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Sail Date: September 2018
I had sailing into New York Harbour on my yet to do bucket list, plus although we have covered much of Canada we had not touched the eastern side so this was an ideal choice. We have sailed on Arcadia before and enjoyed the fact that ... Read More
I had sailing into New York Harbour on my yet to do bucket list, plus although we have covered much of Canada we had not touched the eastern side so this was an ideal choice. We have sailed on Arcadia before and enjoyed the fact that it was child free. Because it was transatlantic both ways so a number of days at sea we chose to book a suite. The brochure description sounded great and we were given a choice. Booking in for suites and in our case Peninsular club entitlement we sailed straight through at Southampton and provided with a meal, champagne and wine so a great start. Our luggage was in the suite and we were greeted by both the Butler and cabin steward. The Cairo Suite was lovely, Wardrobes for both his and hers plus a dressing area and dressing table well lit in a separate area, wonderful. The bathroom was a good size with dual sinks storage for toiletries etc, separate shower and a full size whirlpool bath. The main area was a good size great bed, plenty of storage, nice comfortable arm chairs and settee plus table, desk etc. The balcony was a super size plenty of room for sunbeds chairs and table. Arcadia had not long had a refurbishment all done in great taste lovely colour schemes so no complaints there. Arcadia has a great walking deck, which allows you to walk right around the ship unlike some of the other P&O ships, this is particularly good. Unfortunately, the weather was not that kind to us so first two days in New York were wet, never the less we did go on the excursions, providing cover of everything we planned to see. Downside is as usual American Customs, everyone on the ship had to disembark and go to customs booths houses in the terminal and were not allowed back on until everyone had cleared customs, with the number of passengers and staff this took a lot of time and waiting around with insufficient seating. Some had booked an open bus tour and as it was pouring with rain, they all got very wet. Entertainment on the ship was good, unfortunately we had already seen some of the shows and Headliners had thank goodness started to embark on some new shows. I enjoyed the use of the SPA and salon facilities were were of good standard and not in my estimation too overpriced. Seeing more remote areas of Canada was really good we particularly enjoyed Halifax and Quebec. This cruise took in provinces of; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland so a great experience. If you take this cruise and go to Saguenay I can certainly recommend you book the show La Fabuleuse with P&O Excursions. This was totally amazing and incredible in fact totally fabulous. Do not miss this it is one you will never forget. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We tended to have 2 mini P&O cruises a year, 3-4 day breaks, sometimes to the same location.Over these last few years, these have been on the Arcadia.Whilst we have never had reason to complain about the ship or cabin, there is cause ... Read More
We tended to have 2 mini P&O cruises a year, 3-4 day breaks, sometimes to the same location.Over these last few years, these have been on the Arcadia.Whilst we have never had reason to complain about the ship or cabin, there is cause for concern in other areas.The cabin steward is always helpful,and the cabin maintained well. Where I feel the standards have dropped, is with the quality of the food & service. The food at all meal times, appear to be prepared on a tight budget, with a limited amout of choice over the period of cruise.The speciality eating venues, are regularly pushed, at very high premiums.I honestly feel the service was better, when you tipped the waiters at the end of the cruise.There is no insentive for them to provide exceptional service, as tips are already included. The entertainment is average, and passes the time away, drinks & wine prices increase year by year. the excusions barely provide value for money. We have cruised with P&O for over 8 years, we have to change. We had booked a 3 day break for June next year, but are prepared to lose the deposit & cancel. ; In the checkin area's before we boarded, we spoke to several first time cruisers, & we sang the praises of P&O. During the cruise these same people were saying never again, we inclined to agree . Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise as we had been on this ship last year so we were familiar with the layout. We had been recommended to do the cruise around the Baltics by several people who were on last years cruise, The embarkation for the ship was ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had been on this ship last year so we were familiar with the layout. We had been recommended to do the cruise around the Baltics by several people who were on last years cruise, The embarkation for the ship was fantastic, within half an hour of us arriving at the port we were on the ship. The only thing that held us up was trying to find a porter with a trolley to take the luggage away. We found our cabin easily but had to wait for our suitcases as they were all being scanned. Better safe than sorry! The cabin had a balcony and was well kept, clean and tidy. Our cabin steward was great as she was always ready with a smile and a greeting. We had a timed dining slot and were served by the same waiters throughout the cruise, they were brilliant. We built up a rapport with them as they came from India and the tests were being played. The food was very good and nothing was too much trouble for our waiters. Every meal we were asked if everything was ok, which we liked. We did try the restaurant for breakfast at the start of the cruise but ended up using the buffet instead as I wanted to choose what I wanted rather than get things off the set menu. The entertainment on the ship was fantastic. All the shows that we saw were West End standard. The entertainment team on the cruise were also very good. Plenty of different activities to take part in if you wanted to. We opted out of the service charge as the tips we gave were to the people who looked after us. As I was travelling with 2 less able walkers I booked the shore excursions online before we went. Oslo was expensive but beautiful, Gotland was full of history, Tallinn was wonderful and easily accessible on foot, Helsinki was amazing as we did the harbour cruise, St Petersburg was breath taking, the buildings were so grand that we couldn't understand how they survived the revolution, Warnemunde was the only place that it rained but it didn't detract us from walking around. Again it was easily accessible on foot. there were plenty of shops and cafes. Copenhagen was our last stop but the trip we took coincided with the visit of Mr Macron to the Queen. We managed to see the palaces but then got stuck in the traffic around the city as streets were closed and there were police everywhere. We did get to see the little mermaid. After that coach trip we were glad to be back on board. The tour guide was very apologetic but she did change the itinerary so that we could see the palaces before the police locked it down. We do like the Arcadia as it is an adults only ship and if we take another cruise it will probably be on that ship. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise as it took in 7 ports of call of interest. This was our 5th cruise with P&O but the first time on Arcadia. Weather was fine and calm which helped, but everything from food to entertainment was the best we have ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it took in 7 ports of call of interest. This was our 5th cruise with P&O but the first time on Arcadia. Weather was fine and calm which helped, but everything from food to entertainment was the best we have experienced. In the past some dishes in the restaurant were a little soggy such as chips and battered fish therefore we had avoided them but not so on this ship. Executive chef was Trevor Glass, well done to him and his team. Entertainment we saw most included Jo and Liv, Blue Wave and the Headliners all of which were excellent. Ship was well maintained and clean, staff very friendly and attentive, although there was the odd Arcadia pipe leak with a bucket under catching the water until repaired but don’t let this put you off. Thoroughly enjoyed by my wife and myself together with our friends who were first time cruisers. Mark W Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We have always wanted to sail on Arcadia so for our 35th wedding anniversary that is what we decided to do. We chose this particular cruise because it was a discovery cruise with new destinations we had not visited before and we were not ... Read More
We have always wanted to sail on Arcadia so for our 35th wedding anniversary that is what we decided to do. We chose this particular cruise because it was a discovery cruise with new destinations we had not visited before and we were not disappointed. Embarkation went well, straight through and onboard in under 10 minutes ( probably because we were the last coach to arrive having been held up waiting for 2 passengers). Our aft facing cabin was very comfortable and was kept nice and clean by our cabin steward Ajay. Our only complaint about the cabin was the grubby glass on the balcony, it was in need of a good scrubbing not just a wipe over. We found the service in the MDR to be very slow and miserable, when asked for a table for two on our second visiit (and last) we were taken to a table for four, when this was queried the waiter turned and walked away leaving us standing there like lemons. When he returned he took us to another table for four but said we could have it for two?? Yes we were confused as well! The buffet was not much better. Food was ok depending on what you had but not always hot. Thank goodness for The Ocean Grill! Yes you had to pay a service charge but the food and the service was amazing. The entertainment was good, the Headliners were the best we have seen and the comedian Fogwell Flax was brilliant! Disembarkation is another story, it was an absolute shambles. They crammed too many people into the Meridian dining room, no numbers given out and we were held there for 1 1/2 hours - not good!! Would I sail with P&O again - yes Would I sail on Arcadia again - no, she is not the best ship on the fleet by far Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Embarkation quick and easy good size cabin and balcony, pretty good service in the bars and restaurants and the food not so bad although its now more like good pub grub rather than fine dining. The main evening entertainment was much ... Read More
