m. ) The Orchid ( up top on deck 11 ) was a different matter; with an Asian influence, excellent staff and altogether an extremely pleasant evening, the 10 GBP cover charge being well worth it. Would go back there in a flash.Drinks policy ; we applaud P&O for what was a lesson to be learned by a lot of other cruise lines; prices everywhere., bars and restaurants were extremely reasonable and one could also purchase spirits to "take away" to your room at duty free prices and drink at your leisure ; so no need to "smuggle" bottles on board like some ships and a policy that should be seriously looked at by other operators; people will always buy ships stock if its properly priced , have a very pleasant experience, and not feel ripped off or under suspicion of having something in your bag you shouldn't have.Entertainment; in our short time on board we came to the conclusion that shows were very good; we had the funniest man on one night and again being interviewed the next afternoon, Tom O'Connor, who had everyone in stitches without a single smutty reference of swear word; well done. Production show on the last sea night was excellent; but the so-called Australian Cultural show on the in-port Sydney night was an embarrassment, and the company should know better. The cruise staff were so-so, seemed to be there because they had to be. We liked the idea of the big main pool up top with the opening roof ( that actually opened ! ) and the slightly smaller one outside on the after deck; and also very much liked the fact that all the outside decks were teak planked and not plastic covered. There was no space in the ship that would accommodate the numbers of people for trivia or bingo that are so popular on "Princess" ships, but once again its horses for courses and probably not the same type of crowd.A small note, full marks to P&O for the daily newsletter "Horizon" ;very professionally produced and knocks spots off the "Princesss Patter "Itinerary; we obviously did not experience the full offering but we did feel that the World Cruise itinerary was sparse to say the least in ports visited., would have wanted more ports to see on the way. It was a pity for the 850 round trippers on board that the weather in Auckland and the 2 days in Sydney was poor but one can't control that. That said, what a superb location the Passenger Terminal has at Circular QuayDisembarkation; we stayed on board overnight in Sydney and disembarked on Sunday morning; a lot of people wanted to get off on Saturday but were not allowed, presumably because it would have needed extra Customs and MAF attendance but did seem rather officious and unnecessary.Overall. A very pleasant experience, and as we said a great way to cross the Tasman; we would use the ship again given the right itinerary and the right price, but like everything in life there were pluses and minuses and all these come into account when making the final choice. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
SHIP we've been on it before and we like it because its very easy to get around. CABIN excellent position on the ship beside the glass lifts on deck 8,no lift noise at all and in the middle of the ship,everything was in easy ... Read More
SHIP we've been on it before and we like it because its very easy to get around. CABIN excellent position on the ship beside the glass lifts on deck 8,no lift noise at all and in the middle of the ship,everything was in easy reach not far to walk from any of the bars in the evening. STAFF no complaints at all they were all very pleasant,SUSET kept us nice and tidy,MARCO---JAY stopped us from starving and had a laugh with us at the same time,CLAYTONE for keeping our glasses full in the Riseing Sun and remembering our names and drinks after the first night. FOOD plenty to eat and variety in both the Meridian and Belvidere,despite the way some people thought there was going to be a food shortage in the Belvidere at times. ENTERTAINMENT shows were good plenty going on in other bars in the evening,usual quizzes and talks through the day Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Having read quite a few poor reviews of Arcadia, we approached her with some misgivings, but an open mind. We were very pleased and surprised with what we found. She has massive open decks on Lido Deck with a lovely Prom Deck that you can ... Read More
Having read quite a few poor reviews of Arcadia, we approached her with some misgivings, but an open mind. We were very pleased and surprised with what we found. She has massive open decks on Lido Deck with a lovely Prom Deck that you can sit on and not be bothered by people jogging or walking. It's wide enough for that. Our cabin was an inside twin in a Queen Config. It wasn't large, but perfectly adequate. Cases all went under the bed. Checkin was simple, we arrived at 1.pm and were on board having lunch at 2.30. That was from driving in. The entertainment on this cruise was truly excellent including the Headliners, Brian Conley etc. Only one very poor comedian spoilt an excellent run, but that didn't matter. Service and food were both excellent. We dined every night in the Meridian and didn't feel it was necessary to try either Arcadian Rhodes or the Orchid. Neither did any of our table for 8. I would definitely sail on Arcadia again. this cruise was truly a delight and the sail down the St Lawrence Seaway is a must, even if it was deja vue for me as I last did in 1969 when I emigrated. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
My wife and I took this cruise with her parents who are both in their late 70s. This would be their first sea cruise but they have done many river cruises before. The Arcadia was first rate. Apart from the occasional dodgy ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise with her parents who are both in their late 70s. This would be their first sea cruise but they have done many river cruises before. The Arcadia was first rate. Apart from the occasional dodgy evening entertainment everything about this ship and her staff was first class. The food was amazing, the service incredible. The cabin maid worked her socks off as did all the cleaning staff. Playing cricket as we crossed the North sea was a pretty unusual experience. The seas were very kind with every day a millpond. We stopped in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg (2 days), Tallinn, Warnemunde and finally Gothenburg. In all the ports except St Petersburg we just made our way into town and looked around. In St Petersburg we used a local tour company for a 'relaxed' private tour. The only port that I would not return to would be Copenhagen, a bit like Birmingham but with less charm! Everywhere else was very pleasant. Tallinn in particular was very charming if a little crowded. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
Check in was swift and painless,we arrived at our balcony cabin along with our luggage.We found the cabin to be spacious and in good order and the balcony to be of a good size.We appreciated being able to bring a bottle of gin and brandy ... Read More
Check in was swift and painless,we arrived at our balcony cabin along with our luggage.We found the cabin to be spacious and in good order and the balcony to be of a good size.We appreciated being able to bring a bottle of gin and brandy onboard for pre dinner drinks and a night cap,although the drinks in the bars and wine in the restaraunt were of British pub prices.Our last cruise was with Royal Carribean,their drinks prices were very expensive. Breakfast was taken in the buffet self service restaraunt,the choice was excellent,no complaints from us.Lunch we tended to take by the pool,and dinner in the Meridian silver service restaraunt.The service and choice here was very good and nice to see guests making an effort adhering to the dress code[unlike RCI] We visited the Palladium theatre to see Bobby Crush and watched a few shows by the theatre company all very enjoyable. My favourite was the British sailaway from Cadiz,great fun,well done entertainment team,everyone was up and going for it. The crows nest was agood venue for drinks after the theatre although my husband quite liked the casino, There were alot of elderly people on board,but i say well done to them for making the effort to go on holiday and dressing up so spledidly. All in all it was a very good experience,the only down side was the weather on the last two sea days,I thought it would have been warmer.We would definately use Arcadia again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and ... Read More
