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19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We wanted to see Iceland and we have cruised on Arcadia before. She has always been our favourite ship so this seemed an ideal choice for us. As usual embarkation and disembarkation was easy and well-organised. Food standards have taken an ... Read More
We wanted to see Iceland and we have cruised on Arcadia before. She has always been our favourite ship so this seemed an ideal choice for us. As usual embarkation and disembarkation was easy and well-organised. Food standards have taken an appalling tumble. Very, very disappointing. Can't say I truly enjoyed any meal. Breakfast was OK, although they've stopped doing their lovely bircher muesli. Plenty of alpen and choice of fruit and nuts to add yourself but it's not the same. Lunch in the buffet never looked very appetising to me. Husband complained that food was often cold and it did look sort of congealed. I usually had a salad. Cakes not as good as anything you would make at home. Ate in the buffet a few times in the evenings. Never anything to get excited about. They have a funny habit of providing cold plates for the hot food and warm plates on the salad bar. Also I got into the habit of using my napkin to dry the plates before I put food on them - often still wet from the dishwasher. Horrified to be served oven chips one evening. I use them at home when I'm in a hurry or just can't be bothered. Didn't expect to get them after paying thousands of pounds for the holiday. No longer silver service in the restaurant. Waiters take the order and literally dump the plates in front of you. Menus uninteresting and dull to say the least. Tomato soup, prawn cocktail, steak and bread and butter pudding on the menu every single evening. Raw pastry on the salmon en croute, one evening played hunt the meat as I cut the lamb from the gristle, carve the edge of the roast potatoes to get the edible bit, steamed vegetables undercooked and tasted like a salt pot, I could go on. P & O have really let their standards go. Entertainment pretty good. Some good pianists and vocalists in the bars. I wasn't sure that Roy Walker of Catchphrase fame would be quite my bag, but he was very funny and we saw him twice. Some good films screened. Several times we left bars because the service was so slow that we couldn't get a drink. The stewards were working flat out and were as friendly and anxious to serve as they ever have been. Just not enough of them. More P & O cutbacks. My biggest disappointment was the abolition of evening dress codes. 4 formal nights but what happened to the semi-formal nights? And the smart casual nights are no longer smart. Many people trying to make the effort but spoiled by a significant number of passengers who were allowed into bars looking as if they were about to dig the garden. For your information, P & O, there's no such thing as smart jeans! Ports and excursions were fine. Husband and I always find it a bit of a lottery - should we take an excursion or should we go it alone? Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don't. We just put it down to experience and we'll know better if we come to this port again. I would say Belfast - use the city hop on, hop off bus. Costs £10 per person - you get a commentary as you go round, and if you see something you like you just get off the bus and when you're ready, get on a later bus to continue the tour. All the other ports - should have used an excursion (Stornaway, Reykjavik, Isafjordur, Akureyri, Shetland and Orkney. All nice places, but small and limited things to do independently.)In some ways I wish we hadn't used Arcadia because the lowered standards have spoiled our feelings for the ship. For me the cruise should be an event. Previously I was made to feel like a somebody for 2 weeks of the year. The shine has gone. As it is, we will probably look for a cruise line that charges more, but gives us our money's worth. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Dinner first night was mediocre, had to share a table with a couple but next night they chose to sit by the entrance, perhaps because they were t-total. Next night food again was average apart from the asparagus which resembled more like ... Read More
Dinner first night was mediocre, had to share a table with a couple but next night they chose to sit by the entrance, perhaps because they were t-total. Next night food again was average apart from the asparagus which resembled more like floppy green beans delicately balanced over an egg. No way could you have done that with fresh asparagus. Following night had a potatoe on my plate that you wouldn't have fed to a pig. When asked if I enjoyed my meal, my reply drew the attention of the manager. Another problem was if you ordered your wine after the food, it wouldn't turn up until half way through your main course. We complained in the end. We were told to order our wine at lunchtime and were informed that P&O bring all their food onboard at Soton FROZEN, nothing fresh. I'm pretty sure I once upon time saw an ad with a chef buying in a local market? It's fantasy. The Food & Beverage manager wasn't interested, he said it was the same process on all their Cruises. I asked him if he had been on a P&O ferry, to which he laughed, until I suggested he should as the food was better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
The ship was lovely, staff top class food good nice size and enough variety, green Beene with everything thing but I like them. What I do have a problem with was the carpets being changed during the cruise, getting to our room became a ... Read More
The ship was lovely, staff top class food good nice size and enough variety, green Beene with everything thing but I like them. What I do have a problem with was the carpets being changed during the cruise, getting to our room became a problem as mum 81 and I have parkinsons so stepping over piles of carpet a no go I felt sorry for the workers, trying to fit it whilst the ship was full. Also the pool was repainted and emptied. But by the time I came home I didn't whant to hear a piano again. Did not realise the entertainment was so boring, pianos flutes and tenners, the Beatles hour (my type of thing good dance music) was pre taped music no staff anywhere, three people in the dance floor. But quizzes 2 staff, and a lot of the daytime entertainment do it yourself. I had been on Ventura last year had a great time. This time the ship looked like a goaststhost town by 9 pm. Boring the shows in the theatre well done, dancers best iv seen but same old shows. We dinned with some lovely people, and visited great countries. had a nice time not a great time, this ship is for you if you like pianos, Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
It was our silver anniversary, have been to Norway before but still amazed us with its scenery and waterfalls .First time for my wife on p&o, my second, Cabin was very good, situated on c deck near lifts, got lost several times early ... Read More
It was our silver anniversary, have been to Norway before but still amazed us with its scenery and waterfalls .First time for my wife on p&o, my second, Cabin was very good, situated on c deck near lifts, got lost several times early on, think they could have put deck plans in the lifts.Have done several cruises with Thomsons, so had to compare to them, Entertainment in theatre was good, headliners put on good shows, guest artists also, witnessed accident in there, some chap fell down stairs, the attention he got was excellent, 2 nurses there inside 5 minutes, and emergency tannoy was done then and upto 15 staff attended in another 5 minutes. Thanks to this swift attention he fully recovered by next nght. Food,the choice of English fare at lunch time in the buffet was poor, breakfast was good, in the Meridian there was a lot of repetition, though it was nicely cooked and large portions.The grill was brilliant, 3 lovely courses, well presented although it took over 2 hours to get through it.Staff were friendly and attentive. Lastly the weather was very good, got very hot on a couple of days. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I have held back from posting the following critique of Arcadia for almost 9 months . After writing it I thought ; Well P&O is just like this now and you can take it or leave it. However, I am currently on the Aurora and many of my ... Read More
I have held back from posting the following critique of Arcadia for almost 9 months . After writing it I thought ; Well P&O is just like this now and you can take it or leave it. However, I am currently on the Aurora and many of my critiscisms of Arcadia, simply do not apply. For example, I have seen the Captain almost every day and exchanged pleasantries on numerous occasions. The jacuzzis are hot and, yes, the water jets work. The pool is warm..ish and therefore passengers actually swim in it!! Etc etc I have friends who concurred with my original views and who also travelled on the Aurora recently and, like me, feel that it is managed better than the Arcadia. Finally, yesterday, I was talking to some fellow passengers who commented, without prompting, that the Arcadia has issues. To my mind, the Arcadia, which was a ship originally built for the more up-market Cunard brand, should be the pride and joy of the P&O fleet but, unfortunately, it is not. Sad really as run well, they could charge a premium. What is therefore clear to me is that P&O give a great amount of freedom to the management team on each ship. This means that the brand offering can be different on each ship and better or worse, depending on your viewpoint of course. This therefore begs the question...What value the P&O branding? I have to ask, therefore, whether their marketing department is keeping tabs on the feed back and whether their reports are read by a Senior management team who take action. To my mind, when something small goes wrong, it is often symptomatic of a larger problem. In my experience of business, most customer experience enhancements cost little, or nothing, to implement. So here is my post and if anyone feels that it is factually incorrect then I hope you will let me know and I will tell you my exact experience. Arcadia is great if you… Are happy with good to very good general service Like to spend time in a well equipped modern gym with spinning bikes and treadmills etc , where most of the equipment functions correctly. Like a good size cabin with a very large and comfortable bed. Like a cabin with a half bath as well as a shower. Want your cabin to be always well cleaned and tidied and to have good quality linen. Don't mind waiting 45 minutes to an hour for room service. Like to have a cabin with a modern and large TV which connects to your own storage devices (USB) and plays almost every film and audio format available as well as photo files. Aren't too bothered by a poor quality (Fuzzy) picture on said TV when watching all of the ships channels. Like swimming in