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Sail Date: April 2011
We flew from Gatwick (Thompson charter) to join Arcadia at Barbados, sailed to Aruba, then through the Panama Canal, then Costa Rica, then Huatulco and Acapulco in Mexico, then finally to San Francisco, from where we flew back to Heathrow ... Read More
We flew from Gatwick (Thompson charter) to join Arcadia at Barbados, sailed to Aruba, then through the Panama Canal, then Costa Rica, then Huatulco and Acapulco in Mexico, then finally to San Francisco, from where we flew back to Heathrow (but via Munich on Lufthansa scheduled).These bizarre flight arrangements were not explained to us when we paid for our holiday - we only knew when the tickets arrived. If I had known of these Gatwick-out, Heathrow-in-via-Munich arrangements, I would not have booked. This is principally a criticism of the travel agency but is also indicative of P&O's indifferent attitude to customers' comforts off-ship.Our outbound flight was two hours late, which meant we hardly saw Barbados. More importantly, two other Thompson charter flights from Gatwick were 14 hours late, so the ship sailed from Barbados very late, and lead to a shortened visit to Aruba. After that, the ship went back on schedule.Arcadia is a good ship, and we were pleased with our balcony stateroom. it was a bit smaller than MSC, but was comfortable, and we had a supremely comfortable bed. The cabin steward (Lloyd) was superb, and helped us with minor problems like electrical adapters with no fuss.The ship is large but seemed to have an endless number of public rooms, so it never felt full (it was fully occupied). The facilities on board were excellent, and there was a very wide range of activities freely available throughout the trip to help pass the time - on this cruise we had at least 6 days at sea so it was important to have something to do other than read or sunbathe! Our main disappointment with this cruise was the choice and quality of the food, both in the self-service area, and in the main silver-service restaurant. We had assumed that P&O was a cut above the likes of Thomsons, but in fact the reverse is true in our view. However I have to say that the selection of wines and cocktails was superb and very, very good value.The entertainment in the main Palladium theatre was again reasonable, with a couple of very good celebrity acts, but their in-house dance troupe wasn't really good at all - again Thomson's were leagues ahead.The few shore excursions we did were superb value for money and well-organised - a real plus for P&O.The overall ship organisation left something to be desired. There were several cases of inconsistent information being given out. The worst fiasco was in San Francisco where having told us to be aware that we were under the Golden Gate Bridge at 0500 (and to be immigration starting at 0645) it took no less than 5 hours to process all the passengers for immigration by 12:00 - contrary to popular rumour, the American immigration staff were very friendly, fast, and armed to the hilt! It was Arcadia who forgot to tell passengers to come down for processing, having previously told everyone NOT to attend at the published times due our late arrival in port (due to headwinds, no one's fault).P&O did redeem themselves a bit in that they took us off ship to the airport at 14:00 (flight not due to 21:00) but treated us to an excellent 3 hour free tour of San Francisco - but why not tell us?! Most people didn't know they had a 3 hour tour, hadn't gone to the loo or eaten - they were just expecting a fast transit to the airport to sit around for 6 hours - as it turned out, we saw all the sights, and got to the airport just in time to check-in - excellent! All-in-all, a superb cruise, the highlight being our transit through the Panama Canal. The cruise director provided a superb commentary throughout.We did also dine in the Gary Rhodes 'franchise' restuarant for a modest extra cover charge of £10 - worth every penny - superb service and food -in fact just like the main restaurant shoud be.Bascally a very good ship and itinerary, let down by the standards of catering and entertainment, which smacks of dumbing dowm/cost cutting by Carnival Corporation. I am afraid I now wouldn't recommend ANY Carnival-owned line to anyone - stick with Olsen, Thompson or MSC. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2008
My husband and I had done only 1 cruise before embarking on Arcadia in February 2008 to cruise the Caribbean, The Panama Canal and up to Acapulco. Our first cruise was on QE2 and so we thought it would be interesting to compare P&O ... Read More