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and tatties, beef hotpots and the like, although the food on board was excellent too - despite the hi-falutin' names given to some of the courses. (Our previous (and first) cruise on Arcadia (J202) in April/May 2012 was not a particularly pleasurable experience for us. However, we are very pleased to report that our initial misgivings of a repeat cruise aboard Arcadia were largely dispelled.) We're both getting on in years. My wife is disabled and 95% confined to a wheelchair so it is always a welcome break for me not to have to shop, cook and look after the household maintenance and fiscal admin and, instead, getting some sea air, visual stimulation and gastronomic pampering a la P&O style. Arcadia was completely free of noro-virus on boarding. It remained so for the whole of the 18-night cruise thanks to the particularly strict hygiene protocols imposed by P&O for the first two days of the cruise and, of course, the compliance of all the passengers and crew. (I 'elbowed' my choice of deck in the lifts etc.) The weather was a good deal better than we expected for December and January even for the Med. We were on the starboard side (that's the right hand side looking towards the sharp-end for you landlubbers.) and we were favoured by being on the sunniest side of the ship especially in port (it really is the luck of the draw between which side of the ship gets the sun when berthed alongside). In Livorno (N Italy) it touched 100F full frontal (but only 90F in the shade) on the balcony of our cabin. Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) touched 94F full frontal the day before. Outbound the Bay of Biscay was a bit choppy but a mill-pond on the return crossing but otherwise never too turbulent elsewhere. Online, I had pre-booked a private taxi tour of Lisbon which turned out to be cheaper and better than any arranged P & O excursions tour. Our charming and helpful mini-skirted driver, Maria, was there waiting for us at the bottom of the gang-way with a freshly-valetted, sparkling car. (This is the second time we have successfully used the 'Net to book a taxi-tour - the last time being Madeira on a previous cruise.) At the ship's side in Livorno we joined 4 other passengers on an ad hoc 3-hour mini-bus tour to Pisa for Euros 20 each. It was well worth it. Even the cups of cafe latte and cappuccino we had in a cafe were no more than one would expect to pay in Starbucks back home or even in the Cafe Vivo on board ship - with a direct view of the Leaning Tower thrown in for free! Our favourite port-of-call was Barcelona - we both loved the relaxed atmosphere of the warm and sunny Ramblas and surrounding areas with visitors of all ages just strolling about, care-free. Everywhere was neat and well-kempt with easy wheelchair access. Our least favourite port visit was Gibraltar where the shuttle-bus driver was very curt, rude and most unwelcoming. So much so that we returned to the ship rather than go shopping and spend our money for Gibraltar's economic benefit. (It just so happened our side of the ship gave us an awesome view of The Rock itself .... and to make us feel at-home, a Morrison's grocery store directly opposite to us!) We were told afterwards that the driver was probably a Spaniard from Algeciras. Cunard's Queen Elizabeth was also berthed alongside so there was a total of 4,000+ passengers and up to 1,600 crew let loose on Gibraltar .... we were afterwards told it was jam-packed and not easy-going for wheel-chairs. The ever-attentive, cheerful, friendly, mostly Indian waiters and cabin stewards are a significant part of the P & O brand of cruising - we only hope that P & O never lose sight of this fact. They are not excessively subservient nowadays and will engage in friendly repartee when given half the chance. Be stuffy with them and they'll be stuffy with you. We thanked our cabin steward for some little deed he had done for us - he replied, with a broad appreciative grin that it was his duty! Try and find that attitude in the UK - if you can! We cannot comment on the entertainment provided on board as we didn't partake of any part of it. Being on 2nd sitting for dinner - complete with a G & T before, a large glass of wine during, and usually a large Courvoisier to accompany coffee ... we were only too happy to return to our cabin, get comfortable in pyjamas and dressing gown and relax, even sit on the balcony looking up at the stars, perchance to dream. We feel we have to comment about some of the moaning minnies and maurices we encountered on board. It may be the downside of Arcadia being an Adults-only ship(?). Some were uncomfortable with us joining their lift and looked down their noses at my wife in her wheelchair almost as if being unable to walk might be catching! (Beware the mirrors in the lifts that catch all the expressions of all the occupants from all angles!). We encountered some older passengers who languidly strolled the corridors without a thought for any others. There were times when they'd just stop dead to look at something (like a photograph in The Gallery or a ship in a glass display case.) and who'd get an unexpected surprise of some part of a wheelchair gently but firmly reminding them that they could be more aware of who and what may be just behind them. I just cannot stop the momentum of a wheelchair as quickly as they can stop! We encountered an elderly trio (who we came to refer to as the Gruesome Threesome) who, within minutes of our asking to join their table in the crowded Piano Bar for a pre-prandial drink, who then spotted an just-vacated table nearby and quite abruptly moved to it, without a by-your-leave. It was then we noticed that they didn't have any drinks to move ... so they were maybe rabidly tee-total. The Temperance Three? But how UNfriendly and intolerant can you get? There was one memorable breakfasting old dear who complained at length that the knife provided for buttering her toast was rather too heavy for her! We guessed that she just had to find something to moan about. (And that was at the very start of her day!). Where's all that indomitable spirit that's often said about the older generation? And my goodness! Some of those apparently frail little old dears can seriously pack the food away. 'Full English' breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and 6-course dinners ....... their plates were cleared. Maybe they complained about the food because they couldn't get enough of it? Any way - to round off and despite some of the foregoing, this Christmas and New Year cruise was most enjoyable and memorable for us. (We are both determined to spend our money rather than allow our savings interest be taxed to contribute to the free provision of a 4/5 bed-roomed detached house in a desirable area of London for the likes of Hook Hamza and his family. So, to this end, our next cruise is already booked for April/May 2013 on board Adonia (the smallest of the seven P & O ships accommodating only 710 passengers instead of the Arcadia's 2000+). The cruise is to the central Med this time. Because it is a smaller ship it can get into the smaller ports that cannot accommodate the bigger ships like Arcadia. The cruise dates cover both our birthdays (don't ask!) and visits eight ports amongst which are Cartagena in Spain, Sarande in Albania (should be very interesting?), Kotor in Montenegro, Rijeka in Croatia, and our very favourite destination city of Venice .... for the second time.) It hardly seems worth unpacking from our last cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We have sailed on the Arcadia twice before (2005 and 2007) so I was looking forward to voyaging on this lovely, child-free ship again. Last January we went on the Ventura and I thought it showed a distinct drop in standards from the ... Read More