unheated swimming pools that are cold unless they have been warmed by the sun in a tropical location. Are happy to sit in a tepid jacuzzi that doesn't have jets or bubbles as they have been purposefully disconnected, for "health and safety reasons" Don't want to eat high quality or Gourmet food. Like onions, mustard, pesto and an odd assortment of other additions, being added to all and every one of their pre prepared sandwiches. Like odd food combinations. Eg pineapple slice and Edam cheese toasties, fresh prawns always in Pesto sauce or with some other weird addition , Mackerel curry?? Like eating food that can have different ingredients than described on the menu. Understand that the quality of the ingredients in the Marco Pierre White restaurant is substantially lower than you might expect in his UK restaurants. Like poor quality Sirloin or Rib-Eye steak that is pre cut and only served 1/3 inch thick. Don't mind having to ask the occasional member of staff to repeat themselves two or three times because you don't understand them. Are happy to watch a film in the wrong Aspect Ratio where James Bond is 7ft tall and his Aston Martin looks like a bus. Are tone deaf and can't tell that some of the bar singers are occasionally out of tune or are just not very good. Want to enjoy some of the best production shows you are ever likely to see on a ship. Don't mind seeing the same shows repeated on long voyages. Love watching some great guest singers perform to a very high standard. Like watching great shows in a beautiful theatre. Like a wide variety of entertaining guest speakers who make presentations on a multitude of interesting topics. Like to watch recent release films in a purpose built cinema with comfy chairs and great viewing positions and don't mind the poor quality of the picture projected onto the screen by the out of date projector. Like to learn ballroom dancing and to have the chance to practice every night with professional and entertaining dance coaches. Like to play table tennis. Like to play Bridge. Like to buy Original Art at sea. Like to spend an evening down at the local pub with a good choice of beers and music and quizzes etc. Like to gamble in a Casino. Want to be able to have your own spirits in your cabin and don't mind paying £6 a litre for the mixers. Eg Tonic or ginger ale etc . Always take your own thick cushions with you so that you can enjoy sitting on the very uncomfortable reclining beds by the indoor pool. ( they have an iron rail in an odd position that sticks into your buttock ) Understand that the crew are much too busy to respond to your complaints and have to keep a straight face when they pass on what their senior mangers tells them, even though they know it is total rubbish. Understand that there will be times when there are no cups available in the buffet or that the tea box will not always have the one tea you prefer. Understand that the buffet will not always have the one dish from the menu that you want, unless you ask for it. Want WIFI and don't mind paying a premium rate for a very slow connection. Don't think that the huge rust patches on the outside of the ship are symptomatic of the crews attitude. Don't mind not seeing the Captain around the ship very often and don't expect him to personally attend the Captains Cocktail Party or make the daily announcements. Don't mind paying the doctors fee of £60 plus, when that is the only way the pharmacy will give you a "non prescription" cream. (which they have dozens of on the shelf in the pharmacy.) Like a ship with a modern and well thought out interior. Enjoy using a hydropherapy pool with strong water jets and don't mind paying extra for the privilege of using it or that it is occasionally closed with no explanation of why. Don't mind going to occasional ports of call that have little to offer but are probably cheap to Park at. Notes: My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years and have cruised on P&O, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Cruise and Maritime, NCL, Costa, Cunard and Fred Olsen. We believe that almost every cruise ship and itinerary combination has a price at which it is good value providing you are happy to accept any known limitations. Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was our first P&O cruise, and we had high expectations. Our cabin was good and activities, including entertainment and daytime talks, were all good to excellent. I particularly enjoyed the daily cricket matches run by Adam - ... Read More
This was our first P&O cruise, and we had high expectations. Our cabin was good and activities, including entertainment and daytime talks, were all good to excellent. I particularly enjoyed the daily cricket matches run by Adam - excellent. Most staff were polite and helpful, but we found some Reception staff unhelpful and slow to get back to us. My biggest problem was with the food. I am vegetarian, and found the choices limited and often poorly presented. We opted for set dining in the Meridian Restaurant. We have enjoyed this set type if dining on other cruises and as one of our party had mobility issues restaurant service was preferable. Examples of food I was offered included a potato sandwich (not even any butter, and I was told it was a vegetable sandwich) and risotto that was a solid lump of rice with very little else added! I asked for brown bread sandwiches and was told brown bread is only used for fish! The meat eaters in my party were bored with very similar choices day after day, and some of the meat was very tough and unedible. We all found the pseudo language which regularly had to be interpreted for us very tiresome, and strange dishes and combinations of flavours odd and off putting. The lunchtime buffet in the Belvedere Restaurant was much better and had a wide variety of choices. Waiters and restaurant staff were helpful and always polite. It was such a shame they had to serve such poor quality food. One other thing that caused us problems - my husband has severe migraine if there are bright flashes, and he always finds the presence of photographers a challenge, particularly on formal nights. There must be other people who are affected by this? All in all, we enjoyed the cruise, but would have struggled with more than 3 weeks of the food! Labelling of the decks and venues on the ship is poor. Why does each deck have a name, a number and a letter? Simplify this P&O! I was really pleased that the pools had fresh water, as opposed to sea water on some other ships. The gym was well equipped but there were often no wipes or towels. The Palladium Theatre is excellent. The only concern we had was the obsessive use of the smoke machine, regardless of its relevance! One other thing that caused us problems - my husband has severe migraine if there are bright flashes, and he always finds the presence of photographers a challenge, particularly on formal nights. There must be other people who are affected by this? All in all, we enjoyed the cruise, but would have struggled with more than 3 weeks of the food! We expected better from P&O. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem ... Read More
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem to spend most if not all the year cruising. Pricewise, the cruise is good value. Perhaps because of that, the ports of call were not particularly interesting and nor was the entertainment on board but if you want a relaxing time at sea, this ship will satisfy. Incidentally, I found Alotau one of the more interesting stops but I didn’t take any of the package shore excursions – I booked my own in advance through the local travel agent, Villink, located in the Alotau International Hotel. It was less touristy, the car was air-conditioned and I believe I learned more; and it was at a lower cost that the similar on-board shore excursion on offer. Don’t expect decent WiFi even if you are willing to pay the extortionate price charged for WiFi use on board – speeds are very slow, so at 50p a minute, best to wait to the next port of call to log-in. There were two safety alerts (a fire in an elevator; smoke from the incinerator) during the cruise. They were efficiently dealt with though I don’t understand why passengers were woken at 3.00 AM to tell them of the first alert (without further instructions or directions being given). Unless passengers are instructed to do something or to act in a particular manner (even it is only to stay in the cabin), I can’t see the purpose of ruining their sleep, causing panic (some passengers commented that they were concerned), or create unnecessary interest that might obstruct the crew (some passengers wanted to see what was happening). If this is an established safety procedure, it is a bad one and needs to be rethought. There is Sunday Christian worship and regular Christian Fellowship meetings take place. No other faiths are generally catered for though Jews do get to meet for the Jewish Sabbath. Observant Jews and Muslims need not apply (see ‘food’ below). The ship is generally well run, though I did get a sense of complacency, especially as regards the kitchens/restaurants. Overall, the ship is of the quality of a 3-star hotel but occasionally rises a notch higher. It needs to be said that most passengers were happy with the ship. Pros Friendly, efficient cabin stewards. Most staff are friendly and helpful. Dining options are adequate and cuisine quality acceptable, though not exceptional. Complaints do get actioned and rectified. P&O has been in the business a long time so knows what to expect – embarkation and disembarkation at ports of call are generally efficiently handled.. Good value for money overall (though some shore excursions are over-priced). Self-service laundry facilities are available on board (though cramped and insufficient for overall demand – be ready for some frayed tempers if you have not cleared your machine immediately after it has completed its cycle). There some nice, comfortable places to sit and while away the time looking out to sea, in particular the Crow’s Nest at the front of the ship. Cons Entertainment is basic and not generally high quality though there were some acts that were so good (e.g. Fogwell Flax) that the Palladium Theatre could not accommodate all demand. The films screened are basically DVDs (not in HD) and start times do not always accord with the printed schedule. The programme of talks is adequate and one or two even interesting but overall, worthy rather than stimulating. The scheduling was also not ideal as the talks frequently clashed with teatime etc. (see below). The talks had no relationship to the places being visited –e.g. on the history of Australia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Hong Kong etc.. Of course, there is a Port Talk before each port of call but that is more about sights, shopping and shore excursions, with modest historic background. The food is generally unexceptional. The ship does not cater well (at all?) for people with special dietary needs For example, it was not