My husband and I had done only 1 cruise before embarking on Arcadia in February 2008 to cruise the Caribbean, The Panama Canal and up to Acapulco. Our first cruise was on QE2 and so we thought it would be interesting to compare P&O with the Cunard experience. Our flight from Manchester to Barbados was good and we had upgraded on the First Choice Flight. We had been fortunate as people who had travelled with Thomas Cook also from Manchester were disgusted with their flight seats and the space, or lack of it, in economy. Transfer from the aircraft to the cruise terminal in Bridgetown was excellent and we were soon in our cabin. We thought the cabin was about the same size as the one we had on QE2. However, this time we had a balcony which was a definite advantage over the 2 portholes on QE2. The cabin was well appointed although there was no shampoo provided. I thought this was penny pinching to the extreme. You get shampoo in a basic motorway lodge in the UK. Also there were no dressing gowns which we had had on QE2. Our room steward was from Goa and he knew a hotel we had stayed at there some years ago. He was very polite and efficient. We had booked for second sitting at dinner but when on board discovered that this did not start until 20.45. As we did not want to eat that late we changed to first sitting at 18.30. The only alternative to this for dinner (unless you wanted to pay extra) was to go to the Belvedere Buffet Food Court which was about as exciting as a works canteen in decor and facilities. We soon found that dining at 18.30 was a little early as we missed a lot of the sailaway parties so we decided that if we cruised again with P&O we would choose Freedom Dining. The food was OK but a definite notch down from what we had on QE2. The waiter service in the dining room was good except for delivery of the vegetables on to you plate. They were plonked anywhere on the plate (often over the food that was already on there) rather than being nicely placed in a suitable space on the plate (as we had on QE2). Likewise, on QE2, the petits fours came on a large tray and you were invited to choose. On Arcadia, a few biscuits were literally dumped on a small plate - some not even the right way up and the plate just left on the table. I know the waiters are hard pressed to get diners out of the restaurant to get the tables relaid for the second sitting but it is these small things which leave the wrong impression in peoples' minds. The Belvedere Food Court was self - service. We had breakfast there most days but only dined there on 2 nights. It is the most confusing place to find your way around as they have different types of food on each side of the serving area. Getting a coffee or tea was often a scramble as people converged on the 2 machines dispensing the water and coffee. This was not a good place to be if you visited it at a busy time. About a week into the cruise, our wine waitress announced that they would shortly run out of bottles of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and this proved to be true. Then about 3/4 days before the end of the cruise you could not get a proper tonic anywhere on the ship. They had slimline which does not taste right with gin or vodka but no proper tonic!! We think that there should be some tightening up on the re-ordering of items to be taken on board at each port. The weather for the entire cruise was fantastic - virtually wall to wall sunshine every day. The itinerary was varied and interesting and involved new places for us to visit. The Panama Canal transit was the highlight. We did quite a few organized trips when in port. In Aruba we did a snorkeling trip which took us to a shipwrecked vessel. This was very dangerous and most people were out of the water and back on board the snorkel vessel within a few minutes. P&O should review whether to keep this trip on their books. We did an evening trip to Panama City which was billed as a walking tour. However we soon found out that the tour guides were to take us to 2 museums instead. This did not go down at all well with us and our fellow passengers. Spending time in a museum at 22.00 after a full day transiting the Panama Canal was not most people's idea of fun. The best trip was in Huatulco where we went on an Eco Bird Watch walk. We were not that interested in taking part in the daytime activities on board ship when at sea, preferring instead to find a sun bed and relax. However, the evening entertainment was pretty abysmal. As mentioned we were in first sitting for dinner and this meant that by 20.15 we were just about finished in the dining room and looking for some entertainment. We soon found that if you did not want to go to the show (or perhaps did want to go but could not get a seat) there was nothing else going on throughout the ship for at least an hour - say between 20.30 and 21.30. We visited various bars including the pub and when we got there the act was playing but as soon as the dining room announced that it was time for second sitting dinner, all the acts closed down and the place was like a ghost ship. This is not good enough. With about 2 days to go to the end of the cruise, it was announced that there had been an outbreak of the Norovirus disease and various cleanliness measures were brought in. Fortunately we were not affected but we thought that in general and prior to the outbreak of the disease, there was a more lax approach to disinfecting hands on entry to restaurants than there was on QE2. Unfortunately the night before disembarkation it was announced that our flight was delayed by 8 hours and as we had to be out of our cabin by 07.00 on the day of disembarkation, this made for a long hot and tiring day before we even got to the airport. It also meant that we were soon mingling with new passengers who had arrived at Acapulco early and who could not all gain access to their cabins!! We were very much on our own at the airport as there were no P&O staff in attendance. I thought this was surprising. It was as if once you had left the ship P&O were not bothered about you. In summary we enjoyed the cruise overall but there were some shortfalls and it was not to the standard we had on QE2. However, undaunted, we have booked to go on Ventura so will see if she is any different. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2008
