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1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. My wife's sister lives and works in Dubai and the opportunity to see her and locations we had not been to before made this choice irresitable. We spent a few days in Dubai, we had been there ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. My wife's sister lives and works in Dubai and the opportunity to see her and locations we had not been to before made this choice irresitable. We spent a few days in Dubai, we had been there before, but really enjoyed it as well as a day trip we took to Abu Dhabi. We chose an early boarding 1100 AM, which was a good idea. We were on board in no time and had a cocktail in hand immediately. We decided to check our cabin 1232 on the off chance it was ready, perfect, it was. We dropped our carry-on and proceeded to our usual tasks which include, specialty restaurant dinner reservations, hair appointments, and checking our dining room seating, We then went to Johnny Rockets for lunch which we enjoyed, just something about a greasy burger and french fries chased down by a cold beer. For us boarding was easy and uneventful, and we were able to get our primary objectives done and now it was all about enjoying the cruise. The cruise on the whole we enjoyed, we did feel however, that some crew members were not engaged. I think part of that could be the length of the cruise (it started in Singapore we picked it up in Dubai) as well as that the ship was going into dry-dock for refurbishment. These ladies and gentlemen work extremely hard with no days off and long hours, so a lot of it I get. We enjoy eating in the specialty restaurants, however the menus need some change. The Chops and Giovannis Table menu have not seen a change in many a cruise, we enjoy these venues but we will re-think the amount of times we patronize these establishments going forward. We usually get the five night dining package plus a couple of additional dinners, but being faced with the same menu all the time becomes boring. The dining room was okay, nothing really special on that front, we do however enjoy breakfast in the dining room. We enjoy going to the Schooner Bar after dinner each evening and this cruise was no exception. Yanus and Stanislav (bartenders) could not have been nicer and more efficient. They went above and beyond especially when they ran out of grapefruit juice. We enjoy vodka and grapefruit juice and for some reason when you travel to that part of the world they always seem to never have enough and mid-way through the cruise they run out. Yanus and Stanislav would actually run to another bar in an attempt to find us grapefruit juice. Hope you guys can get off the ship in Miami. Why is having enough grapefruit juice on a cruise an issue? Best RCCL bartenders!!!! Our stateroom attendant was Li, a nicer gentlemen I have never met. I enjoyed speaking with him at length will hopefully run into him again on another cruise. We booked our 2019 and 2020 cruise with Carinha Duarte. Bon Dia Carinha!!! See you in the north!!! She did a fabulous job working with us for our next cruises as well. very informative and helpful with the different ships and venues. We only took the tour of Petra with RCCL, we are finding their tours are over priced and you can usually do better with a private tour company or venture off on your own. We enjoyed Crete (Chania) very much and of course Jerusalem, Dead Sea and Barcelona. We did Jerusalem and the Dead Sea with a private tour operator because it afforded us to see both in the one day we were in port. RCCL offered one or the other. Barcelona is one of our favorite port cities we have been there many times and so we go off on our own and seek out the obscure tapas and wine bars always the best. Going through the Suez Canal was an adventure, so glad we got to experience that. On the whole an excellent vacation with just the few thing we mentioned that hopefully RCCL can address Read Less

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