uncommon for 50% of the eight main course dishes on offer to contain pig products in some form (of the 4 main course choices during one lunchtime, 3 had pig products in them); and no effort was made to keep such products separate either in preparation or presentation from other dishes. There was usually one vegetarian option (out of 8) for dinner in the Meridian dining room. It is easy enough to keep pig products separate from others, to use a different griddle for grilling pork from other meats etc. but no such effort is made. Although most of the clientele might be reliving the 1960s and 70s, there is no reason for P&O not to make an effort to accommodate the 21st century (see also comments on electrical sockets and wifi). Also there doesn’t seem to be any great effort to give a taste of the cuisine of the ports to be/just visited (other than Australia). For instance, Papua New Guinea produces cocoa, coffee, bananas, fish, sago, cassava, yams – none of these appeared on the menu. Of the two main restaurants, the Meridian provides a silver service dining experience. The food can be good but too often is below par (e.g. sometimes microwaved and, consequently, dry and unappetising dishes often served lukewarm). There is also an element of complacency evident in the preparation – e.g. a mass-produced tart base is used for too many dishes. One particularly egregious example was a ‘macaroon tart’ which was the offending tart base filled with something that tasted like ‘Angel Delight’ with half a macaroon biscuit shell on top. The same tart base (a typical mass-produced casing used for quiches, tarts and anything else that comes to mind) was used two days later for a rhubarb and apple crumble ‘tart’. Cooking for large throughput is not easy and complacency has to be guarded against. One thing about the Meridian – it opens very late for breakfast (07.30 when in port, 08.00 on other days). Bearing in mind the age of the ship’s clientele, elderly folk who have difficulty sleeping, this is far too late. Also, on port days one wants to disembark as early as possible. A start one hour earlier would be better. The Belvedere is self-service and gives too much the impression of a staff canteen, in choice of dishes, layout and even smell. The quality varies from mediocre to passable. Access to the food is also not always easy – try pouring the soup without spilling it! A few design and style changes could easily make it a lot more appealing. The smoothies on offer are far too sweet (like most things on board, at least for my taste) – not really smoothies as I know them. With so many elderly passengers, diabetes might be a problem that needs to be more widely addressed (it’s not just sufficient to offer the occasional diabetic pastry). The specialty restaurants (Ocean Grill, Sindhu) are both good but the menus are fixed for the duration of the voyage so a couple of visits will mean you’ve exhausted the dishes you want to eat (or that don’t appear elsewhere on the ship). I was a little surprised to find that the Sindhu did not use tablecloths. Tea time was very short, lasting 45 min so if you arrive late, expect to be rushed out. Scones were usually acceptable, though sometimes stale. Clotted cream was served, so full marks (in the Meridian only) for this. It was impossible to find a decent cup of coffee on board. There were 3 establishments claiming to serve Costa Coffee (admittedly, not the best of the international chains) but if they were representative of Costa Coffee generally, then it’s time for a change. Why can one not get a decent espresso or cappuccino elsewhere? The attempts at cappuccino in the main restaurant were more like coffee dregs soaked in warm water and then swamped with milk. The baristas need some proper training. I also object to the misleading WiFi sign appearing at these 3 establishments – there is no free WiFi on board and the WiFi in the Costa Coffee places is the same as that for the ship as a whole (and available only at great cost). Drinks – the price of on-board drinks is comparable to what can be found in the UK (outside central London). The duty and tax savings are, therefore, not passed on to the passengers. Although good hygiene is important, the anti-bacterial gel that was not only offered at the door but almost forced on diners entering the restaurants, made one feel rather like being at school or hospital ward (doubly unwelcome when one takes into account the average age of the passengers). More effective would be issuing facemasks to people with coughs and sneezes! It was all a bit too much. And the injunction to wipe down machines after use in the gym was usually obeyed by the passengers but often ignored by the staff themselves. The gym is an adequate size/ well-equipped considering the age of the passengers, but might become inadequate if the average age fell by say 10 years. Incidentally, the gym is open between 08.00-20.00 only. As there is little or no supervision in the gym, I don’t understand why opening hours are not extended (to, say, 07.00-21.00). The Library has a reasonable stock of classic and modern fiction but not much in the way of good non-fiction (a lot of books on birds and a big collection on, often outdated, travel guides. In some ways this is understandable in view of the cost of books these days). There is comfortable seating in the library itself but there could be more of it. Although the Arcadia’s ‘Helpful Information’ claims that cabins are equipped with British style electrical sockets, in fact there is only one such socket in the cabin and generally the ship has US-style sockets throughout. Adapters were supplied by Reception (after the deficiency was raised as a concern). The ship lacks also an adequate number of power points in public areas to meet the needs of the modern age, for charging phones, computers, tablets, cameras etc.. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only we had done the research first! Our cruise from Sydney to Southampton started with a very long queue, despite having "priority" boarding as suite passengers. There was no ... Read More
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only we had done the research first! Our cruise from Sydney to Southampton started with a very long queue, despite having "priority" boarding as suite passengers. There was no "priority", we were queued up with everybody else, and was surprised at how many people had turned up earlier than their advised embarkation time. Not a huge problem and certainly not anything to spoil our cruise. When we finally arrived at our suite, we were welcomed by our very courteous and professional butler, and we were delighted with the Champagne, chocolates and bottled water in the fridge, not to mention the full set of White Company products in the bathroom. If we had found this website previously, we may not have been surprised at the size of the suite. As other passengers have already commented, it is not as big as expected and with the table and chairs being at the bottom of the bed, it can feel a little cramped. However, the balcony is huge, complete with sun loungers and a table and chairs. On our first night we met people who were doing the world cruise, and we heard many entertaining comments about the first half of the cruise. Tales of arguments and fights in the laundry, complete with people being "put off" due to their behaviour, was very amusing. During the cruise to Brisbane and Cairns we were very happy with our suite, however, we became aware that the engine noise during the evening did spoil the conversation with our fellow passengers at dinner, due to the noise of the engines. This turned out to be even worse during future the longer days at sea. More about this later in the cabin review. Positives about the cruise included the pre booked shore excursions, which we found reasonably priced and well organised; the gym was very well equipped; the staff were very polite and hard working, and the entertainment was overall very good. The negatives, we would have to include the disappointment with the tiredness of the suite, and arriving back from a shore excursion to find men moving equipment on our balcony prior to sailing through the Panama Canal. Lucky the previous forum passenger who was informed 2 days earlier and received complementary wine!! We didn't even get a phone call. However, we don't want this review to be a list of negative comments, because our only real gripe was the noise in the suite and the subsequent handling of the unresolved problem. Other passengers had been moved to different cabins, but apparently "there were no other cabins" for us. We were not asking for compensation of any sort, hence we refused the meal and wine, but we are left feeling very let down by P&O cruises, despite us spending a small fortune on a half world cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
P&O Arcadia 25/11/2015 to 19/12/2015 Madera – Antigua – St Kitts – Grenada – Dominica – Barbados – Azores – Vigo The cruise was uneventful and very relaxing as you spend 16 days at sea and even in a force 10 on the way ... Read More
P&O Arcadia 25/11/2015 to 19/12/2015 Madera – Antigua – St Kitts – Grenada – Dominica – Barbados – Azores – Vigo The cruise was uneventful and very relaxing as you spend 16 days at sea and even in a force 10 on the way home which is why we could not get into the Azores and went to Vigo instead the ship was as steady as a rock. The condition of the ship was a different matter as for 11 days decks 2,3,4,5, mid ship stank of sewage and drains which was very strong at times, there was also a problem with the slatted aluminium roof strips on the viewing deck 11 port side as several had been ripped off by wind and others were rattling loose and had stress fractures which should they have come loose could have taken your head off and after reporting it to the reception, security and 2 bridge officers over 5 days I was amazed nothing was done even thought it was at most a 15 minute job to secure the strips. The person who said the stern cabins were brilliant on the Arcadia did not have the Benidorm lot we had on the ship ( A165 ) cabin is the last on the starboard side before the corner suite and right under the rear sun deck and the Benidorm contingent decided at 6am to come and throw their sun loungers in position before the rush and even after trying to be nice and ask them to be quite the abuse from their welsh spokes women was so bad the crew taped off the deck every night and did not open it until after 8am so we could sleep which was appreciated. The problems with the food was the variety as we had theme nights and the Asian night was curry the Indian night was curry the Thai night was curry which gets a bit much for anyone but all food was cooked well just one comment for the Neptune grill please get some proper beef and onion burgers and use the sausages we had for breakfast not the German boiled bratwurst and small finger rolls with proper fried onions not stewed tasteless sea weed, we as adults do not need American style giant hotdogs do them like we do on the barbi at home. Freedom dinning is great the meals are well cooked and if you want two steaks it’s no problem and the cheese and bickies are great. All praise to the Captain who can put this ship against a lolly stick of a jetty better than I could do with a rowing boat and his skill and attitude was a great inspiration to the wellbeing feeling of us and the crew. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We are in our 50's and have been cruising for about 5 years. I chose my username " Gettinold " as a joke but it now seems ironic after taking this cruise. The ship is advertised as " adults only ". I took this to ... Read More