We have sailed on the Arcadia twice before (2005 and 2007) so I was looking forward to voyaging on this lovely, child-free ship again. Last January we went on the Ventura and I thought it showed a distinct drop in standards from the P&O cruises we have been used to, but thankfully this was not the case with Arcadia, which is as excellent as ever. After our 6-hour train ride from the North-East down to Southampton we were off to a bad start with the worst embarkation we have ever experienced in 31 cruises. We had to stand and queue for an hour and a half; no seating was provided (apart from plastic chairs placed there for those less able to stand) and no refreshments were available. Instead of the usual "called to board by deck number" it was simply a free for all; we learned later that some people queued for over 2 hours. Not a good first impression for those cruising with P&O for the first time. However, that was our only grumble as the rest of the cruise was excellent. Our balcony cabin, on Deck 6, was spacious, bright, clean and comfortable and was kept immaculate by Grenville, our cabin steward. We had opted to dine on 1st sitting and we shared our table (187) with three other very pleasant couples. The selection and quality of the food was exceptional with decent portion sizes and very quick, efficient service. There was also an extensive range of wines at very reasonable prices.The self-service buffet on deck 9 (Belvedere Buffet) tended to be a bit repetitive in its selection of dishes, but nonetheless the food was tasty and plentiful. As we were at sea for 12 days out of the 18, there was a wide range of daytime activities from craft classes, to dancing, to joining a choir or going to presentations and lectures; this in addition to the usual deck activities such as quoits, shuffle-board or the use of the golf and cricket nets. Evening entertainment tended to be a hit-or-miss affair; the guest performers were very good (a classical soprano, a male singer, a comedy magician, the Macdonald Brothers from X-factor and, on one night only, comedian Tom O'Connor) but the ship's own singers/dancers (Headliners Theatre Company) just put on the same old, same old music theatre excerpts. You know the ones I mean "Guys and Dolls", "West Side Story", "Singing in the Rain" with the cheesy songs and dances. We used to like to go to the Rising Sun pub every evening after the show, where we could take part in the themed quizzes, do a bit of karaoke or just relax and listed to one of the resident bands. The bar waiters were quick, polite and friendly and bar prices were just the same as those you'd find in a typical British pub. Our ports of call were: Tenerife, Recife (Brazil), Salvador de Bahia (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and disembarking the ship at Montevideo (Uruguay) and getting the ferry across the River Plate to spend a night in Buenos Aires (Argentina). For some people, Rio was the port they were most looking forward to visiting, but when we arrived the cloud was low and you couldn't see the top of Corcovado peak and Christ the Redeemer, although Sugar Loaf Mountain was visible. Luckily we've been to Rio before (for 3 days, in 2001) but it would have been disappointing for first time visitors not to be able to view the main sights. Can't help the weather though. We crossed three major lines of latitude: Tropic of Cancer, Equator and Tropic of Capricorn, and the Arcadia's entertainment team put on a hilarious Line Crossing Ceremony. All in all, we had a fantastic cruise and it was great to be back on board Arcadia again. The ports of call were a bit different (maybe not to everyone's taste) and we met interesting people in unusual places, while clocking over 6,300 nautical miles. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Having cruised for over 25 years, several with P& O, we returned from this Christmas/New Year cruise exceedingly disappointed with the level that standards had dropped to. The hygiene levels were very poor indeed. We lost count of the ... Read More
Having cruised for over 25 years, several with P& O, we returned from this Christmas/New Year cruise exceedingly disappointed with the level that standards had dropped to. The hygiene levels were very poor indeed. We lost count of the number of times we had to ask for the tables to be wiped down in the Belvedere Restaurant (Buffet), because of food or drink spills still on the tables. Toilets were repeatedly out of order - on 1 day we visited 6 sets of toilets between promenade deck and the pool deck before we found any working. Some individual toilets never worked for the entire cruise. At other times it was wash basins or hand driers not working - the knock on effect being empty paper towel holders. Other than in the Meridian restaurant there was no effort made by staff to encourage people to use the hand gels. There were also some very strange, garbage type, smells in several places on the ship. One of the days returning from the Caribbean, the water in the Neptune Pool continued to overflow for several hours. This made this important main area impossible to use - water was swimming around the tables and chairs, normally used for eating, reading, playing cards or having a coffee. A very dangerous situation for some of the less mobile passengers. The water travelled as far as the lift areas and upto the Belvedere restaurant. The carpets took days to dry out. Why did it take so long to make the decision to empty the pool? - Bad management!!!! The entertainment listed in the Horizon seemed to be mainly seminars by spa and gym staff - very little else. This seemed to prove our opinion of the ship being very understaffed. It is no wonder so many people on the ship were ill with chest infections, including us. First time we have ever been ill on a cruise. We are in agreement with many that we spoke to on the ship, we will not be cruising with P& O again. We will be returning to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, who still care about the passengers   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We embarked from Southampton on the Arcadia. It's a great ship - not huge and also no children - although as a result probably an "army" of disability scooters - not really a big problem. Arcadia has recently been refitted - ... Read More
We embarked from Southampton on the Arcadia. It's a great ship - not huge and also no children - although as a result probably an "army" of disability scooters - not really a big problem. Arcadia has recently been refitted - and mostly the ship seemed in very good order. The wooden balcony rails need re-varnishing but other than that all pretty good. The cruise itself was excellent -the ports of call: Zeebrugge, Gdynia /Gdansk, Klaepida, St.Petersburg, Tallinn, Copenhagen. A very good mixed bag with of course the Jewel in the Crown being St. Petersburg (2 full days in port). We used P&O for the tours in Gdynia /Gdansk and Tallinn - both well organised. The Tallinn one was rather short but as my wife is mobility impaired it was termed a "simple" tour - which it was. Also, I would say Tallinn is overrun by cruise-ships and there's very little peace and quiet from the souvenir shops and stalls in the small and quaint old-town. St. Petersburg was brilliant. We had arranged tours ourselves through Allah Tours - a local Russian company. They were superb - no worries about Visas or anything the organisation and the programme for the 2 days was 5-Star including cooked lunches in local restaurants. The ship's progress apart from one short period after Tallinn was marked by superb weather and