Embarkation quick and easy good size cabin and balcony, pretty good service in the bars and restaurants and the food not so bad although its now more like good pub grub rather than fine dining. The main evening entertainment was much better than of late with a couple of new shows by the resident team and some excellent guest entertainers. We arrived everywhere on time, enjoyed excellent weather and had no problems getting on and off the ship except in Oporto where there were long queues to get back on followed by further queues to hand over the booze bought on shore. This was the first stop and it got much better after that. BBQ's & Pancake days served around the main pool were a big hit on sea days. All this was good however why oh why do they keep spending money on carpets and furnishings when the plumbing is so dire. Hit and miss if a toilet will flush when you want it to and on two days we had no hot water. Reporting problems to reception gets the standard response "we will send a plumber" but none ever turns up, these are major problems affecting whole blocks of cabins (as we found out later) and if they were just honest and told us that we would have been less annoyed . Choosing a sea day to refurbish our balcony with half a dozen men traipsing back & forth, rubbing down and painting was not ideal and as this happened the day after the cabin steward had done a thorough clean of the balcony. There were notices threatening to remove belongings from unattended sunbeds but this never happened with many being "reserved" for hours without being used. Not much enforcement of the evening dress code. We have been loyal to P & O for more than 12 years but I think its time to change cruise lines. P&O really are losing the plot, many of the regular cruisers we have spoken to on this cruise agree that standards fall every time you step onboard. They now seem focussed on selling the spa, the specialist restaurants and over priced trips to the bridge or sail sways with officers. If half of that effort went into fixing the leaks and providing basic sanitation it would be a much better cruise experience. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Always wanted to go to the Baltics, but this cruise stood out as not many go to all the Capital cities plus St Petersburg, but this one did and the ports of call certainly didn't disappoint. St Petersburg was the stand out ... Read More
Always wanted to go to the Baltics, but this cruise stood out as not many go to all the Capital cities plus St Petersburg, but this one did and the ports of call certainly didn't disappoint. St Petersburg was the stand out highlight , but Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Oslo and Tallin were also excellent stops. Embarkation/Disembarkation was extremely smooth and easy. We went on Arcadia in her inaugaral year back in 2005 and she was a lovely ship, although I have to say now some 13 years on she is looking a little tired in some areas, mainly cabin and balconies. Public areas are ok, but nothing exciting. The entertainment in the Theatre was pretty mediocre, but some of the acts in the Lounge bars were very good. We were on Freedom dining and the food on th whole was very good without being outstanding. We ate at each of the select dining options, Sindhu was very good and The Ocean Grill provided the best starter I had on the entire cruise, but not sure that that the cover charge is worth it. Overall very enjoyable cruise, but that was down to the Ports more than the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We'd not cruised for nearly 20 years, and this time had a (now) grown up 19 year old daughter and an 83 year old mother in tow. We chose the Baltic as I had Danish heritage and we wanted to go somewhere we'd not normally visit. ... Read More
We'd not cruised for nearly 20 years, and this time had a (now) grown up 19 year old daughter and an 83 year old mother in tow. We chose the Baltic as I had Danish heritage and we wanted to go somewhere we'd not normally visit. We had connecting balcony cabins on E deck (E152/E156). The steward opened the balcony so we could share it, and we found the space and cabins really comfortable. Loved the food - mother had three course breakfast, lunch and dinner every day! We didn't need to go to the speciality restaurants, as we found the MDR excellent. We had a table for four near the stern with great views to starboard. The waiters (Peter, Lourenco and Sheila) were attentive and personable, and we got on really well with them. Mother, being less able these days, found the staff in the Belvedere buffet extremely helpful - they carried her tray to her table for her, and were excellent all round. The entertainment was really good - the Headliners' Bacharach and musical shows were great, the 'Two Guys One Piano' show was unique, funny and technically brilliant, and the opera singer was outstanding. Not so sure about the comedian, but I'm sure others enjoyed his routine. We went to the dance classes with Pamela and Peter - they were taxing but enjoyable. We were blessed with amazing weather throughout the cruise, and really enjoyed all the ports. We had P&O trips to St Petersburg, the beauty of which blew us away. Overall, despite the cost, we found the cruise excellent value for money and an overwhelmingly brilliant experience. We loved Arcadia - it's large but not 'too big', and we felt really comfortable. Only downside was the lack of daytime entertainment for our 19 year old. 'Knit and Natter' in the Crow's Nest, and 'Arthritis and Posture' talk are somewhat geared to the older crowd. We left feeling like we could do with two more weeks onboard and can't wait to cruise with P&O again. ...and you just have to do the journey into Stockholm! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Carolyn & I chose this cruise after booking in Aug 2017 to cruise to the Azores on Adonia. We enjoyed our first ever cruise on Adonia in Aug 2012. P & 0 sold Adonia early in 2018 & so we looked an alternative. We had sailed on ... Read More
Carolyn & I chose this cruise after booking in Aug 2017 to cruise to the Azores on Adonia. We enjoyed our first ever cruise on Adonia in Aug 2012. P & 0 sold Adonia early in 2018 & so we looked an alternative. We had sailed on Arcadia to the Fjords in June 2016 & so happily booked on her again. We stayed overnight at the Chilworth Manor and embarked at 12:30. We were seated for lunch in the Meridian by 1:00 and enjoyed a very pleasant buffet in good company. Our cabin with luggage was ready by 1:45. We use cabin B94, a mini suite. As ever the cabin was well-presented and very clean. The lifeboat muster meeting was managed efficiently and we were able to enjoy sailing away on the Aquarius Deck. As we got the ready for dinner we opened our champagne & enjoyed the canapés. Our choice for dining was freedom dining. We happily took a pager on the first night before enjoying a drink in the Piano Bar. The Meridian table manager apologies for putting us on table 1, but we are glad he did. The table 1 team of Esteven, Francis & Janine were friendly, attentive & work to an excellent standard of service. We used the pager on 11 more nights & always asked for,and were seated at table 1. The menus were consistently varied and interesting. I enjoy fish as my main course & had fish such Arctic char, witch sole. stone bass and sea bream. Carolyn enjoys soups and meat main courses and she was not disappointed. The vegetables were always cooked correctly. Desserts were tempting & delicious as was the Stilton and port! We ate once in Sindhu and had the Tasting Menu which was very good and used Belvedere for the Indian buffet on the 60s/70s night, again the food was great. We enjoyed leisurely breakfasts in Meridian, but used Belvedere when we went on early excursions. The variety & quality was good. Belvedere also did very light scones to enjoy with an afternoon cuppa. We enjoyed the entertainment in the bars, particularly Liv and Jo and the Misty Blues. Our favourite bar for late drinks was the Crow's Nest. All the ports and shore excursions were very interesting. The first port of Skagen at the very northerly tip of Jutland, Denmark was beautiful and well worth an early start that meant we were on the beach watching the North Sea & Baltic merge by 8:00 am, Some people we spoke to were not impressed by Skagen & questioned why the port had been visited. I think the Danish authorities insist on another Danish port if a cruise wants to visit Copenhagen. If so that is a good trade off! Our 2nd port was Stockholm & we awoke at 6:00 to enjoy the sail through the Stockholm Archipelago. We spotted a sea otter, 2 large birds of prey, cormorants, shags and lots of noisy crows on the increasingly inhabited islands as we approached the city. Our excursion was on the Ocean Bus which was entertaining & informative. We were able to enjoy coffe and cake in Stortorget before exploring the Gamla Stan in the afternoon. We saw the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. We visited the Storkyrken before a well-earned drink in the sun. The shuttle back to Arcadia was well-organised. The evening cruise in the Archipelago was like an extra excursion. P & O wisely swapped the days of the visits to Helsinki & Tallinn to avoid the Putin/Trump summit. We visited Porvoo Old Town to explore the media all streets, make purchases at a chocolate shop and visit the Lutheran Cathedral. Coffee and cold drinks at the Glassikon cafe near the Cathedral is highly recommended. In the afternoon we visited Haikko Manor, a very upmarket hotel and spa on an an inlet from the Baltic. There is a strong Romanov connection with the Manor which had beautiful rooms, grounds & views, as well as sticky buns! The weekend port was St Petersburg. I was pleased to wake early to see Kotlin