We are in our 50's and have been cruising for about 5 years. I chose my username " Gettinold " as a joke but it now seems ironic after taking this cruise. The ship is advertised as " adults only ". I took this to mean no kids. However I now realise that what P&O actually meant was that the ship is aimed at attracting the Saga generation - i.e OAP's. As a result, both of us 50 year olds felt pretty much out of place. Apart from the incident in my title, the ship was to be honest, quite dull. Entertainment during the day was limited to two quizzes ( both co-inciding with meal times ? ) plus some craft classes and knitting babies bonnets for charity. The headline acts booked for the theatre all did two stints each. If you like opera singers,classical pianists, flautists and violinists, then this is the ship for you. The P&O singers and dancers were OK but doing 10+ shows over the length of the cruise , they tended to get a bit samey. The cruise director John Bartrams job consisted of coming on stage in the theatre each night, asking if we were all happy, introduce the act and that was it. We never seen anything of him during the day and he did not interact with any of the passengers. In fact the captain was more visible than he was. Oh and if you are reading this John, next time you get one of your staff to read the trivia questions, please make sure they have a reasonable command of the English language. Food on board was OK but not great. However with so many Indian chefs on board, the amount of curries on offer was a bit overwhelming . Main dining room food was frequently cold by the time it reached our table. Waiters appeared to be overwhelmed. They just served up the meals, never asked if everything was OK, never refilled our drinking water glasses unless we asked them to. One lady ( I use the term loosely ) on our cruise was consistently drunk. She was giving grief to fellow passengers in the departure lounge even before we got on the ship. Once on board , she proceeded to be very aggressive & argumentative to other passengers yet for some strange reason was apparently allowed to continue this behaviour. Some people complained after seeing her swimming naked in the pool. My wife and I saw her trying to steal a bottle of spirits from behind one of the bars. Eventually after punching some poor fellow passenger, P&O eventually decided to so something. I believe she was put off the ship Antigua. However as I said earlier, she shouldn't have been allowed on board in the first place. One night my wife and I went to the Belverdere restaurant for a coffee before bed. While we were there, about 12 extremely drunk passengers started what could only be described as a brawl. Fists and insults were flying. My wife was terrified. As these people were blocking our exit, my wife and I were trapped and had to wait until things calmed down before we could leave. We saw no sign of any security whatsoever at the scene. As it was almost midnight and my wife was visible shaken, we went straight to bed but we reported the incident first thing in the morning. The P&O staff were already aware but just seemed to want to play it down, referring to the incident as a " disagreement ". The officer we spoke to explained that the people involved had been warned that if there was a repeat , they would be removed from the ship. I considered this to be a hollow threat as we had just started back across the Atlantic. With 8 more days of these individuals remaining on board with free access to all public areas, many of the other passengers, particularly the elderly, were visibly scared. I think in this regard, P&O failed in their duty to ensure the safety and well being of those passengers who know how to behave. We are due to go on the Ventura in the New Year. As it is being touted as a family ship I hope there will be a bit more in the way of organised activities and entertainment. I also hope that if there are any incidents involving unruly passengers, that P&O will deal with it a bit better . Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Firstly, I wanted to give more stars, I really did, but having had my first cruise in 2013 on Oriana which was wonderful, this one was just not worth all the money. Embarkation was easy and at the exact time stated on our tickets. On ... Read More
Firstly, I wanted to give more stars, I really did, but having had my first cruise in 2013 on Oriana which was wonderful, this one was just not worth all the money. Embarkation was easy and at the exact time stated on our tickets. On board swiftly and all luggage was outside our cabin (E78 - outside, restricted view). Cabin was perfect, mid ship and above the prom deck so no need to use lifts much. Cabin was clean (apart from hair in the bath plug hole which should have been noticed really), also the little plastic holder for our cabin steward's details was empty. Cabin steward introduced himself in such a rushed way that I didn't catch his name and no towel animals - I know it's not important but the little personal touches were what made P&O special in my opinion. Ate in the Belvedere for lunch most days if we were on board which was very nice and one of the things which I thought was better than the Oriana. We usually found a seat no problem or ate by the Neptune pool. Also tried the Neptune snack bar. Hotdogs were nice but I didn't like the burgers - tasted like cheap tinned ones. Dinner was Meridian 2nd sitting on a table of 8. Our table companions were all very nice and service was very quick, which was the problem really. Having had silver service last time the difference is huge. The waiting staff seem rushed and harassed (obviously less than previously) and did not really chat at all. On our last cruise they chatted and there was banter and fun (napkin flowers) but I felt we were in a fast food establishment at times - Enjoy your Starters? Enjoy your Dinners? Enjoy your Desserts? Goodnight! Bars were all good and we enjoyed the quizzes in the Rising Sun and Bingo 3 times (had a little win). The Crow's nest is lovely and I sat in there on sea days reading a lot. Theatre is very nice and the Headliners were great, as was the comedian. I didn't see anything else though my partner enjoyed the captains talk. The ports - Madeira, La Palma, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Lisbon - were all very good, though my parents said Santa Cruz, Tenerife was not (we did the Loro Parque trip which was brilliant) worth visiting as it's the capital and mainly for business. Plenty of time in each port too which was good. One disappointment was that things were out of order for our whole cruise, a few of the public toilets, all the spa pools were filled and the water was hot but they didn't work and on two of the hot port days the Neptune pool was covered with net as out of order! Also they ran out of a few of the drinks early and when I tried to get my nails done during the first week they had ran out of Gel - available widely now so no excuse really. Generally we had a good cruise apart from the obvious cut backs which aren't reflected in the price. Fellow passengers were mostly older but in the main friendly. There were one or two selfish wheelchair/mobility scooter users, example - someone stopped for a chat to people sat in piano bar blocking the aisle where around 5 people were waiting to get past! All totally ignored and most walked back and through the seating area eventually, though I think one man climbed over the wheelchair to make a point but was still ignored. I really don't understand this attitude of self importance, and they say it's the 'youth' who are rude usually. Though we did laugh about these incidents. I think next time I will look at another cruise company as although I loved the size and décor of Arcadia I feel that much has been lost in cutbacks so I don't see the point of paying the extra in future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
So many things to comment on, easier to bullet point: No silver service at dinner anymore = rushed courses Lack of vegetables generally = tiny meals Often had to ask for after dinner mints, water & liqueurs Forced gratuity ... Read More
So many things to comment on, easier to bullet point: No silver service at dinner anymore = rushed courses Lack of vegetables generally = tiny meals Often had to ask for after dinner mints, water & liqueurs Forced gratuity = rude and unbothered staff (you can opt out but reception staff quite rude) No more Jacuzzis ? not allowed under British Law (again, according to reception staff) are we not in international waters? Swimming pool (in non smoking area) not open for nearly 3 days with no explanation. General lack of communication when something goes awry Dumbing down of formal attire – since when did a glittery tracksuit become formal wear? Would be helpful if the tour guides on excursions had a grasp of the English language so that everything was not “THE most important this or that” and not repeated several times. Sail Away party done in smoking area so we all stank afterwards. Every single Oasis Spa “talk/demonstration” was actually just a huge, very pressured, sales pitch. Extra charges constantly eg hydro spa pool, Pilates classes, etc. The “Chocoholics” event was underwhelming. A series of chocolate cakes (approx seven varieties) repeated on numerous trays, a few traditional round cakes and a chocolate fountain that was tightly guarded, also held in the buffet area not the beautiful Meridian restaurant – this did not show of the chefs skills in the slightest. Add on the “bands” in the bars, lounge and globe Disco – it would help if they could sing! Headliners were lovely but some of the shows are over 5 years old and showing it. Disco seemed to only have 10 songs on its play list, mostly consisting of Barry White, Minnie Ripperton and Alesha Dixon. Don’t ask for anything from Motown as they have known and have no clue what 60s & 70s music is. Add on a £800 bill at the end for 3 drinks per day and two spa treatments and basically it has put us of cruising for a very long time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
we have been on cruises for the past ten years .And i have to say this cruise was not the best .The ship is great and our cabin was fine .But the food was not up to what we expeted from p and o . Our first two nights the food came to the ... Read More