millpond conditions. Even when the weather was stormy for a few hours only, there was minimal discomfort to passengers. Staff on PO&O are very customer-service focused and we had a superb Butler, and Cabin Stewardess who were well up to standard. Dining in the main Restaurant was good - the menu choices left a little to be desired - I felt maybe P&O were cutting some corners to save cost here. The Head Waiter and Table Waitiers were all excellent and bent over backwards to satisfy my wife's vegetarian needs. The wine-waiter was attentive and well-briefed and provided great personal service. Entertainment. The shows by the Headliners in the Palladium Theatre were excellent, although the staging with far too numerous and disturbing lighting effects (flashing lights, strobes and pyrotechnics) were well over the top and purely for showing off the expensive equipment - they added nothing to the singing and dancing on stage - and in fact detracted from the overall enjoyment (other cruisers agreed). We enjoyed 5 lectures by Pete Finlay on Concorde with a lot of good background information well-researched, humerous and interesting. As usual an overkill of activities by the hard-working Entertainments Director and her staff kept us fully if not over-occupied. One last point. Our Suite on D deck was perfect. Well-equipped and large enough to relax inside and out on our large balcony recliners and armchairs. The daily cleaning and servicing was 5 star, although I must point out the dust on the outside of the ventilator in the bathroom should be cleaned and sanitised every day to prevent germs spreading...P&O should know this. We will be back on P&O and may try a newer ship next time. All in all a great experience..... Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
P&O cost cutting is becoming more and more evident. Our cruise to Iceland in perfect cruising weather and unbelievably calm seas barely averaged a speed of 12kts. We cruised all the way back at 11 kts until we slowed to 9 kts for a ... Read More
P&O cost cutting is becoming more and more evident. Our cruise to Iceland in perfect cruising weather and unbelievably calm seas barely averaged a speed of 12kts. We cruised all the way back at 11 kts until we slowed to 9 kts for a while. Eventually did 12.6 kts when in the channel but I didn't look after that. There were other cost cutting measures too, only one speaker who spoke every sea day ( 6 out of 11 ) on the same old subject - Concorde. Daytime entertainment boring, too many badly disguised sales pitches. On sea days when there is no prospect of warmth and sunshine P&O must simply do better and provide some variety. Evening entertainment varied from brilliant (comedian) to dire (pick your own) Headliners were a new troupe but did improve Neverther less a good way to see Iceland we enjoyed seeing it but won't be going back Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Well here's a true review of our time aboard the beautiful,elegant Arcadia. Thanks to all the many negative reviews posted previously,you led us to expect the worst,but what we did get was an amazing cruise holiday. From the ... Read More
Well here's a true review of our time aboard the beautiful,elegant Arcadia. Thanks to all the many negative reviews posted previously,you led us to expect the worst,but what we did get was an amazing cruise holiday. From the embarkation,which was professional ,speedy, considering P&O had three ships sailing all at the same time,with the lovely Arcadia in the lead! ...Was really something to behold.What a photo opportunity that was!! .....Our balcony cabin was great,everything we needed,spotlessly clean,only two flights of stairs above most of the amenities.....We were given club dining ,2nd sitting on a table for 6,we were bit apprehensive at first ,dining with strangers,but we need not have worried ,we met the most charming couple,whom we still keep in touch with,it only enriched our holiday even further,so don,t worry ,if it's not a table for 2 .you're given (we saw most of them around us),trust me .WE were the ones enjoying ourselves..... As for the Ship being described as a 'floating nursing home',well all to be said about that is ,how mean spirited of you all . Even wheelchair bound,they were a joy,full of mischief and fun. Inspirational..........Average age on this cruise was 62(going on 22) Loved it! As for the itinerary,well if you get the chance to visit St Petersburg,you wont be disappointed,a wonder to behold ,all those treasures,not to be missed. Take the early morning tours,we did,it was almost empty,so we could have the palaces to ourselves,it gets manic,the later you go..........Stockholm,Helsinki,Copenhagen,all beautiful cities,but very expensive.Skagen & Warnemunde,very pretty.....We highly recommend lovely Arcadia!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Meridian Dining Room We thought the dining room was very noisy, the noise might be made worse because of the large open area in the floor between the upper and lower levels The Grill Excellent food and staff, and a very relaxing ... Read More
Meridian Dining Room We thought the dining room was very noisy, the noise might be made worse because of the large open area in the floor between the upper and lower levels The Grill Excellent food and staff, and a very relaxing atmosphere East We thought the lighting was a little bright but the food and staff were excellent Shore Excursions Most of the excursions went smoothly apart from Oslo; we had pre-booked and paid for two excursions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. At the time of booking there was two hours between the return of the first excursion and the start of the second. We boarded the ship our tickets had been already delivered to our cabin, we immediately noticed the timing of the Oslo excursions had changed; the second excursion was now starting well before the return time of the first. When we queried this with the shore excursions team we were informed that it was Christmas Eve and everything would close early so the timings had been changed. Perhaps when the excursions were organised Christmas Eve should have been taken into consideration; however we did receive a full refund for the second excursion very quickly Cabin B171 Is located at the back of the ship in a quiet position with a very spacious balcony, was very clean and well maintained However one night there was a problem with the plumbing, just as we were going to dinner we noticed that the toilet would not flush so we reported the problem, we were informed that there was problem with the entire rear section of the deck as a pipe had become disconnected and they were working on it. Just after Midnight we returned to our cabin, went in the bathroom and were greeted with an appalling smell, the toilet was overflowing with sewerage; it had been flowing across the floor and going down the floor drain. I immediately pressed the flush, the toilet bowl emptied and the problem stopped. We phoned Housekeeping; they sent two members of their team to sanitise the bathroom. The next day we went down to the Reception and spoke with the Head of Housekeeping and asked him why nobody went round the affected cabins to check if there had been any blow-back problems? We were informed that because the incident happened at night they did not check the cabins because it would disturb the guests. We thought this was a very poorly conceived and flawed policy Conclusion A very likeable and friendly ship   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
You only get one chance for a first impression. If that is bad, forget everything else! Mistakenly, we thought that P&O had 'grown out of' their appalling embarkation shambles at Southampton by now (We are are in 2015). But ... Read More