Island, the home of the Kronstadt Naval Base. There was a mutiny there in 1921 & the Red Army walked out on the ice to deal harshly with the mutineers. We expected a long & tiresome process to go ashore, but the process through a relatively new cruise terminal was ok. Out first excursion was Panoramic St Petersburg which gave photo opportunities for all the main sights. Tatiana, guide was very good. She told jokes and gave us all Russian lesson. My highlight was visiting the cruiser Aurora. Arcadia was berthed less than a mile from the Krestovsky Stadiam where England played Belgium. The stadium lights changed colour and looked spectacular near a new bridge and the Lakota Tower the tallest building in Europe. In the evening we went to the ballet to enjoy Swan Lake in one of the oldest theatres in the city. The building was spectacular and the performance was brilliant! On Sunday morning we had a champagne breakfast in our cabin, though we saved the champagne for the evening. Fruit, cheese, cold meats, pastries with tea & coffee was more than enough & we saved some pastries for elevenses! In the afternoon we went on the Peter Paul Fortress and River cruise excursion. Once again Yuri, the guide, was insightful, amusing and very efficient as he moved the tour through the Fortess on a very hot day. The prison was fascinating and the Cathedral contained the tombs of the Romanov Family, including the Royal Family who were killed at Ekaterinburg in 1918. We sailed for Tallinn on Sunday evening & got even better views of Kotlin Island before dinner. We were berthed at Tallin by 6:30 and was able get photos of the medieval town from the deck before the Costa Magica moored alongside us! The day was to be a hot one. Gregor, the guide, provided a real understanding of Estonia's history. The highlight was a recital of medieval music in one of the many churches in the Old Town. Tallinn was very busy! 4 ships were in port all larger than Arcadia. Perhaps the Helsinki summit added to the congestion, but as Gregor said at least we understood how busy a medieval Baltic port town would have been centuries ago. I know modern Tallinn smells nicer than the Old Town would have been! Our penultimate port was to be Copenhagen.We arrived at the Langeline Cruise Terminal by by 10 am. We had visited Copenhagen in 2011 for a city break & so opted to visit Frederiksberg Castle at Hillerod & Kronborg Castle at Helsingor. Both sites have convinced us to visit again one day. The drive back to the city was along the Strandvej, th richest road in Denmark. It's 40 km of prime property, small harbours and attractive beaches. We had time for a stroll near the Kastellet and have a coffee and a Holly bar before going aboard. Oslo was to be the final port. The 60 km long & provided a great introduction to a lively city. We took the Fjord cruise on the old boat Helena. The commentary by the guide who had studied at Lincoln Uni took us through 10000 years of history. A prawn buffet lunch with a glass of rose & a cold was most enjoyable. The new Opera House is spectacular and the view from the Fjord gave beautiful panoramas on another stunning day of weather. The Helena returned to its mooring below the Akershus Fort which we visted to take in different views and an outdoor drama performance of a 19th tear jerker! We then moved on to the Slottsparken via the Raadshussen and historic ships moored nearby. The park at the Royal Palace provided welcome shade and we too photos of very healthy hydrangeas and other attractive plants. We made our way back to the Aker Brygge after coffee, cold drinks & cake in an air conditioned cafe! The bars & restaurants, including Jamie's Italian & TGI Friday, in the modern development on the Aker Brygge were all doing great business! I was disappointed that the Seaside Bar had run out of Norwegian beer and had to choose between a Carlsberg or a Kronenburg! There was plenty of prosecco for Carolyn! The evening cruise out to sea did not disappoint on a beautiful evening with a very bright half moon. The 2 sea days back to Southampton were enjoyed in fine weather on calm seas. We packed slowly, took the opportunity to catch up our reading, had swims, played quoits & golf and enjoyed a very tasty afternoon tea in Meridian. All the staff in all departments of the ship were friendly, polite, helpful and efficient. Roly, our cabin steward, was particularly helpful throughout. This cruise was only our 3rd in 6 years all with P & O. As you will probably have seen by reading our review we still get excited about the experience & thoroughly enjoy our time at sea. I appreciate that some will take issue with some of our comments, but it takes all sorts! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our third cruise with P&O and to say we were disappointed with the ship would be an understament. The locations we visited were spectacular, the crew and staff could not do enough for you, but the ship and P&O seem to ... Read More
This was our third cruise with P&O and to say we were disappointed with the ship would be an understament. The locations we visited were spectacular, the crew and staff could not do enough for you, but the ship and P&O seem to be failing in many areas. The following is just a few examples of the issues we had on the cruise, some may seem trivial but all together they had an effect. The first thing we had issues over was the toilet in our cabin, every day we had issues with it not flushing and had to keep on reporting it. The toilets on the Belvedere deck at the back of the ship were blocked a few times to overflowing. The air conditioning unit in our cabin although on maximum was very inafective, I fact could not be felt at all most days. The food I’m my view was well below the standard expected of a company like P&O, it was the same thing every day with the exception of the odd speciality meal, never very hot either. The cream for desserts was like eating gravel in thick milk, not nice at all. The cakes were lovely to look at but the taste was somewhat disappointing to say the least. On a more positive not there was always plenty of tea coffee and milk. The resturant for freedom dinners was when full very hot, considering the outside temperature was 30+, no air conditioning was noticeable at all making eating very uncomfortable. The prices on the ship for goods are way way inflated. A notice on the counter in the shop says that they are competitive in price and duty free. I went to purchase a pencil case for my grand son, a simple cheep plastic pencil case you can buy from other outlets for around £1, however on the ship this was just short of £10. Russian dolls starting at £400 then £600 and just short of £1000 the same ones in st Petersburg 30, 70 and 100 Euro. Other goods on the ship like gold and silver plated chain at £1.50 an inch, sales staff trying to get you to purchase jewellery constantly being pushy with items that again seemed to be over priced. The price of drinks we noted had increased since our last cruise, but the glasses seem to be smaller. Transfer busses from port to city locations were once free now you have to pay for them. Don’t even bother thinking about purchasing currency on the ship. We purchased some currency for when we were in Helsinki, as we did not use it all we sold it back after about three hours and lost nearly £10 in exchange rates. Ships lifts out of action for the duration of the cruise, a spa pool empty and out of order for the whole duration of the cruise. One of the two pools empty for three days on what were very hot days, yet had been full on departure. Overall look of the ship felt tired, damage to ships fittings not being replaced, one particular light had a smashed globe on it , trivial it may seem but it was the first thing you spotted on the sun deck. Sun chairs covered in soot and oil from the ships funnel, whilst the white part of the seats were cleaned down as much a possible the blue parts were not so your cloths ended up being stained. All it would have taken was to put a cover over the chairs at night when stacked. Wooden chairs that hold the life vested on deck 3 were varnished during the day so they could not be used, along with the railing tops on deck three. All in all not happy at all. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
having sailed on this ship before and having lots of problems on it was, wondering if it would be the same. Having said that P&O were very helpful to us and we had already booked this cruise before sailing on the last. So we had a ... Read More
having sailed on this ship before and having lots of problems on it was, wondering if it would be the same. Having said that P&O were very helpful to us and we had already booked this cruise before sailing on the last. So we had a wonderful cruise the weather of course made it even more enjoyable. The scenery was outstanding. CABIN We had changed our cabin because of the trouble on the last cruise and booked the larger inside, it was brilliant lots of room more like a suite, plenty of storage space, nice large flat screen tv the usual channels and films. Great cabin boy Brian who looked after us exceptionally well even though he had many more cabins to look after. MDR restaurant was great sat on a different table of 6 each night, really good company and conversations. Food good too yum yum BUFFET belvedere was good always exceptionally busy but always managed to find a seat. We only ate in the buffet for breakfast, lunch and sometimes afternoon tea, food ok lots of choice. ENTERTAINMENT the theatre shows were excellent, the headliners team work very hard to put on a good show for us. Mike Doyle the comedian was great just couldn't stop laughing he was on twice. Indigo May was good, they were a duo wonderful singing. Jo & Liv were excellent, they were Irish singers Jo was quite hilarious too. The only thing i would say about the Arcadia is it lacks the alternative entertainment which you get on the other same size ships (mid size) all in all we had a lovely cruise. I will say the atrium is awful Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We had a balcony cabin and sailing from Southampton for a belated 40th wedding anniversary. An extensive wine list and reasonably priced, A bottle of St Emilion Grand Cru 2012 was £24-95 around the price in Majestic or Waitrose ... Read More