we have been on cruises for the past ten years .And i have to say this cruise was not the best .The ship is great and our cabin was fine .But the food was not up to what we expeted from p and o . Our first two nights the food came to the table warm. And my wife hade to send back two main courses in the first three days .The midnight buffet looked like left overs from lunch The shows were good . We were on d deck on a outside cabin every day we went to a lifts and the same glass was there for four days .What does that say about the standards on this ship .We will not cruise with p and o again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Cruised from Southampton via Azores to Carribbean and Madeira. The Arcadia was fabulous and the staff in bars and restaurant superb,friendly and couldnt do enough for you. James,Philip and Amruta,Lenson,Sunjay. Had cabin d25 but ... Read More
Cruised from Southampton via Azores to Carribbean and Madeira. The Arcadia was fabulous and the staff in bars and restaurant superb,friendly and couldnt do enough for you. James,Philip and Amruta,Lenson,Sunjay. Had cabin d25 but there was a backdraft and it smelled of wee and pooh. Bathroom could of been bleached. The daytime activities need updating as yoga,waltzing,poetry,painting was the same day after and repetative. Need new activities for 40 -60 years old as we all dont have one foot in the grave. Activities for 70-80 year olds. Boring. The food was superb and good in all venues. However in meridian your food is plated and served where a few years ago with p n o was given a bare plate and served all veg etc. Standards have slipped or is it cutback or penny pinching. Had to ask my cabin guy for shampoo or whatever we were low on before getting the product. 15 mins to clean and hoover cabin not enough. Also pillows smelt of sweaty heads. Will take my own in future. Launderette superb and free on d deck d64. A band called sunshine were superb. Some acts as saxophonists,victor michael and beatles experience brilliant. Shows last 45 mins in evenings in palladium. Again major overhall needed. Cabins need overhall aa dated and bathroom need the smell of bleach. Captains lane and Hashmi superb and knowledgeable. Did not use fitness but spa expensive. Used room service and Erdan was superb. On time and couldnt do enough. Antigua shore trip and barbados bus superb. Redduit beach good but when you get there they torture you. Just a firm no sorts them out. Disapointed with cane garden bay as too rough to go in sea. Need to do away with lardy da was 5* the boat isnt. 3* at best. After 6pm unless u got long trousers u cannot get a drink in shorts. Good cruise but all activities need an overhall. Staff mentioned were superb. Need to be made aware of your allowances from day one in the horizon newspaper. Great getting on no probs but getting off long wait after an hour late disembarking from designated area of meridian. Never seen so many wheelchairs,crutches and benidorm buggies on a liner. Average age was 70-80. Film cocoon came to mind or floating care home. Watch the air con as you get a cough know as arcadia cough after few days. Want to cruise a better holiday and possibly do p & o again but there must be better lines and ships available. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
As loyal passengers to P&Os Aurora and Oriana we chose to try the Arcadia. First impressions were all in favour of this ship. Having a forward cabin and a gale force seven sea, the waves hitting the ship ,a loud slapping noise as ... Read More
As loyal passengers to P&Os Aurora and Oriana we chose to try the Arcadia. First impressions were all in favour of this ship. Having a forward cabin and a gale force seven sea, the waves hitting the ship ,a loud slapping noise as the ship rose and fell. The upper landings would viabrate in these conditions. As the cruise progressed cabin corridors walls were showing paper peeling in areas. Our Cabin where pictures had been removed and a very large television put in their place the wall could have done with cleaning with saddlesoap as the original clean wall showed up the rest. The balcony was very large but due to the weather and seas was not used to its fullest potential and noise from neighbours even just talking seemed loud. The main walk ways were through bars,shops, and art gallery. Some carpets were worn and in one area it was replaced, by the shops the floor had gaffa tape on raised joins. The bars had music for all tastes a lot of the time in many cases too loud.The bar staff and waiters gave excellent service The Globe had an excellent disco and DJ and during day the Sumba going on. The Crows Nest was the biggest let down the Horizon magazine advertised it to be open to late at twelve the waiters were coming round and saying the bar is closing would you like to order a drink. In addition this bar served two flat draught pints and argued that the customer was wrong, even though we saw the barrel being changed while there. The cinema was small but the seating was very comfortable and the selection of films was good The Palladium Theatre entertainment had to many solo acts which got boring after a time. The headliners first show was cancelled no reason given then when they did appear the performances made up for the rest. The Restaurants choice and quality of food and service was very good the cutlery was let down by the blunt knives I was given to understand this was going to change in two months. Classes and talks and TV options during the day was good The Arcadia cough was evident at times. Beware as on our cruise there were two motorised wheel chairs as big as golf caddies very fast and silent when coming towards you. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Before sailing on the Arcadia we read lots of reviews, some I agree with some i don't. We have been on five cruises with p&o all on different ships and our experience so far has been exceptional. Well for what it's worth here ... Read More
Before sailing on the Arcadia we read lots of reviews, some I agree with some i don't. We have been on five cruises with p&o all on different ships and our experience so far has been exceptional. Well for what it's worth here is our review of the Arcadia. First embarkation the wait on the coach at the port seemed to go on forever, after about an hour or more we finally got off the coach. The booking in procedure at the desk was slow and disorganised, something we have not experienced with p&o before. We quickly found our room we thought on first inspection, not bad. We waited for our luggage for what seemed forever. After about 2 hours we rang reception they said your luggage should be there. I went into the corridor and found our luggage outside other cabins. Not a good start. In the restaurant we asked for a table for two and was put on a table two inches away from another table. The same thing happened on the second time so we complained, to be fair to the staff they sorted it out immediately. The food was very good but the menu was repetitive. Service again very good but slow. There was a very noticeable vibration and clanking of the engines when the ship was up to speed. We found the entertainment in the palladium very good but woeful else where, I don't mind someone playing the piano but please not in every bar. We found the decor of the ship dark and dingy. On every ship we have been on the atrium has always given us the wow factor, not on this one it's drab and lifeless. The wardrobes in the cabin are a joke not only is it a squeeze for your clothes it's to dark in the corridor there is not enough room to change. I think on the next refit they should get rid of the two seater and but extra storage there. The main sunbathing area was a big disappointment, no music no life nothing, apart from sailaways. I have seen more life in a library. On one day it was windy and we kept getting splashed with this brown stuff that smelled of rust. Some of the passengers complained but just got fobbed of I could go on but I know I'm in the minority because several passengers said this is their favourite ship. I'm sure p&o have a ship to suit every body, if you want a cruise where you just want to relax and watch the world go by this is the ship for you, but if you want want more entertainment and more excitement then don't go on this ship. If this is your first time with p&o and you did not like it please try another ship. Our favourite is the Ventura and we have already booked for next July in the Greek Islands. Would I recommend this ship no, would I recommend p&o every time Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We have just returned from this cruise. The food was excellent in the Meridien restaurant. The fjords were spectactular. The shows were okay but nothing exceptional although the entertainment staff work hard and I have to say there ... Read More
We have just returned from this cruise. The food was excellent in the Meridien restaurant. The fjords were spectactular. The shows were okay but nothing exceptional although the entertainment staff work hard and I have to say there was loads going on throughout the day. We had not booked our excursions prior to the tour. When we went to the Excursions Desk most of the tours were booked! I had taken two tours with Thomsons and not had to pre-book the excursions? We also had no problems with Thomsons booking them once on board!! The lady and man on the desk were not particularly helpful. I asked if we would be able to book a tour privately. I was told they did not know! Obviously as there was no commission involved it would have been far too much for them to check for us! Another problem on board seems to be the toilets which constantly overflow. Also, the toilets outside the Meridien restaurant had no toilet paper in on at least 4 nights out of the seven. When I went to the main desk during the evening I was greeted with a very unfriendly woman who made little eye contact and said she would get it sorted. It wasn't. I asked her why the toilets are not checked regularly and she did not know. I was then told on phoning that there was a back up roll in the toilet (no there wasn't). There have been quite a few negative comments talking to other passengers on this cruise and customer service and lack of eye contact from staff were a key gripe! The toilet in our cabin stopped working 2 nights prior to us coming home and we reported this. We were assured that somebody would come up. We didn't see anybody and the toilet continued to be a problem. On the morning of departure our cabin was flooded completely. I phoned reception and reported it and asked them if somebody had in fact been to look at it 2 days earlier. I was told she would ring me back. After another 2 hone calls she still had not told me whether they had been to fix it. Our cabin steward practically accused us of putting things down the toilet such as tampons (I am 63 by the way). We assured him we had not and then got told it may have been somebody up on the next deck (NO APOLOGY). He then walked away and obviously had an attitude (not professional). I only wished we had known this was going to happen before we tipped him over 3 days! We had to vacate our cabins by 8am (very early) but I understand they have other passengers coming on at 2.15pm. However, on returning from breakfast at around 7.15am the bed had been made up and the bathroom cleaned!! Talk about outstay your welcome! It seemed they could not get rid of you fast enough! There is a real lack of customer service on this ship. A lot of crew are good but other passengers felt that the crew's grasp of English was not particularly good! Also some said that the 'best' of the crew had been sent to the new ship Brittania. This was not a cheap cruise and P&O need to sort this out before people start going to their rivals!! I will not be recommending P&O and definitely will not be sailing with them again. I had no complaints whatsoever with Thomson and if they had done the same cruise to the Fjords, we would have gone with them. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Just back from cruise. Overall a good itinerary with the offer of a good menu, coupled with our choice of freedom dining Freedom was a bit of a joke, 1 day being told restaurant full, and had to wait a further 40 minutes before we were ... Read More