You only get one chance for a first impression. If that is bad, forget everything else! Mistakenly, we thought that P&O had 'grown out of' their appalling embarkation shambles at Southampton by now (We are are in 2015). But no, we were made to stand in line for anything up to two hours and the cafe was shut. Cunard, who use these same terminals, seat you comfortably with an open cafe and call you by initial.. How are P&O going to cope with twice the number of passengers when their new Britannia enters service this spring? AD ASTRA? Having survived the above, we were delighted to find the 10yr-old Arcadia, probably the most elegant of the Fincantieri-built Vista Class (Panamax) ships, to be in excellent fettle. Her late-2013 refit had brought, inter alia, new carpets and colour schemes throughout. The mainly-Indian crew were cheerful and efficient and she remains a happy ship. For the first time, we tried 'Freedom Dining' and, while there were the expected 'pinch points', when everyone turned up at once, we found this arrangement more preferable than the fixed scheme. While you paid a small premium for the Gourmet restaurants of East and the Ocean Grill, there was a fee bottle of wine if you ate early. The food throughout was good. The daily 'Horizon' programme gave you plenty of options for the following day, including the dress code for that night's evening, which we thought about right. There were helpful introductory talks about our ports- of-call and guest speakers on other topics. I took lessons in Spanish and my wife was able to polish up her Bridge. Whilst WIFI was available throughout the ship, it is still far too expensive. The librarians who monitored it, however, were courteous, knowledgeable and efficient. The saunas were unreliable and the temperature of the water in the Neptune Pool was very variable. We like the sliding roof. Our fellow passengers, apparently with an average age of 67 years, were mainly obese Brits and Australians, some with tattoos and a few in wheelchairs. Although many were coughing, unstifled, we escaped the dreaded 'Arcadia Cough'. Above all, Arcadia was commanded by the excellent Coventry born-and-bred Caprtain Aseem Hashmi, who made it his business to see and be seen throughout the ship. the crew's discipline was excellent. We look forward to our next opportunity to sail in this ship once more, but only when the outrageous embarkation arrangements at Southampton have been sorted out. In total contrast, the new Pier 27 Terminal in Francisco was superb, and disembarkation there was as easy as ever. Moored there, on the sunny and fog-free morning we arrived, we had a view of the Golden Gate Bridge on the Starboard side of the ship, with the Bay Bridge on the Port side. Wonderful! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
What a cheap company. Never ever again a P&O cruise. None tasting food. Cheap entertainment. Dirty ship on all public spaces. Looked like the ship was 25 years old. Terrible design on many places. Many officers, especially English, ... Read More
What a cheap company. Never ever again a P&O cruise. None tasting food. Cheap entertainment. Dirty ship on all public spaces. Looked like the ship was 25 years old. Terrible design on many places. Many officers, especially English, don't know how to behave in front of passanger. Without passangers they wouldn't had any jobs. Very disapponting with behavior like that. A world cruise on 106 days and coffe morning with the captain and they serve bisquits you can buy in tesco. Not even a baked cake. Second captain didn't even bother to show up. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This cruise was a 20 day leg of a world cruise, from Hong Kong to Dubai and was our third cruise on Arcadia, sixth with P & O. The boarding process in Hong Kong was efficient and went very smoothly. One unfortunate aspect of this ... Read More
This cruise was a 20 day leg of a world cruise, from Hong Kong to Dubai and was our third cruise on Arcadia, sixth with P & O. The boarding process in Hong Kong was efficient and went very smoothly. One unfortunate aspect of this cruise was the itinerary change; we had booked this cruise because we liked the itinerary and although we had already been to most of the ports before we had not been to Muscat so were looking forward to going there, but instead of going to Muscat we went to Abu Dhabi. If we had known about the itinerary change at the time of booking we would not have booked a post cruise Dubai hotel, but we were stuck with it because we had none changeable air tickets. Acadia still went to Muscat but this was now on the next leg of the cruise after we had disembarked. P & O stated that the itinerary change was upon advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office regarding civil unrest in Egypt, so they cancelled visits to the ports of Safaga and Sokhna. Arcadia was due to visit these ports on the next leg of the world cruise, not the leg we were on, so we feel that P & O should have left the itinerary on the leg we were on unchanged!!! Internet research appeared to show that other cruise lines were still sailing to Safaga and Sokhna. Meridian Restaurant Owing to the noise level and rushed service in the Meridian restaurant we tended to have diner in the Ocean Grill. The Meridian is quiet at lunch times, but the food was not very good. Ocean Grill The Ocean is an oasis of excellent food and service, well worth paying the supplement to dine there. However it is possible that things might go downhill because an early dinner’s offer of a free bottle of wine. This has placed the excellent and very hard working maître d' and wait staff under great pressure and it is near impossible for the tiny galley to keep up with the all the orders. We hope this ill-conceived policy does not reduce the Ocean Grill's standard of service down to the rushed, bang it down service of the Meridian Restaurant. Wine Package P & O offer a wine discount package, however you cannot purchase a package in the Ocean Grill only the other restaurants or by telephoning the Wine Line. So I telephoned the Wine Line, the gentleman I spoke with informed me of the details and said they should have been a leaflet in the cabin, he confirmed that although a Wine Package could only be purchased in the main restaurants and bars it could be used in the Ocean Grill and East. As there was no leaflet in our cabin I asked if I could have one, and was told to telephone Room Service as they would deliver one to the cabin straight away. I telephoned Room Service, the lady I spoke with said that they did not have the leaflets but would get one from a bar and bring it to the cabin, it never arrived, so I went down to a bar and collected one myself. The Belvedere The food was not up to the standard of the equivalent Restaurant on Princess Cruises. Formal Nights According to the printed information we received when boarding there were going to be 5 formal nights on the 20 night cruise, however this information proved to be incorrect as P & O changed this to 4. We thought this was still too many as it was very hot. P & O might like to consider scraping formal nights and imposing a sensible dress code similar to Oceania Cruises smart casual? Shore Excursions The excursions ran fairly well, a few arrived back at the ship later than the scheduled times, I thought the coaches were a little overcrowded, although there were always enough seats, but very few spare. Immigration All immigration formalities went well with the exception of India. It appears that Indian Immigration Officers should have boarded Acadia in Malaya to process the passengers and crew during the transit between Malaya and India. However they failed to board in Malaya, and only boarded after the ship arrived in India. The passengers had to queue up the entire length of the ship and halfway back again. We were fifty minutes in the queue, ship's crew were going along the queue with cups of water and asking if anyone was feeling faint? This ridiculous immigration process meant that some of the shore excursions left an hour late. Considering the Indian Government charge a high fee in advance for visas, which are compulsory if you are going ashore or not, it was a