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Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: March 2019
The cruise line P&O Cruises is a British cruise line, a constituent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. P&O Cruises claim to be the oldest cruise line in the world. Its predecessor company operated ... Read More
The cruise line P&O Cruises is a British cruise line, a constituent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. P&O Cruises claim to be the oldest cruise line in the world. Its predecessor company operated pleasure trips since 1844, and the world's first dedicated cruise ship in 1881. It is the sister company of, and retains strong links with, P&O Cruises Australia. P&O Cruises was de-merged from the P&O group in 2000, becoming a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises plc, which subsequently merged with Carnival Corporation in 2003, to form Carnival Corporation & plc. P&O Cruises currently operate seven cruise ships and tailor their cruises to the British market. Why we chose P&O We have sailed with P&O on a number of occasions as they sail from Southampton. They offer much more of a British feel and use pound Stirling for currency. Having 3 pin plugs in all cabins is always good as it saves carrying all those extra travel adapters for those essential electronics. We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary as it stopped in Israel, and the fact that Arcadia is an adult only ship. We boarded the ship in Dubai and sailed home via the Suez Canal to Southampton on the ship as part of her 2019 world cruise. The ship Arcadia was ordered by Holland America Line in 2000 as their fifth Vista class vessel. In 2003 she was allocated to the Cunard Line to become their Queen Victoria. Shortly before her launch the decision was made to transfer the ship to the P&O Cruises fleet. As a result, Arcadia has a Cunard style mast similar to those found on the RMS Queen Mary 2. She also sports a modified QE2 style funnel, with cowling removed instead of the traditional P&O style funnel found on the other purpose built ships. Arcadia has a gross tonnage of 84,000tones with a passenger capacity of just over 2000 and is an adult only ship. Arcadia’s biggest disappointment is her lack of a usable atrium in the centre of the ship, although P&O have tried to lighten the space with coloured lighting etc in her last refit in 2017. Arcadia has been plagued with problems with her cabin waste system with blockages and leaks again something P&O have been working to resolve all of her working life. Arcadia’s signature features are her midship glass lifts and the retracting roof over the main swimming pool both of which are features from her being built for Holland America Line. She also boasts over 3000 pieces of art through the ship creating a sophisticated feel on board. Dining Options on Board Dining on Arcadia is as you would expect very well taken care of, from buffet dinning to several specialty restaurants. The main dining room is on 2 levels at the rear of the ship, on the lower level it is set dining times 18:30 and 21:00. The upper level is freedom dining where you can turn up for a table any time fro 18:00 to 21:30. This option has to be pre booked when booking the cruise as there are only a certain amount of spaces. Even then at peak times you will have to wait for a table for 2 or get to the restaurant when it opens. We had freedom dining on our cruise and would certainly have this style of dining again. The buffet restaurant ( The Lido) is open from 06:00 to 01:00 serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon Tea, dinner and evening light meals. The food is of good quality, complementary fruit juices are only available at breakfast in the buffet area. The 2 specialty restaurants, Sindhu and Ocean Grill both have an additional cover charge. They are both very good and they change menus several times during the voyages. While we were on Arcadia P&O were trailing a glass house style menu in intermezzo outside of ocean grill, this worked well and we hope that it becomes a permanent feature on board Arcadia. Eric lanyards afternoon tea is another specialty offer, it is served in ocean grill on selected sea days and is worth trying. During the day by the midship pool (Neptune’s) there is a grill serving burgers, fish and chips ,jacket potatoes etc there is also a small sandwich bar just to the side of this grill. This area can get busy during the day, especially when the sliding roof is open in warm climates. The Cabins Arcadia’s cabins come is 5 basic categories with a number of sub categories. The categories are inside, ocean view, balcony, mini suite and suite. There are also a number of single occupancy cabins both inside and ocean view. Most of the mini suites are midships. All cabins are well appointed as you would expect with all the normal cabin features. All cabins have UK 3 pin plugs as standard, also tea/coffee making facilities replenished throughout your stay. The cabins have a mini bar(chargeable to your on board account ) and fridge. Most of the mini suites and suites have a bath and shower. A few of the Balcony and Ocean View cabins have combined showers and baths. All grades of cabins have complementary shower gel, shampoo and body lotion. There is plenty of wardrobe space in all cabins. This is a feature on all Vista Class ships that make them great for longer cruises or round the world trips. All of the cabins following the refit in 2017 now have flat screen TVs with pay for view films but as yet, like other ships in the P&O fleet, you can not view your cabin bill or order room service / interactive services via the tv. Things to do on Board As with any UK main stream cruise company the daily entertainment is varied from guest speakers to deck quoits. There is always something going, and the good thing about the ship is that you can always find a quiet spot to read the book you