Just back from cruise. Overall a good itinerary with the offer of a good menu, coupled with our choice of freedom dining Freedom was a bit of a joke, 1 day being told restaurant full, and had to wait a further 40 minutes before we were paged to get a table - just one that we shared, not a special requirement. Other days that we ate in the restaurant meant that mealtimes, start to finish averaged about 2h 30m so it was inevitable that we missed some of the evening entertainment. There was a general air of disorganisation in the Meridian restaurant throughout. On the other hand 'East' on Deck 11, a premium dining area was out of this world and worth every penny of the £20 per head surcharge - well done!! Variety of entertainment good, and choice of tours there is something to suit everyone. Rauma Valley and Briksdall Glacier especially notable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
We thought of checking out the Arcadia, as she sails around the world at seemingly reasonable fares, in order to have a base to judge her appeal for some months. Good that we did, as we did not like the overall impression. It started with ... Read More
We thought of checking out the Arcadia, as she sails around the world at seemingly reasonable fares, in order to have a base to judge her appeal for some months. Good that we did, as we did not like the overall impression. It started with the check-in, which was slow and ‘massive’. When on board, we were recommended to go to the Lido deck, the ‘Belvedere’ to have lunch or a snack. Not only did we struggle to find some seats, as all the deck in- and outside was packed. Then we found a seat and after some 10 minutes a waiter came to ask: “any drinks?” … not welcome on board, may I help you, or some other niceties, yes you were calibrated to the tone and style of the Belvedere. The ‘waiters’ with the white uniforms and one to 3 stripes did nothing but to check out their staff and were talking with each other – all the cruise long. No welcome words to the passengers with notable exceptions. … The waiter then took our order, after delivering the drinks menu and served, after some ten minutes again, the bottle of chardonnay, with plastic glasses. We refused to drink out of these and the waiter then took another 5 minutes to bring some real glasses. The wine was good but for some 18 pound St.+ you would expect a decent drop. The food, all self service of course, note: the waiters were only there to clear the tables and ask for drinks, possibly. The waiters clearing tables, had to wear blue most unappealing rubber gloves. Large buffet style servings reminding us more of mass university style food halls, all ok but not presented with any finesse nor ‘love’. Roasts, English style, potatoes, chips, some rice dishes and stews and a few other servings, every day, lunch and evening the same loveless concoctions. The desert glass cabinet had some small fruit tartlets, vanilla- and chocolate puddings and boring cream tarts, far away from any great Austrian cakes or deserts. We only checked it out once more and passed by a few other times to confirm the lack of variety. All very, very ordinary. The coffee out of theses huge machines, one type of mug only, tasted as expected, watery, flavourless and sad. Real milk was unavailable, only the skim type. Juices and tap-water again out of plastic coming from big dispensing machines. Not correct to say that all food was substandard, the dining room offerings were very good whilst no high quality gourmet style, but enjoyable. The waiters, mostly all Indian, did quite a good job and after our complaint of being seated where we did not like, we ignored the seating saga and were looked after by Pio the head waiter, experienced and gentle. Once we got to know the waiters, we enjoyed the service. When arriving at our cabin, we noticed that the deck was not cleaned, the next day it was better, however, it was not that nice to sit there at discoloured and unclean planks. Otherwise the room was in good order and at A1xx ‘deluxe balcony’, we would have liked some bathrobes and slippers, no luck in this grade it seamed. Bathroom amenities were also ordinary being in sink with the overall impression of the P&O motto of British mass appeal. Leaking ceilings for a few days in the hall close to the piano bar, permanent dryers in the charming Crows Nest were not that confidence building but things can happen. Service at the Crows Nest was also poor and long waits were normal. We did not like the drinks being measured too small and after bringing this to the notice of the waiter we received half a nimble more. The bar tender, we saw from the side, was unhappy and re-measured again, but the second time it was better and more adequate, considering the high prices on board, not commensurate with the service. The gym was reasonably big, but 3 out of the four exercise bikes were not functioning. The ladies in the spa, as there was nobody in the gym, did not know and promised to pass the message on to the gym boys, it was not fixed. Gym-cleanliness borderline. Service in general in the bars after the show was always slow, what reason is there complaining on holidays, we just mention it as this was unexpected. The shows in the Palladium Theatre were good, taste-wise not necessarily for the majority of the cruise participants. The stand up comedian was for the UK clientele only, other English speaking persons would likely not understand. The other music offerings, with the exception of the superb pianist who was also the mini orchestra chief, were nice, but just about that. All in all, P&O UK’s Arcadia was for us a big ship with a very ordinary appeal, we would give it 3 stars in most categories, the Belvedere would not deserve more than one. Perhaps our mistake was to cruise with Oceania and Crystal beforehand. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
i have always wanted to try a P&O cruise, I have sailed on princess and Cunard but had heard lots of good things about P&O so after booking a balcony cabin on Arcadia which was pretty expensive I was expecting great things. We ... Read More
i have always wanted to try a P&O cruise, I have sailed on princess and Cunard but had heard lots of good things about P&O so after booking a balcony cabin on Arcadia which was pretty expensive I was expecting great things. We boarded Arcadia and this was pretty quick with no problems, the cabin was ok, not great just average not much space to dress etc and very dark by the wardrobes, making it difficult to find what you were looking for. But we managed. The TV channels were ok but loads and loads of repeats day after day. I have to say this ship is very much geared towards the elderly, every bar you go into for pre dinner drinks is the same boring entertainment a singer and a man on an organ or a group with an organ or a man on a piano, makes you want to go to sleep...it's probably fantastic if your 70 but I'm mid 50s and nothing made me want to stay in a bar longer than half an hour. Bored silly. Look out for the disabled buggys I was almost mowed down daily while attempting to get breakfast. Food was nice in restaurant but the buffet again was same every day. We paid extra to eat in speciality restaurants. Very good but when you have paid a lot for your cruise already you shouldn't need to pay extra for good food. I was excited to see in the screening room they were showing second best exotic marigold hotel...oops when we settled in they showed the first one, when I queried this it was sorry wrong disc on ship...halfway through cruise I ordered my tipple a grey goose and diet coke ! Sorry madam we have run out of diet coke, only diet Pepsi,which I hate. All in all very disappointing cruise..Russia and Estonia best ports. Great crew. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
I have read numerous reviews of of two P&O cruise ships (Oriana & Arcadia) that I have recently sailed on in the past 6 months and my experiences have differed considerably from the negative reviews that I have read. In posting ... Read More
I have read numerous reviews of of two P&O cruise ships (Oriana & Arcadia) that I have recently sailed on in the past 6 months and my experiences have differed considerably from the negative reviews that I have read. In posting this review I want to be objective in what Arcadia as a ship offered and what the holiday experience was, relative to the positive and negative aspect of the ship. The cruise was 14 nights to the Baltic region with a 2 day stopover in St Petersburg, Russia. Embarkation. We were requested to arrive at 14:00 hours and we were 30 minutes early. We arrived by car with a pre-booked valet parking facility. On arrival our luggage was speedily collected for transfer to the ship. The embarkation procedure was efficient and we were on board with 45 minutes. We proceeded direct to our cabin, met our steward (by chance) in the corridor who escorted us to our cabin. To our surprise, all our luggage had arrived and was already in the cabin. (that was a first for us). Muster and lifeboat drill At about 3:30pm we heard via the public address (in the cabin) that we were to assemble at our designated muster station with life jackets at 4:00pm for the mandatory lifeboat drill. Our muster station was deck 2 of the Meridian restaurant. We attended as requested and all went well. It was whilst we were departing the restaurant to return to our cabin, that we experienced a bottleneck vacating the restaurant at the stairwell. On Arcadia, the stairs are considerably narrower than on Oriana or Aurora, in fact about half the width. I thought that this was a negative feature at a time when everybody would be trying to leave a muster station to climb a