very poor show. It is very unlikely we would ever book another cruise which included a port in India. Reception All the reception staff were welcoming and excellent at their jobs, well done the reception. Leaks At times when walking around the ship we noticed various buckets placed to catch water dripping out of the ceilings. We didn't know if the dripping water was because of plumbing leaks or air conditioning problems. One of the public area toilets was out of action for days whist the crew was trying to dry it out with a large blower unit. Laundry We used the laundry service 4 times, 3 times the laundry came back in the stated service time and once it was a day late. They charge extra for dress shirts, but they do not do a good job, very poorly ironed. Self-Service Launderette There are not enough self-service laundrettes, they are free of charge but are badly designed with only three machines in each and nowhere to sit. There were several arguments between passengers in the laundrettes, regarding taking other people's washing out of the machines. Acadia Cough We were on Acadia at Christmas, at that time a lot of passengers had what they were calling the 'Acadia Cough', in March and April the 'Acadia Cough' was still prevalent. Cabin B136 This cabin is located in a fairly quiet position Port side aft. It is located opposite a store cupboard but that was not bothersome, however just down the passageway there is crew staircase and it might be this that causes an occasional smell of cooking in the early mornings and evenings. Some of the cabin wall coverings have been patched (rather badly). The bathroom backs onto the bathroom of B134 and appeared to be better insulated for noise than the average cruise ship bathroom. The shower is over the bath, the shower attachment was rather worn and looked like it should have been replaced. One possible problem is noise from B140, the party wall between the cabins is rather poorly insulated for noise. Conclusion The ship is looking a little tired in places, but overall is not looking too bad. However I do believe that P & O are cutting corners to save a pound or two and overall things were not as good as they used to be. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
We were aware of some of the negative feedback about Arcadia before we set sail; however, we decided to be open minded about everything. It's fair to say, there will always be parts of a cruise that could have gone better, but for us, ... Read More
We were aware of some of the negative feedback about Arcadia before we set sail; however, we decided to be open minded about everything. It's fair to say, there will always be parts of a cruise that could have gone better, but for us, the 17 day Eastern Med cruise went without a hitch. Arcadia was spotlessly clean, with attentive and helpful staff wherever we went on board. The passenger areas are vast on this ship, and we were never aware there were around 2000 people on board. There are an array of quiet lounges, coffee bars etc, together with an excellent choice of food served in the Meridian and Belvedere Restaurants. The evening shows in the Palladium Theatre were both varied and of a very high standard, with the Arcadia cast really giving their all at each performance. Our overall impression of Arcadia is that she is a lovely ship with great facilities, but lacks any 'wow' factor compared to other cruise ships which is shame. All ports of call were excellent and bar Gibraltar, we had enough time to see everything we wanted to. When we booked this cruise, the itinerary said that departure from Gibraltar was early afternoon, where in reality, we were told to be back on board for mid-day! I know P&O will say that it reserves the right to change the times, but we really did not have anywhere near enough time. The ship left late anyway owing to the numbers of passengers queuing to rejoin the ship. A few things we would mention. P&O need to be mindful of trying to extract every last pound out of their passengers. We seem to be besieged by the ship's photographers wherever we went, whether disembarking at the ports, at sail-a-way parties or at dinner. That's OK to a point, but it did become a little annoying at times! The photographs then appeared in the gallery at £11.80 each. A member of staff told me that around 60% are not sold and are destroyed. Perhaps if they were priced more sensibly, sales would increase and it might reduce wastage at the same time! We felt the biggest rip-off of all was a 'behind the scenes' tour, which was advertised in the Horizon paper. As this was something that really appealed to us, I rang reception only to be told the tour was priced at £75 per person! Come on P&O, can't you at least give something back to your loyal customers, rather than view them as cash-cows! We sailed with Celebrity a couple of years ago where such a tour was complimentary, and we didn't pay a dollar to be on the bridge for half an hour with the Captain! Shame on you! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
This was the first time we have travelled with P & O and,regrettably, it will be the last. We booked this cruise because it had the itinerary at the time of year that we wanted, not because of the ship. Reading the reviews (after ... Read More
This was the first time we have travelled with P & O and,regrettably, it will be the last. We booked this cruise because it had the itinerary at the time of year that we wanted, not because of the ship. Reading the reviews (after booking!), I was unsure of the experience and, sad to say, it met my worse expectations. Carnival have different brands and the P&O experience is at the bottom. I fully agree with previous comments regarding the bland, boring quality of the food in the Belvedere - the "international" area of the buffet is a daily serving of curry with the rest of the choices being just uninspiring. Who decided to locate the bar in the cold pool area so that the wine waiters had to wear outside jackets whilst serving at table? P&O know their customers well and the whole boat couldn't be more British in terms of food and entertainment. There is a token gesture towards "enrichment" on 'at sea days' or you can play Bingo, have a pub quiz or karaoke. If you are really desperate how about attending the special lectures designed to sell you their services and products? The average age of passengers was well over 60 but you could still play cricket and tennis on the cold deck in the middle of the Baltic! Cruising is a business and Carnival seem to have thought about every way of getting money out of you. By the way you have to ask for a statement (none is provided) otherwise you receive an invoice on the morning of departure. If there's a problem, with time constraints, there may be no time to argue. I'm not suggesting that this practice is, in any way, intentional but if, nobody has much time to query any mistakes, the system could well work in the Company's favour. The ship is getting tired. The public areas have had a facelift but the staterooms are showing their age. Ours had wedges in the gaps between the balcony doors and the frame. When the ship rolls certain areas creak. No doubt if you are a first time cruiser or have simple tastes, the experience is wonderful. If you have cruised on other lines you know better. It really is a case of "you get what you pay for" and I must agree with the majority of poor reviews. Oh and the cough is still there but it seems to take about 10 days to become noticeable and the toilet mentioned in other reviews is still a problem. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
I have read numerous reviews of of two P&O cruise ships (Oriana & Arcadia) that I have recently sailed on in the past 6 months and my experiences have differed considerably from the negative reviews that I have read. In posting ... Read More