Overview of cruise Feb 22nd - March 7th on Arcadia. CRUISE ITINERARY : Flew to Barbados, and visited Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Limon (Costa Rica), Panama Canal, Fuerta Amador, Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Huatulco (Mexico) and Acapulco. ... Read More
Overview of cruise Feb 22nd - March 7th on Arcadia. CRUISE ITINERARY : Flew to Barbados, and visited Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Limon (Costa Rica), Panama Canal, Fuerta Amador, Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Huatulco (Mexico) and Acapulco. There were also 5 sea days and technically the Panama was also a sea day. This was a superb itinerary and I can highly recommend it to anyone. The ports all varied greatly and there was something for everyone. The transit of the Panama Canal was fantastic. It took all day, but it was well worth getting up at 6am for !! WEATHER : Superb. Glorious weather every day. The lowest temperature was 79f and many days it was in the high 80's. TOURS : I did tours in Grenada (Rum Runner) ; Limon (Banana Train) , Puerto Quetzal (La Antigua Guatemala on your own). All were good. I and my friends did our own things in the other places and often did things that tours were doing, but did them much more cheaply. It helped that I have a friend living on Bonaire who sorted that day out for us. ARCADIA SERVICE : On the whole very good indeed from everyone. The Meridian Restaurant waiters worked very hard indeed due to the large size of the restaurant, they have to bring the food a long way. Breakfast room service does need to be looked at as it is very rarely delivered correctly. Every day they missed something off the list of requests. It wasn't just us. Everyone in our group who used this service reported a similar problem. They seem to think each cabin contains just one person and very rarely provide for 2 or more. The reception and tours staff appear not to be able to deal with complainants very well. I had no cause to complain but sometimes stood behind people who were and the staff tend to be very defensive and offer unsatisfactory explanations that tend to be fob offs. Customer service in this respect needs to be looked at. This ship appears to be somewhat worse than the other ships I have been on in that respect. The crew and staff are very friendly and pleasant, and bar service is good. ENTERTAINMENTS STAFF / ENTERTAINMENT : worked very hard indeed. The men were very personable, although the girls tended to be a bit stand offish and really rather snooty. The Entertainments Officer was Gary Gladding and he did a good job. He did a commentary during the Panama passage which was superb. The singers and dancers were clearly chosen for one show (Cirque Arcadia) using their aerial and acrobatic abilities. The rest of the shows suffered as a result being rather bland and having no impact. The boys were very good dancers and looked good, the girls were less capable and were statuesque as opposed to dynamic. The 2 principal singers did little dancing and sang adequately, but none of the company were notable for vocal prowess. One of our party is a professional musical director in her own right and she thought the vocals of the team were abysmal at every show. The cabaret acts were Alan Stewart (very very good) ; Bobby Crush (who was himself as usual !!) ; a female singer more suited to a pub or cabaret club, and a classical pianist duo who I am told were very very good. Jon and Dan Snow were on board for lectures. I am told they were good. The Arcadia Orchestra were superb, and the other 4 bands on board were all good. ARCADIA SHIP : The exterior looks magnificent and the ship is very handsome indeed. It is a large ship. The lack of a large atrium means there is no real focal point, and this makes the ships layout difficult to get to grips with. Using the scenic elevators as a focal point really helps. There are some impressive spaces such as Palladium Theatre and the Crows Nest and the Orchid Restaurant and Bar, but too many of the public rooms are rather bland and lacking in any real atmosphere, including Arcadian Rhodes. The Meridian restaurant is especially bland and lit too lightly and lacks ambience and atmosphere. There is an impressive amount of deck space and there was never a long search for a deck lounger (as there is on the other P&O ships). The sun deck above Orchid is often overlooked by many and there is always plenty of space up