deck up to the lifeboats. Captains Gala Evening Captain Trevor Lane, the current Master of Arcadia is clearly a well respected Captain and a motivator of his crew. His address at the Captains Gala evening was the best I have witnessed. Not only introducing himself but getting all his senior officers up in front of the passengers…in fact I wondered who was left on the bridge driving the ship. His ship-wide broadcasts when leaving port always ended with the comment, “sit back, relax and let my wonderful crew look after you.” For the most part, wonderful they were. Dining We opted for fixed (Club) dining and requested a table of 8 second sitting. We had great companions as in previous cruises. The food in Arcadia’s Meridian dining room (lower level) was generally OK, we had two issues when it was served tepid, but that was not the norm. Service was generally efficient, the waiters were friendly and responsive to our requests. There was one occasion when my wife and I ordered a steak and it was very tough to cut and chew. We addressed the problem with the waiter who immediately offered to replace them, but as our fellow diners were completing their main course, we declined and said that the waiter should report it to his supervisor..he did and the manager spoke to us later with an apology. The menus read very well, by that, I mean they look delicious, however, what is served on the plate does not always correspond to the mental visualisation of what I just ordered. The waiters are very good, but as they no longer offer silver service, meals are plated in the galley and the main course is quite meagre portions. For example sirloin of beef consisted of 2 thin slices of beef and a single roast potato, and a few greens. One fellow diner, grouped his food to one side of the plate…big plate - small food. Fine dining it is not! Each evening meal is a five course offering...if you want it! In our group of eight, rarely did everyone order all the courses. Take all five courses and then ask why are you complaining of meagre portions? Certainly on our table, diners wanted more vegetables. Desserts were very good and well presented…for those who wanted them. When the ship was cruising (about 20knots), there was a considerable noisy vibration from the propulsion “azipod” units (propellors), unfortunately right under our dining table. It was not so bad if the ships speed reduced to about 15 knots. In all cruise ships that I have sailed on, I have found that the self service cafeteria, (Conservatory, Belvedere etc ) will divide passengers opinions. At peak times they are all busy, its usually difficult to find a seat, the menu tends to be repetitive and food under the warming lights quickly becomes dried and crusty. It is however, quick, convenient and usually means there is no dress code. It’s also usually available outside the operating hours of the main restaurants. Fellow passengers are usually my personal focus of complaint. On Arcadia it was no different to our experiences on Aurora or Oriana. Special premium dining On Arcadia there are two premium dining restaurants , the "Ocean Grill" (Pierre Marco White) and “East" (Atul Kochher). We tried both. The Ocean Grill was very good, a £15 per person supplement, my wife and I dined there during our overnight stop in St Petersburg. Several tables were occupied by the ships officers, (must be good then?). The food was delicious the service initially a little slow, but nevertheless we did not feel rushed and we were very content. The East restaurant was a different experience. All 8 diners on our normal table in the Meridian restaurant collectively agreed to try the East restaurant, this was towards the end of the cruise, we had enjoyed each others company and lets all go Asian cuisine. A table was reserved for 8:30pm the following evening. The service was slow, resulting in main courses being plated and served, then accompanying side dishes (noodles, vegetables) etc followed later, they were mostly cold, We all Complained, sent them back, wait another 10/15 minutes, side dishes arrive, main course now consumed or cold. One fellow diner offered to stand a couple of bottles of wine for us all. They were placed in ice buckets away from our table, we had to ask twice for the wine waiter to bring wine to our table and charge our glasses. (our normal wine waiter in the Meridian restaurant would automatically keep the glasses topped up…without prompting!). Finally when the meal was cleared two of the ladies asked for tea, It arrived cold, one in a badly chipped cup. This was the final straw, one member of our table called for the manager, and complained stating that the experience was not worth the £15 per head supplement. The manager (an officer by rank) disappeared for around 30 minutes before returning to state that £15 per couple (£7.50 per head) would be deducted. "OK, can we have a complaint form please?" We finally left at around 11:15pm from a table reservation of initially 8:30pm. The following day a telephone message was left in our cabin from the Catering manager, apologising for the experience. Had we all dined as individual couples, would we have experienced the same poor service? Probably not, because no one else in the restaurant that evening appeared to have a problem. Were we a difficult group? No, just 8 diners that the team serving us for some reason could not service. Entertainment Arcadia has a superb theatre, spread over three decks, with an upper and lower level, it contains a hi tech stage and lighting system that would rival the best London West End theatres. The Headliners entertainers were very professional and slick in their performances. Individual performers also entertained in the form of musicians, comedians and instrumentalists. There were no problems in getting seats to view the performances. We did not use the “Globe” lounge, which on one evening when making our way to the theatre, passing the Globe lounge, we noticed very few passengers seated and a soloist merrily singing to an empty dance floor. It was still the same when we returned an hour later. There was one guest speaker who gave several “enrichment" presentations centred around the Titanic disaster and the RNLI Lifeboat organisation (odd subject for a cruise ship!), however, he was well received and his presentations well attended. General Ship layout Arcadia is larger than Aurora or Oriana (we have sailed twice on each ship), but Arcadia's interior is a fairly bland layout, apart from the theatre there is no “wow” factor. The atrium is functional and quite boring. The Crows Nest was recently refitted and is contemporary but there is a visual design flaw with the forward facing windows. When you are seated in the forward section, there is a thick aluminium frame that corresponds with the horizon, which means you cannot see the horizon and thus the panoramic vista. There were never any problems in finding a seat to enjoy a drink or coffee in any of the lounges on the ship. There were several buckets and “hazard warning cones” positioned along a main thoroughfare on deck 3 to capture water dripping from the ceiling, this corresponded to the temporary closure of the ships cinema (The Screening Room) due to flooding. Clearly a plumbing problem, necessitating shut down of the cabin water supply from midnight to 4:00am on one night to effect repairs. Other than those minor issues, the ship was clean throughout. None of the plumbing issues caused us any inconvenience, nor did it spoil or have any impact on our vacation. Its amazing to me to read how such routine issues result in some reviewers, condemning ship, crew and cruise line, with a “we’ll never sail again” comment. Spa My wife used the Spa facilities on a couple of occasions and was complimentary about the girls and the service. I noted though, that its one place on the ship were it is easy to run up a bill quickly. However, far be it for me to complain, the Memsahib was very satisfied. Ports itinerary This was a very enjoyable cruise from the ports itinerary, the highlight for us being St Petersburg and Tallin. The cruise combined a good mix of “at sea” days and port days. The approach through the archipelago into Stockholm was a fabulous sight. It necessitated an early alarm setting, about 05:30 am, but the sun was shining, the sea flat calm as the Captain and pilot slowly manoeuvred the 83,000 tonne ship through channels very close to the myriad of islands to gain access to Stockholm port. Great photo opportunities - I took more than 200 shots. Summary. The Baltic cruise weather was largely windy with some sunny days , a few wet ones and general daytime temperatures were in the 10C (50F) to 18C (65F) range. Sea state moderate but Force 5 to 7 winds ruled out using the balcony. Arcadia is a sleek looking ship, with a full walk round promenade deck, we did not use all the facilities, such as Casino, Pub, card room, but we did enjoy our cruise. the dining is not “fine dining” but generally the food was good. The majority of our meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner was taken in the Meridian restaurant. We prefer to dine with the fixed arrangement. Apart from the incident in the East restaurant we found all the ships crew to be very friendly and efficient. This one incident would not prevent us from sailing again with P&O, (in fact we already have another cruise with P&O booked for next year on Oceana), we put it down to “one of those things”. The ships itinerary was more important to us and that was completely satisfactory. We slept soundly and experienced no problems that would spoil our holiday. We were allotted a 10:15am time slot to disembark and this was achieved 15 minutes early. We would not describe Arcadia as our favourite ship, it was OK and it was quite bland. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Having just completed a mini trip to brussels & le havre on Arcadia . We were looking forward to a relaxed trip having paid the extra to upgrade to a suite. We duly arrived at 12.45 after problems with entry to the port gate ( Not P ... Read More
Having just completed a mini trip to brussels & le havre on Arcadia . We were looking forward to a relaxed trip having paid the extra to upgrade to a suite. We duly arrived at 12.45 after problems with entry to the port gate ( Not P & O but an accident on route to Aurora cruise terminal). Having arrived and suitcases off loaded,the first batch of people at the entry were a group of hen party with offensive sweatshirts joining the cruise , check in was good but again we had to ask for were we go for priority check in ,the room was as promised and all suite facilities in place . Having our walk around, we lunched on a cold burger up on the upper deck and upon walking around ship as you do, we noticed the Meridian open,upon enquiry this was open for Suite guests ( Not the best of P & O communication as never advised at check in) Having been on many cruises with P & O and having myself been refused entry to a bar without a jacket expected standards to be maintained . Having complied with dress code only to find the hen party tables dressed in sailor outfits with large blow up members doing games with whistles etc is not what you expect and feel sorry for passengers sampling a first cruise. Overall P & O need raise the standards on these mini cruises ,think about what they want to gain ,as for us this will be a last short cruise due to the drop in standards expected and received on all other P & O cruises lets hope they get better as we are booked on Brittania in December Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This cruise was a 20 day leg of a world cruise, from Hong Kong to Dubai and was our third cruise on Arcadia, sixth with P & O. The boarding process in Hong Kong was efficient and went very smoothly. One unfortunate aspect of this ... Read More