We had a balcony cabin and sailing from Southampton for a belated 40th wedding anniversary. An extensive wine list and reasonably priced, A bottle of St Emilion Grand Cru 2012 was £24-95 around the price in Majestic or Waitrose ashore. Excellent food but whatever time we came the Freedom Dining was busy and we had pagers several times and delays. P&O should drop Haugesund - Not worth the stop (Bergen better). We had fabulous hot and sunny weather with 29C in Olden. Flam is a very lovely little place and the mountain train trip up to Myrdal is bucket list good. The stop by the falls with the mystical music and dancing spirits is good fun too. Good entertainment. One gripe - why no proper filter decaffeinated coffee - even after dinner instant decaf coffee served. Come on P%&O - not classy! Overall very enjoyable. Shame that P&O prices for future cruises seem steep. We plan on a Baltic cruise in June 2019 and Celebrity are higher rated; bigger cabins and better deal Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Our 15th cruise with P&O and our first on Arcadia, which means that we have now been on all ships in the P&O fleet at least once, so can make direct comparisons between them all. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see the Fjords ... Read More
Our 15th cruise with P&O and our first on Arcadia, which means that we have now been on all ships in the P&O fleet at least once, so can make direct comparisons between them all. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see the Fjords to Flaam and Olden, as our previous attempt (on Britannia) failed as P&O cancelled both ports a few months before (this has happened at least 6 times that I know of with Britannia). The itinerary certainly didn't disappoint. Both places were lovely and the cruises down the very long fjords were spectacular, especially as we had an aft corner wrap suite, which enabled us to enjoy some evening meals on the huge balcony whilst soaking in the views. Stavanger was pleasant (but we have been twice before) and Haugesund was interesting but like a ghost town - even though we were there Friday lunchtime! Although we very much liked our suite and we particularly enjoyed the Ocean Grill (Marco Pierre White restaurant), we found the main dining room (Meridian) to be the first poor one that we have experienced with P&O. The food was fine, but the layout is very poor. Tables for four were too small and a large proportion were alongside the main thoroughfare around the restaurant, so were not relaxing at all. We are used to having to take a pager for evening meals at peak times (Freedom dining) but have never had to stand around waiting for a table to become available at lunchtime before - yet we had to do this several times. I was told by a staff member that the waiters don't like this particular restaurant either and, frankly, you could tell. We are great fans of the main dining rooms elsewhere in the fleet (especially Aurora, which is superb) but not this one. P&O had just introduced new lunchtime menus on this ship, which are downright confusing. Rather than just list starters, main courses and desserts, you now have all sorts of random headings and now don't know whether what you have ordered is a starter or main course size - or whether it's hot or cold! This was catching a lot of people out, not just us. Given how poor the main dining room was, we really missed not having a Glasshouse (which we enjoy for a late lunch after a morning ashore, or when the main dining room menu doesn't appeal) or a Beach House (for when you are after something more casual). We avoid the buffet like the plague, but our adult daughters used it and said that the food areas were too small and had limited choice. We very much enjoyed the ability for suite passengers to have breakfast in Sindhu and the staff there were fantastic. It also saved us 7 further visits to the poor main dining room. We had one evening meal there and, again, the table was too small for four (tables for two were the same size). Even though curry is my absolute favourite food, I do not like Sindhu's take on it (same on all the other ships) but the three ladies all loved it (as they always do), so do not be deterred. The Headliners troupe on this cruise were all very good (that's not always the case) but none of the other entertainment appealed and, as has become the norm, daytime entertainment was dire. Embarkation was a little delayed due to a problem with the air bridge at the QE2 terminal. This still hadn't been fixed by our return, so we disembarked at City Cruise Terminal so, as well as now having travelled on all P&O ships, we have now used all Southampton cruise terminals! So, overall, it was the itinerary and the fact that we were very relieved to have booked a suite that made the cruise acceptable, but we wouldn't rush to return to Arcadia as it is now our least favourite P&O ship. By contrast, Aurora is our favourite, although the absence of an Epicurean restaurant (the one on Britannia is our favourite restauarant at sea) means that no ship is perfect. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I've been to the Fjords of Norway twice but never get bored of its stunning natural beauty. This cruise didn't disappoint. Arcadia is a lovely ship. Understated decor with a small atrium yes, but has a real wow factor from the ... Read More
I've been to the Fjords of Norway twice but never get bored of its stunning natural beauty. This cruise didn't disappoint. Arcadia is a lovely ship. Understated decor with a small atrium yes, but has a real wow factor from the outside, handles the seas extremely well being a Vista Class vessel and has a lovely blend of restaurants and amenities on board She's classy and elegant without feeling ostentatious or old fashioned. Tastefully refreshed after a dry-dock, she is looking and feeling great but could still do with a focal point in the Atrium to really set it off.... Having sailed numerous times on Cunard's Queen Victoria, P&O's Britannia, Aurora, Azura and Ventura, this is my 7th time on Arcadia making her my favourite by a mile. It was true to say this particular cruise attracted an older crowd, but most ages were present (I am 37!) and they all seemed a happy and bright bunch, happy with the ship and its undoubtedly happy and attentive crew. Some lovely touches both in terms of service and little extras which were appreciated and enjoyed. Only couple of things that were sad to see were a few buckets catching some leaks from the ceiling of Deck 2, and silly unnecessary stuck on signs warning about glass doors where ever we went - due to some half wit walking into one once and threatening to sue P&O no doubt. Ignore any moaners and myths about 'Arcadia' Cough etc - all just complete rubbish. I will never tire of this ship, and look forward to many more cruise on her in the future including a full World Cruise in a couple of years time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Wanted to try different cruise line, but sadly disappointed. The food in main dining room was very good and the breakfast in Sindhu (for suite guests). The lady in the library was unhelpful and quite rude when I asked for help registering ... Read More
Wanted to try different cruise line, but sadly disappointed. The food in main dining room was very good and the breakfast in Sindhu (for suite guests). The lady in the library was unhelpful and quite rude when I asked for help registering the internet. There was no dry cleaning service which was annoying as it was advertised, all other cruise lines I have used give dry cleaning facility, and Holland America give it free to suite guests. Very frustrating when your clothes are not washable. The canapés delivered to our room were awful, as was the food in the buffet, very sloppy. The entertainment was geared round the forties and fifties and even older as was the music. Arcadia May be an adult only ship but they should cater for a more diverse age range that pleases everyone. I have cruised 13 times now and I won’t be using p and o again. The could learn so much from Holland America and NCL which in my view are way in front in every department. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We picked this cruise because it left from Southampton (no flying) and visited countries we had not seen before at the right time of year. The drive to Southampton was smooth and we arrived at 12.15, with a couple of hours to spare, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it left from Southampton (no flying) and visited countries we had not seen before at the right time of year. The drive to Southampton was smooth and we arrived at 12.15, with a couple of hours to spare, the port parking were very organised and efficient. We expected to sit in the departure lounge but were processed straight away and on the ship in the buffet by 12.30, cabins were ready by 12.45. Our cabin was a standard inside, C deck forward, adequate but clean and tidy, very quiet at night and a fantastic cabin steward. Arcadia is an adult only ship, with few people on board under retirement age and a lot with poor mobility. We had fixed dining at 18.30, the menus were varied and always well cooked, we used the buffet on black tie nights because we didn't dress up for them (the majority of people dressed up for black tie, some of them going a bit over the top), the buffet food was hit and miss, limited in selection occasionally. Breakfast was a bit "smash and grab" in the buffet so we went to the MDR if we were up early enough. The poolside grill served lovely fish and chips in the afternoons too. The ship was clean and smart, there were always crew to be seen cleaning handrails and surfaces down or painting parts of the ship. There were a couple of buckets about catching water drips, certainly around the retractable roof of the pool. The swimming pools were small but we enjoyed using them in the hot weather, the jacuzzi 's were rather weak but heated. On one day we bought tickets for the hydropool and steam rooms, this was fantastic, hot and powerful, and we were the only ones using them. There were several musicians to choose from to listen to during the day, some better than others, we ended up watching a guitarist/singer most evenings because we found the main headliners show much too loud to enjoy, they need to sort their sound