there. There is no dedicated cinema. Films were sometimes shown in Palladium Theatre, but usually were shown in the Ocean Room (a sort of lecture room with uncomfortable stacking seats) and as a result were poorly attended. Cafe Vivo is a fun little place which we visited almost every day. There are too many plain corridors and the photo shop seems to get bigger with every new ship. The lower floor of the 2 tear dining room has a bad vibration at the centre rear due to being right over the propulsion of the ship. The Belvedere Buffet is a real problem. The food is OK there, but the layout is confusing at first with its different sections causing different queues. There was no effective signage instructing folk in which direction to queue and this led to problems and conflict. There were many complaints about this place. ARCADIA FOOD : Sadly, not as good as on the other P&O ships I have been on. The food in Arcadian Rhodes is superb, as it is in Orchid Restaurant, but in the main restaurant there is a real problem with the food being luke warm when it comes to the table. We were sat right in a far corner of the restaurant. We spoke to people sat near the kitchen doors who said their food was always piping hot. Our party of 29 were sat across 4 tables and at various times during the cruise, group members had to return meals that were almost cold. Not good I am afraid. The restaurant is just too big to be effective and as a result the waiters are having to work overtime to keep up with things. Some meals there were superb (especially the formal nights), many were as to be expected, but some were no better than one could get in any local bistro back home and that's not what we have come to expect of P&O ships. There is one place on the ship which must rank as the very worst food I have ever had afloat. The Neptune's Buffet Bistro by the pool. I ate here once and it was completely vile. ARCADIA ATMOSPHERE : This was the first time I and my party had cruised on an over 18's ship , and it will probably be the last, unless we chose such a ship for the itinerary. OK, we didn't have the kids and teenagers (but they are usually well looked after and controlled on the family ships such as Oceania, Oriana and Aurora), but what we didn't have as a result was their parents, who are typically aged in their 30's, 40's and 50's. (We are in our 40's). There were very few of this age group on board and as a result the atmosphere on board was quite dull at times. By half past midnight the ship was dead apart from a few pockets of life and certainly by 1am there was nothing happening at all. There were a few younger couples who stood out because they were so few in number. The majority of the passengers were aged 60+ and while they seemed to be enjoying themselves, it can never be as lively as when you have all age groups on board. THE BUG : sadly the last 3 days of the cruise had the dreaded bug on board. It appeared to be a mild form and was apparently brought back on board a Puerto Quetzal. 4 of my party got it, but it was being sick once and having a bit out the other end, and feeling unwell for a day. Didn't sound like norovirus. There were quite a few cases and the ship handled this well with the usual restrictions in place. Everything handed to you in buffet and restaurant, toilet doors remaining open etc etc. One anomaly in the restaurant. They handed the pre-packed sugar and salt to you with tongs, and then brought the toast in an open rack for all the table to handle !!! We enjoyed this cruise very much, but found a lot more to criticize than usual. It didn't spoil anything however, and the experience was still far better than any land based holiday could be. I haven't been put off P&O yet, but there are many people wondering if standard are being cut too much in an effort to keep prices down. P&O might loose support to Princess Cruises if they are not careful. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Flight from Manchester 40min late departing but managed to arrive on time. We had premium seating which was much better than the last time we travelled charter flights, but not as spacious as the schedule flight to New York on BA we took ... Read More
Flight from Manchester 40min late departing but managed to arrive on time. We had premium seating which was much better than the last time we travelled charter flights, but not as spacious as the schedule flight to New York on BA we took last year. Premium seating meant we were first off the plane and onto the waiting coaches. We were the first coach to arrive at the ship so no Caribbean music to greet us. As we were first on ship we chatted with passengers waiting for their flights so had an idea we were in for a good time, and were not disappointed. We were so early on the ship our cabin wasn't quite ready so, although tired, we wandered around the ship for a couple of hours. On our way back to the cabin we noticed our baggage outside the lifts and asked if it was ok if we took it to the cabins ourselves. We were unpacked by 4.30pm and eagerly awaiting evening meal, well ready for it after arriving at Manchester airport at 5am and