This cruise was a 20 day leg of a world cruise, from Hong Kong to Dubai and was our third cruise on Arcadia, sixth with P & O. The boarding process in Hong Kong was efficient and went very smoothly. One unfortunate aspect of this cruise was the itinerary change; we had booked this cruise because we liked the itinerary and although we had already been to most of the ports before we had not been to Muscat so were looking forward to going there, but instead of going to Muscat we went to Abu Dhabi. If we had known about the itinerary change at the time of booking we would not have booked a post cruise Dubai hotel, but we were stuck with it because we had none changeable air tickets. Acadia still went to Muscat but this was now on the next leg of the cruise after we had disembarked. P & O stated that the itinerary change was upon advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office regarding civil unrest in Egypt, so they cancelled visits to the ports of Safaga and Sokhna. Arcadia was due to visit these ports on the next leg of the world cruise, not the leg we were on, so we feel that P & O should have left the itinerary on the leg we were on unchanged!!! Internet research appeared to show that other cruise lines were still sailing to Safaga and Sokhna. Meridian Restaurant Owing to the noise level and rushed service in the Meridian restaurant we tended to have diner in the Ocean Grill. The Meridian is quiet at lunch times, but the food was not very good. Ocean Grill The Ocean is an oasis of excellent food and service, well worth paying the supplement to dine there. However it is possible that things might go downhill because an early dinner’s offer of a free bottle of wine. This has placed the excellent and very hard working maître d' and wait staff under great pressure and it is near impossible for the tiny galley to keep up with the all the orders. We hope this ill-conceived policy does not reduce the Ocean Grill's standard of service down to the rushed, bang it down service of the Meridian Restaurant. Wine Package P & O offer a wine discount package, however you cannot purchase a package in the Ocean Grill only the other restaurants or by telephoning the Wine Line. So I telephoned the Wine Line, the gentleman I spoke with informed me of the details and said they should have been a leaflet in the cabin, he confirmed that although a Wine Package could only be purchased in the main restaurants and bars it could be used in the Ocean Grill and East. As there was no leaflet in our cabin I asked if I could have one, and was told to telephone Room Service as they would deliver one to the cabin straight away. I telephoned Room Service, the lady I spoke with said that they did not have the leaflets but would get one from a bar and bring it to the cabin, it never arrived, so I went down to a bar and collected one myself. The Belvedere The food was not up to the standard of the equivalent Restaurant on Princess Cruises. Formal Nights According to the printed information we received when boarding there were going to be 5 formal nights on the 20 night cruise, however this information proved to be incorrect as P & O changed this to 4. We thought this was still too many as it was very hot. P & O might like to consider scraping formal nights and imposing a sensible dress code similar to Oceania Cruises smart casual? Shore Excursions The excursions ran fairly well, a few arrived back at the ship later than the scheduled times, I thought the coaches were a little overcrowded, although there were always enough seats, but very few spare. Immigration All immigration formalities went well with the exception of India. It appears that Indian Immigration Officers should have boarded Acadia in Malaya to process the passengers and crew during the transit between Malaya and India. However they failed to board in Malaya, and only boarded after the ship arrived in India. The passengers had to queue up the entire length of the ship and halfway back again. We were fifty minutes in the queue, ship's crew were going along the queue with cups of water and asking if anyone was feeling faint? This ridiculous immigration process meant that some of the shore excursions left an hour late. Considering the Indian Government charge a high fee in advance for visas, which are compulsory if you are going ashore or not, it was a very poor show. It is very unlikely we would ever book another cruise which included a port in India. Reception All the reception staff were welcoming and excellent at their jobs, well done the reception. Leaks At times when walking around the ship we noticed various buckets placed to catch water dripping out of the ceilings. We didn't know if the dripping water was because of plumbing leaks or air conditioning problems. One of the public area toilets was out of action for days whist the crew was trying to dry it out with a large blower unit. Laundry We used the laundry service 4 times, 3 times the laundry came back in the stated service time and once it was a day late. They charge extra for dress shirts, but they do not do a good job, very poorly ironed. Self-Service Launderette There are not enough self-service laundrettes, they are free of charge but are badly designed with only three machines in each and nowhere to sit. There were several arguments between passengers in the laundrettes, regarding taking other people's washing out of the machines. Acadia Cough We were on Acadia at Christmas, at that time a lot of passengers had what they were calling the 'Acadia Cough', in March and April the 'Acadia Cough' was still prevalent. Cabin B136 This cabin is located in a fairly quiet position Port side aft. It is located opposite a store cupboard but that was not bothersome, however just down the passageway there is crew staircase and it might be this that causes an occasional smell of cooking in the early mornings and evenings. Some of the cabin wall coverings have been patched (rather badly). The bathroom backs onto the bathroom of B134 and appeared to be better insulated for noise than the average cruise ship bathroom. The shower is over the bath, the shower attachment was rather worn and looked like it should have been replaced. One possible problem is noise from B140, the party wall between the cabins is rather poorly insulated for noise. Conclusion The ship is looking a little tired in places, but overall is not looking too bad. However I do believe that P & O are cutting corners to save a pound or two and overall things were not as good as they used to be. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
On the positive side we enjoyed nearly all of the ports of call. Our main disappointment was with P&O and its declining levels of service. The Carnival corporation is making changes each time we travel with P&O, which is most ... Read More
On the positive side we enjoyed nearly all of the ports of call. Our main disappointment was with P&O and its declining levels of service. The Carnival corporation is making changes each time we travel with P&O, which is most years. These changes were originally minor, but the cut backs are now affecting the quality of service in noticeable ways. In particular the "silver service" is gone, no more choice of vegetables as plates arrive with all the food on the plate. Not too bad if you are used to small amounts of vegetables but a problem if you , like myself enjoy the vegetables more than the meat. Secondly the choice of vegetables was terrible, we ended up saying "if we see another carrot or piece of broccoli we will jump ship'. The other problem is that the turnover of passengers who have booked last minute deals is spoiling the world cruise experience. Most short hop passengers have been able to get very low cost deals which they enjoy sharing with those world cruisers that have paid full price. The number of so called cocktail parties have been greatly cut back as well, we only attended two in nearly nine weeks of travel, yet short hop passengers enjoyed just the same number. We were also unhappy with the pillows as there were no feather pillows available when we boarded in Sydney. Only when we complained and said we would be buying our own at the first port of call did two feather pillows appear. The bedding and towels were well worn and marked ,although it was stains rather than not being washed that was the problem. The cabin was a bit cramped and in need of a refurbishment. The staff are good but are terrified of getting bad feedback as it affects their tips. Without wishing to gone too long about other problems let's leave it here and say finally we will not be travelling P&O for a long time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
My wife and myself recently travelled on a sector of the world cruise on Arcadia. We joined the ship in Sydney on 21 February 2015 and disembarked in Hong Kong on 16 March 2015. When joining the ship in Sydney we were required to fill ... Read More
My wife and myself recently travelled on a sector of the world cruise on Arcadia. We joined the ship in Sydney on 21 February 2015 and disembarked in Hong Kong on 16 March 2015. When joining the ship in Sydney we were required to fill in a form stating our health was in good condition. How come we were required to do this when a fair few of the passengers already on the ship were suffering from chest infections and a persistent cough?. Naturally after a week or so at sea we also caught the bug. Actually one of the crew members advised that the only way to overcome this is to take plenty of vitamin C tablets. Maybe P & O should advise forthcoming passengers of this tip. It has taken us 2 weeks at home to get healthy again and that is after visits to our local Doctor. Apart from that the cruise was fairly good. The cabin was excellent as was the food. The Headliners were excellent and most of the other performers were good to average. The service from the crew was very good. We felt the Shore excursions were overpriced and definitely not value for money. Read Less
Arcadia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.6
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 1.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.7

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