system out. We did not attend any of the daytime entertainment, it was aimed more at the elderly guests than ourselves, other than quizzes there was bingo, ballroom dance lessons, knit and natter, painting, and talks on the Queens household. The crew are all friendly and welcoming, smiling and will try to assist with anything you ask. The excursions booked varied, Easy Marseilles and Port trip wasn't easy and only spent 20 minutes in the port, but the Lisbon amphibious duck tour was fabulous with an excellent tour guide. We also enjoyed the catamaran trip and swim in Palma, not quite what we expected but a good day none the less, I do think there should have been someone checking the safety of swimmers, it seemed a bit slap dash with no counting of passengers at any time but the day was relaxed, I swam with fish, the bbq was ok and the sun shone. Gibraltar we used a taxi tour from the dock, this was great too, we saw the apes, St Michaels cave and the siege tunnels and went to lookout points. Classical Rome and Pompeii tours from the ship were both organised and well run, crowds of people at both sites but we saw what we went for. Cartagena we wandered around ourselves, the museum and Roman amphitheater were marvelous. We self disembarked with ease and were driving out of the port by 07.20, all very organised. All in all a good cruise, it is definitely the way to travel, I would go again but would probably not go with P&O, I would research the cruise line next time and go on a ship which is more relaxed about dress codes and has a younger age group. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because there were a number of ports we have not visited before. i can say that we were not disappointed, The main highlights were sailing in and out of Venice, Split and Dubrovnik. Service was excellent in all ... Read More
We chose this cruise because there were a number of ports we have not visited before. i can say that we were not disappointed, The main highlights were sailing in and out of Venice, Split and Dubrovnik. Service was excellent in all departments and we found the ship in good condition and looks well after her refit. this was our first adult only cruise and it had its share of grumpy old people A couple of observations 1. I have never had to be in the theatre 45 mins before the performances to get a seat The entertainment team had there work cutout filling spare seats to pack everyone in. 2. Alot of queuing to get into freedom dining. I think it is getting more and more popular than fixed. 3. The position of the Costa near the cinema seems a waste of time. The entertainment team worked hard especially as the average age was 'elderly'. Overall a good cruise but personally prefer a bigger ship with more space and entertainment venues. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I was on this ship in 2018 and also had been on it in 2008. Over the ten years a number of items are in need of attention. In my balcony cabin, one of the high storage bins handle came off in my hand when I opened it. A small mat placed ... Read More
I was on this ship in 2018 and also had been on it in 2008. Over the ten years a number of items are in need of attention. In my balcony cabin, one of the high storage bins handle came off in my hand when I opened it. A small mat placed adjacent to the balcony door was curled up to the extent that it posed a significant tripping hazard. On my balcony, there was significant corrosion on the gunwale, the handrail was in need of sanding and varnishing and the lock on the balcony door was significantly corroded. Ten years ago P&O said that their tipping policy was to provide envelopes to allow customers to tip anyone they wished. That changed to the American style automatic tipping added to you bill - now at £7 per person per day! I told my cabin steward on day one that I would be tipping him personally and removed the automatic tipping at reception. I was very annoyed to receive a letter near the end of the cruise, which noted that I had removed the automatic tipping and inviting me to reinstate it. What really annoyed me was that this letter was not in an envelope and was hand delivered by the steward - a serious breach of customer confidentiality in my view. The staff were all great and helpful and that made up for some of the negatives. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We were a party of four (aged 59, 60 & 70). We've tried to list the many highlights (of which they were lots) and to give a balanced review some things we think could be different (not many I can assure you). So here's ... Read More
We were a party of four (aged 59, 60 & 70). We've tried to list the many highlights (of which they were lots) and to give a balanced review some things we think could be different (not many I can assure you). So here's a go...... Embarkation - so quick meaning our holiday started immediately Staff - second to none especially the Waiters in the Meridian Restaurant (Saviour & Prakash). Ship - loved everything Entertainment - great team and the Headlines were superb Food - loved it - mainly ate in the Meridian but tried the Buffet and enjoyed that too Sindhu - loved it we went several times. Ports - all great.......cant say our favourite as enjoyed them all. Sail away parties - great fun Some things to improve or change.... Make the Taormina excursion longer - think this could be done easily Coach to Dubrovnik - we had a cab at a fraction of the price and right outside the Ship pick up and drop off Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise as my mum isn’t very mobile and we didn’t plan to do excursions. Our mini suite was very large and well presented. Our cabin was kept pristine by Javier. The food in all areas was really good and the wine ... Read More
We chose this cruise as my mum isn’t very mobile and we didn’t plan to do excursions. Our mini suite was very large and well presented. Our cabin was kept pristine by Javier. The food in all areas was really good and the wine was . We had a number of extras. I had a hair pamper day which was really good value for money. We also had a spa day and as it was a day we were in port we had it all to ourselves, which was rather nice. There was various entertainments every day and you would find it hard to say there wasn’t something for everyone, from bingo and quizzes to plays and musicals. My mum isn’t very good in her pins and the staff in all areas couldn’t have been more attentive and helpful. I wouldn’t hesitate to book with P&O again. Thank you to all. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first time cruise, we chose the Norwegian Fjords as it was short cruise in case we did'nt like it.We loved it .The embarkation was smooth although our check in time was three we were able to board the boat early at two o ... Read More
This was our first time cruise, we chose the Norwegian Fjords as it was short cruise in case we did'nt like it.We loved it .The embarkation was smooth although our check in time was three we were able to board the boat early at two o clock no bother.Our cabin was spotless great start, our cabin steward introduce herself made us feel very welcome.We chose freedom dinning although the food was excellent we thought the waiters could of had better customer service a smile would of been nice.We use the Belevere restaurant after this found the staff much more polite.We also tried the fine dinning it was fabulous the staff there were really nice,food was out of this world.We also opt for room service in the morning for breakfast and the waiter who serve us every morning was cheerful always asking about our day really friendly.we thought the entertainment was good although you had to get there early to get a seat especially the early one.The ports we visited was great except the last one Haugesung it was very disappointing maybe we should of booked an excursion for this one,never mind.Although when we arrived at this port a jazz band was playing and when we left a brass band which was brilliant.The Fjords themselves was breathtaking.We will definitely go on another cruise trying to decide which one now. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this ship purely for the Geiranger Fjord destination. The fjords were beautiful. I asked at Reception what time we would be docking in Geiranger, because we wanted to wake up early and see the ship sail in. I was given a time, ... Read More
We chose this ship purely for the Geiranger Fjord destination. The fjords were beautiful. I asked at Reception what time we would be docking in Geiranger, because we wanted to wake up early and see the ship sail in. I was given a time, but the ship actually docked much much earlier, so we missed the sail in, despite getting up early, which was very disappointing. Geiranger was a beautiful, as was Flam. Our first port was Bergen. We arrived there on a Sunday, when everything was closed. At the tours presentation we were told all the things to see, but they knew full well that most places would be closed. The final port was Haugasund, which was an industrial port, not a pretty fjord destination. It did not fit with the itinerary and many passengers were disappointed with this port, especially as Stavanger was just a short way down the coast. I need a gluten-free diet, which P&O knew in advance. None of the buffet food was labelled with food allergens and I was told on the first day by the staff in there, not to eat in the buffet at all. All my meals in the main restaurant had to be pre-ordered the night before, so my choices were very limited. None of the gluten-free cakes were fresh; they were all brought in pre-packaged and stale. This really put a damper on my holiday. I have never had this problem with other cruise companies. The entertainment was good, although there was too much strobe lighting in some of the shows in the theatre. The ship has recently had a refit, but there was still quite a lot of maintenance work being done. The cabins were clean and spacious and the bed very comfortable. The two formal nights were very good, with most men wearing dinner suits and ladies in long or cocktail dresses. These nights were better than formal nights on some of the other cruise lines. On the morning of the last port day, it started to feel like our cruise was over and we were surplus to requirements. The waiters and chefs paraded through the buffet, so everyone could thank them for the food - yet we still had two more days to go. That evening, again there was a parade in the main dining room with the entertainment compere thanking them for their food. That evening in the theatre, as we were waiting for the show to start, a video was playing showing us what shows we had enjoyed throughout the cruise, yet we had two more shows to see. On the last day, just before introducing the guest speaker at 11am, the entertainment compere asked if everyone was packed. To cap it all, most of our suitcases had to be outside the cabins before we went for dinner on the last night, not at 11pm, as on other cruise lines. At 6pm, when many people wanted to go for dinner, most of the lifts were out of order so that the luggage could be moved. To cap it all, after the final show, about 11.15pm, the compere told us that our cruise wasn't over as some of the bars were still open! Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth, although a welcome drink would have been a nice touch. P&O certainly does not have the edge when it comes to customer satisfaction, which is very disappointing. I won't be booking another cruise with them in a hurry! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We have sailed with several companies and overall decided as we were going to be on board for 52 nights on P&O because it is less formal than some, although the food choice is more limited than others. We had a fabulous time and ... Read More