I have read numerous reviews of of two P&O cruise ships (Oriana & Arcadia) that I have recently sailed on in the past 6 months and my experiences have differed considerably from the negative reviews that I have read. In posting this review I want to be objective in what Arcadia as a ship offered and what the holiday experience was, relative to the positive and negative aspect of the ship. The cruise was 14 nights to the Baltic region with a 2 day stopover in St Petersburg, Russia. Embarkation. We were requested to arrive at 14:00 hours and we were 30 minutes early. We arrived by car with a pre-booked valet parking facility. On arrival our luggage was speedily collected for transfer to the ship. The embarkation procedure was efficient and we were on board with 45 minutes. We proceeded direct to our cabin, met our steward (by chance) in the corridor who escorted us to our cabin. To our surprise, all our luggage had arrived and was already in the cabin. (that was a first for us). Muster and lifeboat drill At about 3:30pm we heard via the public address (in the cabin) that we were to assemble at our designated muster station with life jackets at 4:00pm for the mandatory lifeboat drill. Our muster station was deck 2 of the Meridian restaurant. We attended as requested and all went well. It was whilst we were departing the restaurant to return to our cabin, that we experienced a bottleneck vacating the restaurant at the stairwell. On Arcadia, the stairs are considerably narrower than on Oriana or Aurora, in fact about half the width. I thought that this was a negative feature at a time when everybody would be trying to leave a muster station to climb a deck up to the lifeboats. Captains Gala Evening Captain Trevor Lane, the current Master of Arcadia is clearly a well respected Captain and a motivator of his crew. His address at the Captains Gala evening was the best I have witnessed. Not only introducing himself but getting all his senior officers up in front of the passengers…in fact I wondered who was left on the bridge driving the ship. His ship-wide broadcasts when leaving port always ended with the comment, “sit back, relax and let my wonderful crew look after you.” For the most part, wonderful they were. Dining We opted for fixed (Club) dining and requested a table of 8 second sitting. We had great companions as in previous cruises. The food in Arcadia’s Meridian dining room (lower level) was generally OK, we had two issues when it was served tepid, but that was not the norm. Service was generally efficient, the waiters were friendly and responsive to our requests. There was one occasion when my wife and I ordered a steak and it was very tough to cut and chew. We addressed the problem with the waiter who immediately offered to replace them, but as our fellow diners were completing their main course, we declined and said that the waiter should report it to his supervisor..he did and the manager spoke to us later with an apology. The menus read very well, by that, I mean they look delicious, however, what is served on the plate does not always correspond to the mental visualisation of what I just ordered. The waiters are very good, but as they no longer offer silver service, meals are plated in the galley and the main course is quite meagre portions. For example sirloin of beef consisted of 2 thin slices of beef and a single roast potato, and a few greens. One fellow diner, grouped his food to one side of the plate…big plate - small food. Fine dining it is not! Each evening meal is a five course offering...if you want it! In our group of eight, rarely did everyone order all the courses. Take all five courses and then ask why are you complaining of meagre portions? Certainly on our table, diners wanted more vegetables. Desserts were very good and well presented…for those who wanted them. When the ship was cruising (about 20knots), there was a considerable noisy vibration from the propulsion “azipod” units (propellors), unfortunately right under our dining table. It was not so bad if the ships speed reduced to about 15 knots. In all cruise ships that I have sailed on, I have found that the self service cafeteria, (Conservatory, Belvedere etc ) will divide passengers opinions. At peak times they are all busy, its usually difficult to find a seat, the menu tends to be repetitive and food under the warming lights quickly becomes dried and crusty. It is however, quick, convenient and usually means there is no dress code. It’s also usually available outside the operating hours of the main restaurants. Fellow passengers are usually my personal focus of complaint. On Arcadia it was no different to our experiences on Aurora or Oriana. Special premium dining On Arcadia there are two premium dining restaurants , the "Ocean Grill" (Pierre Marco White) and “East" (Atul Kochher). We tried both. The Ocean Grill was very good, a £15 per person supplement, my wife and I dined there during our overnight stop in St Petersburg. Several tables were occupied by the ships officers, (must be good then?). The food was delicious the service initially a little slow, but nevertheless we did not feel rushed and we were very content. The East restaurant was a different experience. All 8 diners on our normal table in the Meridian restaurant collectively agreed to try the East restaurant, this was towards the end of the cruise, we had enjoyed each others company and lets all go Asian cuisine. A table was reserved for 8:30pm the following evening. The service was slow, resulting in main courses being plated and served, then accompanying side dishes (noodles, vegetables) etc followed later, they were mostly cold, We all Complained, sent them back, wait another 10/15 minutes, side dishes arrive, main course now consumed or cold. One fellow diner offered to stand a couple of bottles of wine for us all. They were placed in ice buckets away from our table, we had to ask twice for the wine waiter to bring wine to our table and charge our glasses. (our normal wine waiter in the Meridian restaurant would automatically keep the glasses topped up…without prompting!). Finally when the meal was cleared two of the ladies asked for tea, It arrived cold, one in a badly chipped cup. This was the final straw, one member of our table called for the manager, and complained stating that the experience was not worth the £15 per head supplement. The manager (an officer by rank) disappeared for around 30 minutes before returning to state that £15 per couple (£7.50 per head) would be deducted. "OK, can we have a complaint form please?" We finally left at around 11:15pm from a table reservation of initially 8:30pm. The following day a telephone message was left in our cabin from the Catering manager, apologising for the experience. Had we all dined as individual couples, would we have experienced the same poor service? Probably not, because no one else in the restaurant that evening appeared to have a problem. Were we a difficult group? No, just 8 diners that the team serving us for some reason could not service. Entertainment Arcadia has a superb theatre, spread over three decks, with an upper and lower level, it contains a hi tech stage and lighting system that would rival the best London West End theatres. The Headliners entertainers were very professional and slick in their performances. Individual performers also entertained in the form of musicians, comedians and instrumentalists. There were no problems in getting seats to view the performances. We did not use the “Globe” lounge, which on one evening when making our way to the theatre, passing the Globe lounge, we noticed very few passengers seated and a soloist merrily singing to an empty dance floor. It was still the same when we returned an hour later. There was one guest speaker who gave several “enrichment" presentations centred around the Titanic disaster and the RNLI Lifeboat organisation (odd subject for a cruise ship!), however, he was well received and his presentations well attended. General Ship layout Arcadia is larger than Aurora or Oriana (we have sailed twice on each ship), but Arcadia's interior is a fairly bland layout, apart from the