have taken from the library onboard. On this cruise because it was the last leg of the world cruise there was daily art classes in one of the meeting rooms. There is a small onboard cinema seating around 30 in leather recliner chairs, they show current films that are on at the cinema at home, due to space restrictions it’s always best to book a seat. The gym also has a full daily program of both free and chargeable fitness classes all of which are good quality and the instructors know what they’re doing Swimming pools, sun decks and Spa There are 3 pools on board, the main one being in the centre of the ship. It is known as Neptune’s pool, this is where the sliding roof covers the pool in less favourable conditions. There are sun loungers around the pool. The pool has a bar area and a take way food place serving burgers and chips etc The second pool is on the aft deck behind the lido buffet, again there is a lot of space for loungers and has a large bar, this area is fully open to the elements all the time The 3rd pool in located in the spa area and is a pay for use pool, it is always heated to around 34’ and has whirlpool jets that can be turned on and off. You can pay a one off fee for the entire cruise or choose to pay daily providing there is space available, they only have 30 spaces per cruise for this area The sun decks through the ship are spacious even at peak times so you are always able to get a bed with space round it. The large well appointed gym and spa are right at the top and front of the ship above the navigation bridge. It has it’s own sauna in each changing room . If you want to use the steam room hot bed or sensual sauna then again they are chargeable with the use of the thermal suite. The gym offer daily fitness classes and talks. The spa has a full list of wellbeing and wellness courses / treatments again all as additional costs. Would we Recommend P&O We have sailed with P&O on a number of their ships, this is what lead us to book this cruise. If you are looking for a cruise that looks after the UK cruiser then P&O is definitely for you. Would we book another leg of a world cruise, definitely yes but there are a number of things to consider with this type of cruise. • Large amounts of sea days back to back, we had a 6 and 5 day run of sea days • Average age of the customers is generally higher than on normal cruises • Entertainment tailored to type of cruise and age of customers • Customer familiarity with the crew most noticeable in the buffet and main restaurants as they have been together for the last 3 months or so, it can make you feel left out. • Numerous special event for world cruisers only, so parts of the ship often restricted (bars and restaurants etc) This aside we did enjoy the trip home from Dubai especially sailing through the Suez canal and the trips in Israel ( the reason for booking the trip) We like the smaller ships ( around 2000 passengers) as they are usually more friendly. Our biggest dislike is P&Os Great British Sail Away, complete with Union Jack waving, but majority of the ship joins in so we go with the flow with it. So if you live in the UK and want a great British cruise with a main stream cruise line then P&O certainly deliver no matter what ship you travel on. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Having been on the Ventura we said we would never go with P & O again. However, with a chance of the Golden Triangle thrown in, we decided to give it another go. What a great trip. The Arcadia does lack the wow factor and could do ... Read More
Having been on the Ventura we said we would never go with P & O again. However, with a chance of the Golden Triangle thrown in, we decided to give it another go. What a great trip. The Arcadia does lack the wow factor and could do with some sparkle , renewal of sanitary ware, a lick of paint. The theatre has too many pillars spoiling the view of the stage. On the plus side, the bed was comfortable, the water constantly hot, the cabin clean, tea and coffee. The food was very good, the staff friendly, helpful, smiling and very hard working. Margaret Gilmore, Brian Conley, Shaun Wallace, Maurice Grumbleweed, singers, dancers etc, very good. We only took one trip and did the rest ourselves. The port talks covered self guiding. Went for set dining and had a fabulous table with excellent waiters. They were helpful and coped with us swapping seats and joking with them. Our steward,Bosco, always smiling. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This was the first time we had travelled with P&O although we have done numerous cruises with Cunard, Royal Caribbean et cetera. We had of course read reviews before boarding and noted that there had been a number of previous negative ... Read More
This was the first time we had travelled with P&O although we have done numerous cruises with Cunard, Royal Caribbean et cetera. We had of course read reviews before boarding and noted that there had been a number of previous negative remarks, some of them quite caustic. We were initially surprised at quite how overwhelmingly British are P&O ships. Prices are in sterling and generally lower than on ships with dollar pricing. There is also a refreshing absence of having to pay a 15% tip for every drink. Food has the emphasis on “British traditional”, with plentiful supplies of sausage, black pudding and several varieties of tea. On one occasion the “dish of the day” was cottage pie although more exotic dishes were also available. As we left one port ‘Jerusalem’ was belted out lustily by the passengers from the deck to the puzzlement of the locals. The passengers were also mainly British and, as befits a lengthy world cruise for those with time to spare, elderly. There had been reports of passengers being ill, but of course the same bunch of folk at home would have had illness problems as well. The ‘Arcadia’ cough episode seemed to be over. The crew were uniformly attentive, friendly, and