We have sailed with several companies and overall decided as we were going to be on board for 52 nights on P&O because it is less formal than some, although the food choice is more limited than others. We had a fabulous time and generally everyone on board was extremely helpful and polite. The entertainment was excellent with very interesting lectures and port reviews. We found that the excursions offered something for everyone. Just a few words of warning! If you are embarking in Brisbane, be warned that their are 2 ports and if you get it wrong, it will cost you over £100 in taxi fares! No one seems to know this and several of the P&O staff told us that everybody goes to the wrong port!!!! Well, having paid £100 to get to the right port, we did not see the funny side. Having got over this, the staff were so helpful and friendly, but our rating will be low. Our cabin balcony, D117, left a lot to be desired. Not only was it not clean on our arrival and nor did it get cleaned for our trip, but on several days, it smelt so badly that we could not open the door. We complained several times but were given different stories, such as, it depended which way the wind was blowing/the life boats smelt etc. Finally, we investigated ourselves, found a vent on Deck 3 from an 'engine' room, asked a passing engineer and found that this was the problem. We then reported this back and were given £100 off our bill! We do not get the feeling that this will be investigated anytime soon. And finally and this actually upset us the most! Having had a fabulous relationship with our cabin steward, on the last night of our trip, he took it upon himself to remove our remaining personal items from the cupboards so he could clean the cabin for the next passengers who would be joining the following day. Now on several levels this cannot be right. 1. We paid for that night. 2. That doesn't seem very hygienic as we are still using the cabin and 3. We do not appreciate our toiletries etc. being placed in our bags. We have complained, twice about this, but have heard nothing back, hence our comments here. Not good enough. P&O, we can forgive certain things and we do think you are brilliant overall, but PLEASE LISTEN when we report a problem. Sometimes, it's not what goes wrong that causes anxiety, it's the way it's dealt with. Hence rating underneath. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in ... Read More
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in Belverede (Buffet) was like Boarding School - small display and not very appertising Food in Main Dining Room was either great or average. Staff everywhere onboard I found very pleasant. There are some nice Public spaces on board being 'Adults only' it made the Swimming Pools and Buffet areas a lot more civilized. Shops were a non event. Embarkation was the fastest ever Disembarkation was a bit slow, due to different messages from P&O Staff and Border Security. The Fishermans Grain Wharf at Brisbane is around a 25min cab ride to the Airport and cost $63 - we did not pull in at Hamilton which is about 10mins from the airport. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018

This is an honest, tell it how it is review. Being wholly objective, it may also carry a little excess baggage as I, a 63 year old, grappling with the transition from being a 2-4 week holidaymaker to a world traveller! Passengers ... Read More

This is an honest, tell it how it is review. Being wholly objective, it may also carry a little excess baggage as I, a 63 year old, grappling with the transition from being a 2-4 week holidaymaker to a world traveller! Passengers who joined the ship for a three week leg, might view the ship’s offerings and routines as fresh and new. Such customers might reasonably be considered as holidaymakers; quite a different animal from the diehards who come on board for the long-haul. The 500 or so who signed up for longish voyages are travellers and, they travel for many legitimate and differing reasons: boredom at home, company, to be looked after, to escape the British winter, non-flyers, repositioning, once in a lifetime adventure, etc. Many of these are ‘see you next year’ repeat world cruisers. Like I say, I am struggling with the transition! Positives: Arcadia is a quiet, comfortable ship...like an old armchair (though a little tatty in places). Overall, the dining experience was good (Belvedere excluded). Entertainment; this particular Headliners Company were exceptional. Some wonderful ports of call Alotau, San Francisco, Napier, Nha Trang, Singapore. No fighting for deck chairs on Arcadia...acres of space. Service was uniformly excellent throughout. Dance hosts Brenda & Jeffrey converted many non-dancers. Superb. Quiet ship, everyone in bed early…little to do after the theatre show. Negatives: No meaningful second entertainment / cabaret venue. Due to the above, the ship was quiet from 9.30pm (i.e. post theatre). Areas of the ship smelled foul throughout the 12 week cruise. (Mid-ships next to the shops). Excessive use of smoke effect (mist) in the theatre. Universally slated by visiting entertainers and the viewing public. The ship needs an overhaul not just an engine refit. Extremely dated. Too many quizzes, day and night. Cheap and cheerful? No, just cheap! If we want a quiz we go to our local. Not what we hoped for on a world tour. Dining 3/5 The Meridian Restaurant delivered a good (not great) selection of food served warm (rarely if ever hot). The levels of service were influenced by variables such as the waiting team, distance of your table from the galley, dramas in the kitchen etc. Comparable with banquet catering served at say, a family wedding rather than a fine dining experience. None the less, the Meridian (main dining room) would score 4/5. The Belvedere buffet was another story. The choice, quality and presentation of food was mediocre to poor. Even by P&O's moderate standards this 'restaurant' left a lot to be desired. With the possible exception of Curry Night, this place should be avoided if possible. Score 2/5. Hence the overall dining score of 3/5. Sindhu, P&O's Asian fine dining restaurant seemed to attract mixed views; rather like Marmite! We don't like Marmite so 2/5. The Ocean Grill (by day the ship's officers mess, by night Marco Pierre White's fine dining experience) was incredibly popular, with generally good to excellent reviews. Whether this popularity was due to the need to utilise the copious on-board spending money to be found on a World Cruise or, truly reflected the quality of food and service on offer might be debated. In our opinion, it is not as good as say The Epicurean Restaurant on Azura/Ventura where the extra charge is double that for The Ocean Grill. None the less, in terms of food quality, service and value for money it rates 4/5. Dining room dress code Interesting! At the start of the cruise, Southampton to say San Francisco, there were typically three formal nights each week... too many. As the passenger mix changed around the Pacific rim (many more Australians joined the ship), formal nights were reduced to one per week. The Aussies were welcome for any number of reasons and ruffled a few feathers with their ideas on formal wear! What's wrong with a dash of colour and a hairy leg? Room Service This was generally good to excellent. Of course it was somewhat limited in choice when compared to the restaurant however it was cooked to order, often hot and for the most part, delivered on time. Please note, some items were chargeable. In our experience, this is probably the only way to get warmish toast on board. 4/5. Cafe Vivo, tucked away in the dark, no doubt as an afterthought of the ship's architect; was illuminated by excellent staff who brought sunshine to it's customers. Much too small and poorly positioned. 