only having inflight meals. Cabin was excellent, the best we have had, spacious balcony with good quality chairs. Lots of cupboard space and well planned wardrobes, mirrors everywhere. Bathroom good size with shower above bath. Bed a little strange though. We opted for a double bed, the twin beds were linked which was fine but we still had single duvets, very strange. Arcadia was very clean but a little tired considering it is less than 2 years old. Decor pleasant but not extravagant, Meridian Restaurant very pleasant. Food excellent as usual with P&O, good choice, did not eat in Gary Rhodes or Orchid Restaurant, no need. Belvedere buffet was excellent, good choice, comfortable, waiter to squirt the necessary disinfectant on entry. P&O seem to be penny pinching and drink prices vary according to whereabouts on the ship you are. Shows were very disappointing, thank goodness for Roy Walker, a true professional. Three out of the four singers in the Arcadia troupe were out of tune. Missed a stop at Mayreau due to high swell, tropical rain storm in Cozumel meant we had to cancel our trip into the jungle, very disappointing, it looked really good. Went on about 3 organized trips, Costa Maya beach trip was really enjoyable but confusing regarding the time we had to leave the beach. First time we were given was 3pm, we arrived at 10am, then we were told the coach would be leaving at 1.00pm, then another announcement stated another coach had been negotiated for 1.30pm and this would be the last coach, then miraculously another coach appeared at 2pm, but by then we had changed out of our swimwear and were on the 1.30 coach ready to go back to the ship. At Grand Cayman did the semi-sub trip, it was excellent, being a non swimmer that is the nearest I am likely to get to swimming with the fish. Curacao is the best stop on the cruise, we like it better each time we go there. Nightmare in New Orleans, had to register with immigration day prior to disembarkation. Some passengers queued for over 1 hour to get their passport and documents checked. This made the excursions late leaving which meant they hurried them up to get us back to the ship at the stated time. I do not know why though, we were staying overnight in New Orleans. Great place, lots to see, start of the Mardi Gras carnivals when we arrived. Unfortunately supposedly due to the snow in UK our flight was delayed by 5 hours, which meant we had to stay on the ship another 5 hours, we left the ship at 8pm and flew at 1am, which threw all our homecoming plans out of the window as we were due to drive home to the Highlands of Scotland on the Saturday, we had to stay overnight at our daughter's in Doncaster and eventually arrived home Sunday at 6pm. That was the bad bit of the holiday. Would definitely do P&O again but only if they upgraded the size of the seats for the flights. 8 hours is too long to be sat with yours knees up to your chin. I have emailed them regarding this but have had no response! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
We had a wonderful time aboard Arcadia. The flight from Manchester was on time at 8 a.m. and we were on the ship at 2 p.m. This is definitely the best place and line to cruise with, straight through passport control onto busses and then to ... Read More
We had a wonderful time aboard Arcadia. The flight from Manchester was on time at 8 a.m. and we were on the ship at 2 p.m. This is definitely the best place and line to cruise with, straight through passport control onto busses and then to the ship. SO unlike going through US. Our luggage arrived at about 6.30 in time for dinner. First night dinner was free seating as later flights were still arriving. Meal not too great but OK. The only problem we had with dinner was getting our table changed as we had been put on a table for 4 and wanted a larger table. Took 2 nights and a certain amount of irritation to get changed, but then fine. We had lovely waiters, Amit and Alex, and the wine waiter Ernesto was really efficient and very pleasant. Often on ships the wine waiters are overworked, or just slow, although as Americans on the whole don't seem to drink as much wine with dinner as Europeans perhaps it is just a culture thing! The food was the best I've had on a ship, always arrived hot and the vegetables were wonderful, great variety and delicious sauces. Had steak a couple of times, which again were cooked perfectly. Great variety at breakfast and the lunch display was good. The cabins were spacious as far as ship's cabins can be! No drawers, which was rather irritating. Decor was fine, quite light, and the balcony had really comfortable wooden recliners. On the whole I don't like ship's entertainment, so this was no better or worse than RCCL, Celebrity, HAL or Princess. As they have captive audiences as opposed to paying customers I always feel they are second rate. Went to 4 shows (under sufferance), Roy Walker comic (Catchphrase) was amusing and professional, so went to see him twice, one other comedian/singer who I didn't like at all, and one acrobatic show which was OK. Didn't go on any ship excursions as we do our own thing. Getting on