cheerful. As is our practice, we quickly found out the names of the important people (cabin steward, table waiters, bar waiter et cetera) and established cordial relations. We felt that the standard and variety of the food in the main restaurant was slightly below that of other lines, although we heard extremely satisfied comments from fellow diners concerning the speciality restaurants. In the self-service ‘Belvedere’ breakfast was top class, lunch and dinner rather limited in choice. Puds were great and there was always a selection of cheese including Stilton (try getting that on a US ship). We never went hungry. We found the ship bright and airy with pale colours everywhere contributing to the atmosphere. There were minor problems in our cabin including the air conditioning although these were fixed promptly. There were some scuffs and scratches which indicated that a “wash and brush up” would be a good idea quite soon; we think this may be occurring in the autumn. Bars presented Brit-flavoured entertainment (pub torch singers, karaoke and so on) of a professional standard. We only attended one show – a Queen tribute – which had us (and everyone else) singing along. Our favourite bar was the Crow’s Nest – high up with superb views and entertainment that leaned towards classical. We agreed we really didn’t ‘get’ a lot of the critical comments. Okay if you’re poorly you are not going to have great time (although we didn’t need them ourselves we heard good reports of the medical service). I have yet to meet a rude crew member on any cruise line. So I’m sorry if people didn’y have a good time – we did. We will ‘do’ P&O again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
The Arcadia is a decent enough ship although it is by now (2012) probably in need of a refurbishment. Boarding in Dubai was a reasonably efficient affair, a little slow, but i have experienced much worse. If you are looking for a ship ... Read More
The Arcadia is a decent enough ship although it is by now (2012) probably in need of a refurbishment. Boarding in Dubai was a reasonably efficient affair, a little slow, but i have experienced much worse. If you are looking for a ship that is internally stunning to the eye then you may be disappointed. there is no WOW factor, but it is clean and well maintained. The ports of call made this a worthwhile journey especially if like me you have not been to India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, etc. Do your own research before departure. The pre-arrival port information talks were probably the most informative i have experienced on any cruise ship, with no real hard sell on excursions. Drinks are not badly priced in comparison to some US based ships and being able to buy Duty Free spirits for consuming on board was a plus, but remember to stock up on mixers like tonic water in Dubai etc. There also appeared to be no restriction on buying wine or beer ashore and bringing it on board, this was a cruising first for me. As this was part of a world cruise the age profile was high and i would estimate the average age to have been around mid 70's + . Entertainment was really quite diverse with different artists joining for different segments. Some were great some were dire. All down to personal taste. The greatest disappointment was probably the food which i can only describe as bland, mundane, predictable and lacking finesse. Most passengers opted for 1st sitting, which had a long waitlist, an age thing i suppose. We were fortunate to have a table for two on 2nd sitting. 42 nights of 'bon homie' was not for me, each to their own i suppose. The ship was at times like the Marie Celeste in the late evening. The crew by which i mean the waiters and cabin stewards are predominantly Indian and are an absolute joy. Given the age profile of fellow passengers they are for all intents and purposes 'carers'. They are very patient considering they are young 18 to 20 somethings. The laundry facilities are totally insufficient for a cruise of this duration and i heard some dreadful stories regarding the behaviour of some passengers using the launderette, It was by all accounts a source of much discontent amongst many passengers. Considering the age profile of passeners, i found the stories of crass behaviour quite bizarre. Especially when we can be over critical of young people's behaviour!. All in all this was a pleasant voyage, nothing exceptional, although nothing dramatically wrong either. It was a pleasant way to get to Australia. If you are looking for something really special or celebrating a big occasion. then you should really do your homework and think hard before booking. Arcadia could be compared to a pleasant 3* plus country hotel, nice and pleasant but nothing really memorable. The majority of passengers were British with quite a sprinkling of Dutch as well. The Dutch were all very pleasant and easy to chat with. Most whom i spoke to appeared to like sailing with the British.? At Singapore and Hong Kong we were joined by lots of Australians, great fun. There was never any great problem finding loungers for sun worship as the Australians did not lay in it and the Brits and Dutch were of course frying daily. I met lots of nice people who had very interesting backgrounds and occupations. Some were on their second and third world cruise aboard Arcadia, so there must something right about the ship. For me, enjoyable, but not again. Enjoy. Finally, many passengers did pick up a quite serious cough, with some later developing chest infections as a result. Thankfully, for us it cleared up within about 5 days. In comparison to ships on the US circuit where the use of antiseptic hand-gel dispensers is compulsory. added to the visible 24/7 cleaning of surfaces like lift doors / controls and handrails. The Arcadia was very lax in comparison. 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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