4/5. Entertainment 2/5 P&O offers a largely British cruising experience. None the less, on this a World cruise, the passenger profile was truly mixed and included Brits, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Americans, amongst many others. Given the above passenger profile, the entertainment was not surprisingly geared towards British Commonwealth tastes. It is not so long since P&O Cruise Directors proudly introduced their entertainment team of sixteen staff. On this cruise (a world cruise) the now Entertainment Manager introduced his team of six. A sign of the times? Headliners Theatre personnel were excellent on this cruise. From memory, they presented nine different shows all of which we had seen on previous cruises; these were repeating for the third time during our 82 days on board Arcadia. Some might call this repetitive. Guest entertainers (the usual suspects) were largely flown out to join the ship and varied in standard. For example, an “alternative comedian" who normally performs in a late night show lounge / night club venues on Arcadia’s sister ships found himself starring at Arcadia's theatre. A poor fit, but little choice really since there is no alternative showroom / cabaret venue (see Cinema notes below). Local entertainers / cultural performers were also engaged as the ship moved from continent to continent The Globe, a 200 seater utility room is used for dancing (users complain that the floor is much too small with tensions often mounting between sequence and ballroom dancers as they vie for space), classical recitals, occasional musical 'jams' featuring the ships orchestra and other in-house musicians. Bars/Lounges. There is music of some description in each of the bars and lounges as the in-house musicians play their own brand of musical chairs and rotate venues each evening. No criticism of the musicians; however extensive their repertoire, some performances became tedious and repetitive over our twelve weeks on board. The Retreat, another small, utilitarian facility is primarily used for ballroom, sequence or line dancing, either for lessons during the day, or, as an alternative to The Globe during the evening. The Retreat is much smaller than The Globe, therefore far from ideal. Guest speakers were shipped out (from the UK) on a regular basis and once again varied in attractiveness dependent on your taste. Most notably, Eric (Knocker) Knowles, Wayne Sleep and Lord Michael Howard offered lectures on their chosen subjects and life in general. Listed like this it sounds varied and interesting however in reality, the overall quality of the speakers lacked sparkle. As an aside, does Mr Knowles reside permanently on cruise ships? We have seen him perform on four previous cruises in the past couple of years. The Ocean Room is a multi-purpose facility busy delivering art, crafts and card lessons by day but, idle at night. Could be better utilised as a revenue earning second venue after dark. Service 5/5 The service throughout the ship was uniformly excellent, particularly the reception. Often receiving the brunt of complaints from frustrated passengers we witnessed the reception staff defuse potentially difficult circumstances. Dragana and Sandra were outstanding. 5/5. Cabin 3/5 The deluxe balcony cabin on D deck was both comfortable and serviceable, if a little tired in places. Previous cruiser's mishaps on the room carpets and soft furnishings were permanent and there for all to see. The decor and layout is now dated with the ludicrously positioned bed lamps the butt of many visiting comedians. Constant warnings about the frailties of the toilet system seemed to be heeded by the guests. Our cabin's w.c. backed up only once during the nearly three month cruise. The balcony and balcony furniture (2 x deck chairs, 1 x leg stool, 1 x service table) were also a little tired. The cabin stewards worked extremely hard to keep the room in good order and they are to be commended. The air-conditioning, whilst in theory adjustable, was fierce. Anecdotally, several passengers we met claimed to seek medical advice for sore throat/chest infections citing the air-con. Shore Excursions 4/5 Normally we steer clear of these due to overpricing and generally being poor value for money. Somewhat different on the World Cruise it seems, with P&O upping their game considerably...on most occasions. Interesting itineraries, informative tour guides, great lunches when included, bottled water available on many tours etc. Even allowing for the exotic nature of the ports of call; in our opinion and to our surprise, most tours genuinely rated 4/5. Cinema 1/5 What a waste of space with only thirty seats some of which remained unserviceable and unavailable throughout the cruise. Previewing at the cinema tonight - shown in the cabin tomorrow night. The cinema, Cafe Vivo, Ocean room should be converted as one to a much bigger day time craft/arts/card room but convertible to a second venue/showroom at night. Cafe Vivo could be easily moved further aft where coffee is already served. Having written, read, posted and re-read this review, I cannot help feeling that I have allowed it to exude a little too much negativity. Look, you call it as you see and experience it. Several of our shipmates thoroughly (five stars) enjoyed every aspect of the ship; they loved the knitting, colouring-in, sing-a-longs, craft, Spanish language, ballroom / sequence dancing and card classes. Given the length of this cruise there was inevitable repetition in food and entertainment; completely understandable and, perhaps on reflection, fully anticipatable. The ship is geared up for senior citizens, the proverbial old folks home at sea. Not quite ready for that just yet.
 Ports of Call Southampton 3/5 Embarkation day. No time to explore this trip. From previous visits it could be said that Southampton is a utilitarian city, functional rather than spectacular. Yes, the city walls and architecture are interesting, the shopping centres are enticing but overall, would I travel to Southampton if I was not cruising..hmm? Funchal, Madeira 5/5 Despite numerous visits to Funchal, the island capital never ceases to enchant. A ten to fifteen minute walk over mainly flat surfaces will bring you into the centre. Visit the fruit and flower market, take the cable car up to Monte and come back down on the famous wicker baskets. Taste the world renowned Madeira wine, enjoy the year round floral displays...the list goes on. Bridgetown, Barbados 5/5 So you want a beach, take your pick...too many to choose from. You want history, visit the forts, English style churches, Bridgetown cricket ground (ten minutes walk from the ship), visit Trafalgar Square. Rum factories, fruit plantations, beautiful scenery. Barbados has the lot. The cruise terminal is situated approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes walk from the centre of Bridgetown, mostly on flat though slightly uneven surfaces. Normally it is hot so a taxi might be a good bet. Willemstad, Curacao, Dutch Antilles 4/5 There are two main docking areas. If you are lucky you can enjoy a dramatic sail in/sail away as the ship encounters the narrowest and prettiest of harbour entrances; allowing you to converse with onlookers shoreside with the greatest of ease. Otherwise, you park-up at a more utilitarian pier just outside Willemstad's walled centre. The city is small but perfectly formed with the entry over the floating bridge an obvious highlight. Beaches within fifteen minutes of the pier side. Willemstad, Curacao is colourful, vibrant and very Dutch. The town is predominately flat and accessible. Huatalco, Mexico 3/5 A beach day. If you enjoy walking around the marina, limited shops and stalls then great, Otherwise, for me, the town has little to offer. San Diego, California 4/5 They say it never rains in Southern California, well it can and it did…big time. This did not detract from an excellent promenade and a welcoming (relatively flat) city centre only five minutes from the port. Maritime museums, Aircraft carrier, Red October submarine, Dixie steamboats, you name it, only five minutes walk from the ship. Long Beach (Los Angeles), California 3/5 All that glitters might not be gold. We went to Hollywood from the port, nearly 1.5 hours by coach to get there, over 2 hours back...in fact you will need to take either a tour or taxi to visit anywhere of note perhaps with the exception of Long Beach. The traffic around downtown L.A. is horrendous, the ship departed leaving behind six late passengers who were caught up in traffic. Be warned! Oh yes, Hollywood? Think Blackpool or Southend but without the sticky rock. Tacky in the extreme! San Francisco, California 5/5 If they had offered ten stars then thats what I would have given. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge into the bay with Sausalito to the left, Alcatraz dead ahead, San Francisco with its cable cars to the right. Yes, heavenly. The ship ties-up next to a tram stop from which you can turn left and travel inexpensively into the city (six minutes) or, turn right and visit the various Pier 39 attractions and find the terminus for the cable car (ten minutes). Take a tour, cross the bridge, visit Sausalito, go to Alcatraz, ride the cable car...fill your boots! If it is not stating the blindingly obvious, San Francisco is extremely hilly. Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii 4/5 Honolulu... Pearl Harbor and beaches, right? Yes, of course, and much more besides. We took a tour to Pearl, interesting and historic, good to see...would we do it again…hmm? Over commercialised but not tacky. Beaches, well we were there early February 19c, not quite bikini weather for me but pleasant enough to see the attraction. Honolulu is a great city, easy to find your way around and just about walkable from the ship berth, 25 mins. Bora Bora, French Polynesia 3/5 What do you do when it rains (pours) in paradise? We knocked on the front door of a home in Bora Bora asking the resident for shelter. We were welcomed into the large covered porch area and offered a drink. Fifteen minutes later, we were babysitting as our host took off on her bike en route to the shop to buy provisions for her thirty or so other guests who had seen us enjoying local hospitality and decided to gatecrash! The lady was well rewarded from all concerned. Swimming, snorkelling, water sports, beaches are all great once the thunderstorms have passed. Beautiful, scenic and ideal for beach based activities...weather permitting. Extremely limited otherwise with the small town having very little to offer. Warning, there is no pier in Bora Bora; the ships lifeboats tender you ashore. This can lead to long queues with limited shelter, not ideal if either wet or extremely hot. Vaitape the main town is limited in appeal, indeed it could be described as basic or minimal and anything that is for sale is not cheap. The public transport is rudimentary (trucks with benches) and the service could not be described as regular. None of the above should put you off visiting this unique and welcoming island group. Papeete, Tahiti 3/5 Despite benefiting from millions of Euros from the EU, Papeete and the Tahitian Islands still seemed a little underwhelming. The ship docks in the centre of the city and it is easily accessible. Pleasant enough to visit for a beer or coffee but unremarkable otherwise. The