the tenders in Meyreaux was well organized and despite a big swell everything went well. Was much better organized than RCCL last year when it took over 2 hours to get off the ship in Grand Cayman! On getting on and off the ship there were hand gels to use, plus outside the Belvedere restaurant there was not only gel dispensers but also stewards with dispensers always there to make sure you were 'gelled'. The islands were all fine. We particularly liked St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Tortola and St. Vincent. Meyreaux was lovely, just one long beach with quite large waves which took some people unawares. The only sad thing was that we expected there to be a barbeque, or food, on the beach but this never appeared, although the waiters were there to provide drinks. The last day in Barbados was very pleasant. Unlike other lines where they expect you to get off as quickly as possible, on Arcadia although we had to leave the cabin by 9 a.m. we were then allowed virtually free run of the ship. We had breakfast, sunbathed, showered (in lovely showers in the Spa) had lunch and left the ship at 4 p.m. for our 7 p.m. flight to Manchester, which luckily left on time. This is DEFINITELY the best cruise I've been on (other than the last time we went on the old Arcadia) with regard to transfers. The bars on the ship leave a little to be desired if you like any atmosphere, but then many other new ships are the same. The Crows Nest seemed to be empty until after dinner, didn't like the 'pub' bar and the usual ghastly Karaoke. The dance instructors had no enthusiasm at all, looked bored most of the time and had absolutely no talent for getting anything going. We made some friends who loved dancing and found it really frustrating that there was so little atmosphere and fun. The nightclub was better and had a good DJ. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
Arcadia Review, Cruise J601 Simply Caribbean. Having just finished our first P&O cruise on Arcadia, after previously cruising on Coral & Island Princess, I offer the following comments and comparisons as our own personal views. ... Read More
Arcadia Review, Cruise J601 Simply Caribbean. Having just finished our first P&O cruise on Arcadia, after previously cruising on Coral & Island Princess, I offer the following comments and comparisons as our own personal views. I can now understand all those negative comments I had read about Arcadia, she is definitely far less glitzy than the Princess ships, and Oceana according to fellow passengers; and her lack of a proper Atrium is a big disappointment. The walkways through the main public decks seem far narrower and the area through the photo gallery gets very congested, probably because they have the photos displayed down both sides. In addition she only has one theatre, the Palladium which tends to limit the variety of shows, and even then its size is only just comparable with the smaller of the two Princess show lounges, and on exiting the Palladium on deck 3 you have to walk through either the casino or the Rising Sun pub. In fact the layout of both public decks was less than ideal, the shopping area creates another bottleneck, and I thought it pointless to have Intermezzo and the Spinnaker bar next to each other, especially as neither was ever full. On the plus side the cabins are bigger and the majority have a bath with shower over, which the ladies will probably prefer, but even here the wardrobe space is much less with limited fixed hangers, but your steward will provide extra wire hangers, the safes are tiny and shelf space is barely adequate, but our balcony on E deck was much bigger than we have had on Princess. One other strange quirk is that the bedroom reading lights are just above the pillows and if you want to sit up in bed and read then they are covered, not the best design feature I have ever seen. Contrary to other comments there are plenty of electric sockets above the dressing table, 5 in all, one UK, one European and 3 US, so if you take a couple of travel plugs and a 2/3 way UK adaptor he can charge his razor and camera battery whilst she uses the hairdryer and curling tongs, and still have plenty left over. As you would expect the food is first class and the restaurant dining service is friendly and attentive, however I did yearn for the ever present waiter topping up my water and breakfast coffee that comes as standard on American ships, but I did enjoy the genteel way in which my HP sauce was served. After a shaky start we also felt that the Belvedere, self service restaurant, was better than Princess. The seating is more comfortable and it is more spacious, and the choice of food was excellent, however its layout did take time to sink in, but by the end of the cruise you should know where everything is! Of the two alternative restaurants we preferred Arcadian Rhodes; the food in the Orchid was rather too bland for our tastes. In the Restaurant we were on 2nd sitting at 8:30 pm which we found rather late, most people on 1st sitting, 6:30 pm seemed to think it too early, on Princess we enjoyed the flexibility of anytime dining, maybe P&O could