theatre there is no “wow” factor. The atrium is functional and quite boring. The Crows Nest was recently refitted and is contemporary but there is a visual design flaw with the forward facing windows. When you are seated in the forward section, there is a thick aluminium frame that corresponds with the horizon, which means you cannot see the horizon and thus the panoramic vista. There were never any problems in finding a seat to enjoy a drink or coffee in any of the lounges on the ship. There were several buckets and “hazard warning cones” positioned along a main thoroughfare on deck 3 to capture water dripping from the ceiling, this corresponded to the temporary closure of the ships cinema (The Screening Room) due to flooding. Clearly a plumbing problem, necessitating shut down of the cabin water supply from midnight to 4:00am on one night to effect repairs. Other than those minor issues, the ship was clean throughout. None of the plumbing issues caused us any inconvenience, nor did it spoil or have any impact on our vacation. Its amazing to me to read how such routine issues result in some reviewers, condemning ship, crew and cruise line, with a “we’ll never sail again” comment. Spa My wife used the Spa facilities on a couple of occasions and was complimentary about the girls and the service. I noted though, that its one place on the ship were it is easy to run up a bill quickly. However, far be it for me to complain, the Memsahib was very satisfied. Ports itinerary This was a very enjoyable cruise from the ports itinerary, the highlight for us being St Petersburg and Tallin. The cruise combined a good mix of “at sea” days and port days. The approach through the archipelago into Stockholm was a fabulous sight. It necessitated an early alarm setting, about 05:30 am, but the sun was shining, the sea flat calm as the Captain and pilot slowly manoeuvred the 83,000 tonne ship through channels very close to the myriad of islands to gain access to Stockholm port. Great photo opportunities - I took more than 200 shots. Summary. The Baltic cruise weather was largely windy with some sunny days , a few wet ones and general daytime temperatures were in the 10C (50F) to 18C (65F) range. Sea state moderate but Force 5 to 7 winds ruled out using the balcony. Arcadia is a sleek looking ship, with a full walk round promenade deck, we did not use all the facilities, such as Casino, Pub, card room, but we did enjoy our cruise. the dining is not “fine dining” but generally the food was good. The majority of our meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner was taken in the Meridian restaurant. We prefer to dine with the fixed arrangement. Apart from the incident in the East restaurant we found all the ships crew to be very friendly and efficient. This one incident would not prevent us from sailing again with P&O, (in fact we already have another cruise with P&O booked for next year on Oceana), we put it down to “one of those things”. The ships itinerary was more important to us and that was completely satisfactory. We slept soundly and experienced no problems that would spoil our holiday. We were allotted a 10:15am time slot to disembark and this was achieved 15 minutes early. We would not describe Arcadia as our favourite ship, it was OK and it was quite bland. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
this wa sour very first cruise and we chose an adults only ship..the cabin was superb and the organisation onboard extremely good, food and service incredible...there are many negatives ...one in three of the passengers had an horrendous ... Read More
this wa sour very first cruise and we chose an adults only ship..the cabin was superb and the organisation onboard extremely good, food and service incredible...there are many negatives ...one in three of the passengers had an horrendous cough, which we had been warned about , it is known as Arcadia cough and is absolutely disgusting to listen to...we recommend that the air conditioning is completely sanitised, in order to eradicate this germ. There is an immediate turn round in southampton, so this procedure must be planned well in advance and the ship taken out of service. There is much rust on the outside and the windows in the upper meridian outside are filthy. Disembarking was a complete shambles in the upper meridian, the young man was completely ineffective in getting an orderly procedure in place, worse than any airport we have been to. added to this the weather was perishing and many of the trips should be shown to prevent walking problems for those with sticks etc..... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Our first trip on Arcadia. We are seasoned cruisers, and we were very impressed with every aspect of the ship. We enjoyed the layout, food and entertainment very much. The cleanliness onboard was excellent and the staff warm and ... Read More
Our first trip on Arcadia. We are seasoned cruisers, and we were very impressed with every aspect of the ship. We enjoyed the layout, food and entertainment very much. The cleanliness onboard was excellent and the staff warm and friendly. We visited Amsterdam, Zeebruger and Guernsey. Although the weather was not great, there was much to see as we had not visited these places before. The boarding of the tender was a bit hair raising due to the swell in Guernsey but the staff handled it all very well. The initial embarking and disembarking went very smoothly with minimum fuss. We thought we may encounter Hen and Stag parties as it was a short trip, but there was no evidence of such like, just a broad age group relaxing and having fun. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our first P&O Cruise and the last!! We did not pre-book any excursions prior to the cruise. When we boarded the ship we saw the woman on the Excursion Desk. She said most of the excursions were full. We asked if they were ... Read More
This was our first P&O Cruise and the last!! We did not pre-book any excursions prior to the cruise. When we boarded the ship we saw the woman on the Excursion Desk. She said most of the excursions were full. We asked if they were putting on more slots and she said they probably would be. Two days later, we ended up only booking one excursion. Obviously we had to take some of the blame but as I had cruised with Thomsons twice, there had never been a problem with them putting extra coaches on. So I assumed that P&O would be no different. The woman on the desk was really unhelpful and unfriendly. The other problem we encountered was that the toilets outside the Meridien restaurant on at least 4 nights out of 7 had no toilet paper at all in them. On reporting it to Reception, again not very helpful or approachable. We also experienced a problem with our toilet in the cabin and reported it 3 days before we disembarked. The day of disembarkation the bathroom was flooded at 5am and somebody came to look at it together with the cabin steward. We were 'accused' of putting foreign objects down the toilet, which we did not and then were told 'it's probably from the upper deck'. No apology. Also the cabin steward looking after our cabin (G51) was so rude, he walked away whilst I was trying to have a conversation with him. This is no way to treat paying passengers! Also, we had to leave our cabins by 8am (why so early??) but the thing that really has upset us that the cabin steward had already made up the bed and cleaned the bathroom with new toiletries and tea/coffee etc at 7.20am when we returned from breakfast. The new sheets had also been put into our room the night before for the next guests. Obviously they can't wait to get rid of us. I would never recommend P&O and have made a formal complaint re the cabin steward. I am now going back to Thomsosn where we had wonderful tours with exceptionally good crew. Read Less
Arcadia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 1.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.7

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