people were warm and welcoming and that will be the abiding memory. PS avoid the tour to the ocean bore-hole, expensive and slated by all on the coach. Auckland, New Zealand 5/5 Terrific little city, even in the rain. Ship docks right in the centre, Easy to walk around although there are some slight hills to deal with. Go up the tower, terrific views day or night. Tremendous ambiance emanating from wonderful people. You must take the inexpensive twenty minute ferry across to Devonport; a hidden gem with its village feel, beautiful little shops and cafes. Lovely beaches. Napier, New Zealand 5/5 We took a tour down to Kidnappers point, saw some sheep shearing and enjoyed wonderful scenery. Following afternoon tea we called back at Napier for an hour before re-boarding the Lollipop. Napier had a huge earthquake some years ago. The locals had the bright idea to rebuild the city in ArtDeco style...Wow! What a beautiful little city, terrific promenade, fantastic sights to be seen everywhere you go. Everything, and I mean everything was in ArtDeco style. Truly a wonder to behold. Wellington, New Zealand 5/5 We took a morning tour along "the wild coast". Lovely views, followed by some sheep dog trials and a stupendous morning coffee with cakes, sandwiches, pastries et al. Back to the capital city which is extremely attractive and small enough to be quite manageable by foot. Deciding not to take the cable car journey up into the hills above the city, we went to the harbour area instead. We were well rewarded. About five minutes from the "Beehive" New Zealand's stunning parliament building, the harbour area has been developed sympathetically and is easy on the eye. All manner of water sports were visible in the bay as we took a beer in one of the many cafes and bars on offer. Idealic. Sydney, Australia 5/5 Whats not to like? As with San Francisco, Auckland, Hong Kong etc we were there for two days. Yes, we visited the bridge, the opera house, blue mountains, Featherdale Park (kangaroos and much more) , Manly beach etc. Too much to do, so little time. Brisbane, Australia 4/5 The ship berths 35 minutes by coach from the centre of Brisbane. We met friends on the south bank of the river which traverses Brisbane. This area is an attraction itself with a sizeable city beach, restaurants, theatres, attractions of all descriptions. Brisbane is an gorgeous city, beautifully manicured and cared for by the residents. Yorkey's Knob (Cairns), Australia 4/5 Once again, no harbour at Yorkey;s Knob so ships lifeboats tender you ashore. Situated approx thirty minutes outside Cairns, you will need to take a taxi or tour coach into town. Nothing much to see at the Knob just a small restaurant and bar. We took a tour on a period train to Kuranda, terrific views on the two hour journey. Highly recommended as an alternative to the Great Barrier reef. In the afternoon we visited Cairns. A pleasant, if sticky, one horse town with lovely outside pools and promenades. Kind of how I imagined it would be. Alotau, Papua New Guinea 4/5 Like almost everyone else on the ship, we went on the Alotau Cultural Festival tour. The locals dress up and put on a colourful, musical and cultural extravaganza with a sail on a war canoe being the highlight of the trip. Beyond this tour the options are extremely limited. The very small town has little to offer and the folks are extremely poor by western standards. Kochi, Japan 4/5 A ten minute courtesy coach journey brings you directly into town…the main bus station. From here you can walk into the small city (five minutes). Kochi Castle is beautiful, absolutely authentic and a terrific photo opportunity. Particularly attractive during cherry blossom time (March). The main shopping centre is extensive with a mix of up to date modernity laced with other enclaves of delicious traditional stalls displaying exquisite artisan wares. With the exception of the Castle which could be challenging with its great many steps, the city is otherwise quite flat and easily accessible. Good beaches within fifteen minutes of the city centre. Note, Japan is cold during February/ early March. Final word, the folks that we encountered must be amongst the most civil and respectful anywhere on our travels. Osaka, Japan 4/5 The second largest city in Japan is just that...huge. There is a good metro and this offers the opportunity to travel throughout the city unescorted. On balance, better to take a tour to Kyoto perhaps on the "bullet train". The ship berths next to a huge indoor shopping centre complete with an enormous ferris wheel which delivers a fantastic light show every evening; all of which is an attraction in itself. Nagasaki, Japan 5/5 The ship berths near the centre of town, perhaps a fifteen minute walk over flat ground. Great terminal with lots of locals on hand to offer advice…how, what, why, where and when; terrific volunteers. We took the obligatory tour to the Epicentre Bomb Museum and Peace Park and found it to be harrowing and up-lifting in equal measure. Next time we would do this ourselves. Very easy by public transport…trams. Can recommend the Dejima Museum, ten minutes walk from the port. Fantastic opportunity for the ladies to wear authentic traditional kimonos and wander through the streets of this living museum. Great photo opportunities. Busan, South Korea 4/5 From memory, the second largest city in South Korea. The ship was berthed some fifteen minutes by courtesy coach from the city centre. Brash and modern streets with all the familiar shopping brands and much more on offer. However you are never far away from market stalls selling everything you could ever imagine and then some. The fish market in particular is colourful, vibrant, exciting and, whilst it does of course smell a little, it is definitely worth a visit. Shanghai, China 3/5 We were glad that we took the three stop tour (the old town district with its fabulous architecture, the Bund promenade area with its views of the city and the Shanghai tower), partly because of the heavy rain which prevailed throughout our visit. If the weather had been better the tour would have been much more rewarding. None the less, it was enjoyable. Hong Kong, China 3/5 Not a happy place to visit at the moment. The locals are restless and unhappy with Britain for abandoning them and not offering sufficient support against China which it is said is suppressing their freedoms. Enough politics. As always, there is plenty to see and do. Try visiting Aberdeen Harbour and take a trip in a Sampan around Jumbo, the largest floating Chinese restaurant in the world. Visit Happy Valley Racetrack, take an evening ferry across Hong Kong Harbour enjoying the laser light show, nip across to Macau…the list goes on Nha Trang, Vietnam 4/5 What a pleasant surprise! This is a resort on the up! The ship's courtesy coach drove us past the most beautiful, manicured beaches before depositing us adjacent to a local hotel which offered toilet facilities and acted as a central point from which to explore this interesting town. Street vendors offered ‘knock-off’ versions of clothing, watches, sunglasses etc at stupidly low prices. I suppose you get what you pay for. Lots of lovely four and five star hotels situated along a tree lined promenade with excellent shaded areas for sitting down and admiring the views across the beaches. You will certainly hear more of Nha Trang as it develops further as holiday destination. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam 5/5 We took a tour around the city. The journey from the ship into the city took approximately one hour passing through paddy fields with both ox and buffalo also to be seen. Temples, temples and yet more temples en route. The city itself is full of history and bursting to tell its story. Long before the Americans arrived to lock horns with the V.C., Saigon was going about its business in the most spectacular way. We went to cultural museums, passed the war-time American embassy, wandered around the Saigon post-office (wow - get your camera ready), enjoyed a fantastic lunch with musical accompaniment, visited Chinese temples, took in a water puppet show and much more….what a day! Laem Chebang for Bangkok, Thailand 3/5 Two hours to get there, three hours to come back. Heavy traffic enroute only gets worse once you get nearer to this enormous, sprawling city. It is not practical to travel into Bangkok unless you take a ship’s tour. The cruise company will offer numerous options…all expensive. There is absolutely nothing to see within five miles of the port. P&O offered a free 30 minute transfer into Pattaya; a serious option if you do not fancy a very long day much of it spent on a coach. Pattaya, Thailand 4/5 The thirty minute courtesy coach journey took us through largely port related industrial areas before finally depositing us at the five star Bayview hotel situated thirty seconds from the beach front at Pattaya. The hotel offered clean restrooms and any other services required during our day at the beach. The beach is beautiful, set in a lovely blue bay with water warm enough to take a bath in. A very long and pleasant promenade affords easy access along the interesting waterfront with its water sports, cafes and many other attractions. Running parallel to the beach is a busy road, the other side of which are terrific stylish hotels, indoor shopping centres (welcome given the heat and humidity), Market stalls and more. The resort is said to have a red light district with its world famous lady-boys et al. Singapore 5/5 Not everyones cup of tea it seems, but we love Singapore. It has beaches, theme parks, musical concerts all accessible by monorail on Sentosa Island. Clarke and Robertson Quays offer vibrant nightlife, excellent food and entertainment by the riverside (mosquito central at night!). Merlion Park waterfront is alive with entertainment during the day but really comes into its own at night. Perhaps you prefer something a little more up-market? Try afternoon tea at the world famous Raffles Hotel (book in advance) then visit Orchid World. Advice, if you are lucky enough to be on a world cruise, do not consider buying any souvenirs, presents, clothing etc until you reach Singapore’s China Town. It has it all. Read Less
Arcadia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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