think about switching sittings half way through a cruise to give a better variety. We thought the Arcadia theatre troupe were excellent, we went to all the shows and only Bollywood Nights flopped, the rest were very enjoyable. We also enjoyed the variety acts with Martin Daniels probably our favourite, but all of them seemed to go down well with the British passengers whereas the American acts on Princess are not usually appreciated by British passengers. Unfortunately we did feel that the deck attendants were not as vigilant, used glasses and food plates were often left all day and very little attempt was made to keep the sunbathing decks tidy, until they were cleared away after sunset. We also felt that tightly packing the sun beds did not help in keeping the areas tidy since the first thing everyone did was to pull out one or two beds to make themselves a private space. Princess use small tables between every two or three sun beds and this provides enough privacy and avoids spare sun beds littering the rest of the deck. The cyb@centre is OK but pricey, and you cannot use Wanadoo webmail, so for Wanadoo users ensure you have a list of e-mail addresses with you and prepare to use Mail2web or similar, which is just as convenient but each logon is only specific to ONE e-mail account. What would be our overall rating for Arcadia, probably 7 or a weak 8, compared with a high 9 for Princess. Would we book an Arcadia cruise again, of course we would if the itinerary or price were right, after all despite any criticisms this is 5 star cruising and a wonderful way to spend a one or two week holiday being pampered and cosseted without a care in the world. One final point regarding the flights, I now have to agree with all the complainers that the seating is just too cramped, P&O should look at this and charter airlines that offer more space, even if the extra cost has to go on the price. However the direct flights from your local airport with the luggage going straight to your cabin and you going directly off the plane onto a coach cannot be bettered, this is a really big benefit compared with having to fly via Heathrow. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Overall - Found the cruise to be suited to people in the more advanced years, this was reflected in the musical choice around the different areas, even the pub had a trio playing slow lounge almost background style music. The ship itself ... Read More
Overall - Found the cruise to be suited to people in the more advanced years, this was reflected in the musical choice around the different areas, even the pub had a trio playing slow lounge almost background style music. The ship itself was best described as low key and although fairly well decorated no area could be described as exciting or having a 'wow' factor. For a Christmas cruise the decorations were poor. We will look long and hard before we book with P&O again. Food - 1. Meridian restaurant - Good choice of meals offered but vegetables left something to be desired. Most evenings we were offered new potatoes and one evening I was offered carrots and sprouts with my fish! Wine choice good but both wine waiters and meal waiters were not up to scratch. Too many mistakes made with our wine and wrong choice of food being served. 2. Rhodes restaurant - Spent one evening there, food was good but again the waiters, although they tried very hard, not quite up to scratch. 3. Orchid - Promoted as 'Fusion' food. Spent an evening there not bad but I was expecting something better. The couple next to us asked if they could remove coconut from one of the desserts, they were told it was not possible, which left me thinking they were pre-prepared, not what we were expecting. 4. Belvedere - Self service - Good choice and kept clean and tidy. the layout means you have to travel a long way to see the choice and the drinks area needs improving as it is a bottleneck. Entertainment -As explained earlier, in general the music was suited to 65+. The Arcadian Theatre is the best I've seen and the production company were very good with varied shows. The 'special' acts brought in, two comedians and two singers, were again suited to the older section and not very good, many people left these shows before the end or even halfway through. Photography - Good selection and quite professional, however, like most cruises the cost of the photos and especially the re-prints were far too high. Bring the price down and everybody buys one! Trips - Too expensive for what you get. Most people I spoke to got the same if not better from locals and at less then half price! Flights - Watch out if you're booked on Thompson, everyone we spoke to from 3 different airports all had delays, and some didn't have any food. P&O really need to look at this, Thompson are fine for a low cost European flight but are totally not suited for long haul, spoilt the holiday and I would think they will still be reading the complaints for a while yet! Read Less
Arcadia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.6
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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