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Sail Date: April 2015
We were aware of some of the negative feedback about Arcadia before we set sail; however, we decided to be open minded about everything. It's fair to say, there will always be parts of a cruise that could have gone better, but for us, ... Read More
We were aware of some of the negative feedback about Arcadia before we set sail; however, we decided to be open minded about everything. It's fair to say, there will always be parts of a cruise that could have gone better, but for us, the 17 day Eastern Med cruise went without a hitch. Arcadia was spotlessly clean, with attentive and helpful staff wherever we went on board. The passenger areas are vast on this ship, and we were never aware there were around 2000 people on board. There are an array of quiet lounges, coffee bars etc, together with an excellent choice of food served in the Meridian and Belvedere Restaurants. The evening shows in the Palladium Theatre were both varied and of a very high standard, with the Arcadia cast really giving their all at each performance. Our overall impression of Arcadia is that she is a lovely ship with great facilities, but lacks any 'wow' factor compared to other cruise ships which is shame. All ports of call were excellent and bar Gibraltar, we had enough time to see everything we wanted to. When we booked this cruise, the itinerary said that departure from Gibraltar was early afternoon, where in reality, we were told to be back on board for mid-day! I know P&O will say that it reserves the right to change the times, but we really did not have anywhere near enough time. The ship left late anyway owing to the numbers of passengers queuing to rejoin the ship. A few things we would mention. P&O need to be mindful of trying to extract every last pound out of their passengers. We seem to be besieged by the ship's photographers wherever we went, whether disembarking at the ports, at sail-a-way parties or at dinner. That's OK to a point, but it did become a little annoying at times! The photographs then appeared in the gallery at £11.80 each. A member of staff told me that around 60% are not sold and are destroyed. Perhaps if they were priced more sensibly, sales would increase and it might reduce wastage at the same time! We felt the biggest rip-off of all was a 'behind the scenes' tour, which was advertised in the Horizon paper. As this was something that really appealed to us, I rang reception only to be told the tour was priced at £75 per person! Come on P&O, can't you at least give something back to your loyal customers, rather than view them as cash-cows! We sailed with Celebrity a couple of years ago where such a tour was complimentary, and we didn't pay a dollar to be on the bridge for half an hour with the Captain! Shame on you! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
As a fortieth wedding anniversary treat we booked cruise J503 on Arcadia. Denise, my wife is wheelchair bound and this was our first cruise without family so we were concerned whether we would cope. Embarkation was a breeze. Our daughter ... Read More
As a fortieth wedding anniversary treat we booked cruise J503 on Arcadia. Denise, my wife is wheelchair bound and this was our first cruise without family so we were concerned whether we would cope. Embarkation was a breeze. Our daughter dropped us off, our suitcases were collected by a porter and we entered the departure area to book in. Within 20 minutes we were in our cabin. The cabin itself was ok but hardly fully adapted as described. Plenty of storage space but a lack of a full length wardrobe left Denise's dresses half folded. P&O make much of their fine dining experience but again it was slightly disappointing. Food was not always very hot and at times could only be described as bland. Choice of vegetables seemed to be anything you liked, as long as it was brocolli ! Conversation with other passengers, many of whom were Arcadia regulars, suggested that the standard of dining had diminished since the abolition of silver service. Plates now arrive fully plated and are unceremoniously plonked in front of you. However, waiter service and wine waiter service was excellent. Port and shore excursions were good. At Cadiz most boarded coaches for Seville but my days of manhandling Denise onto a coach have long gone so we spent an enjoyable day wandering around Cadiz. Messina is not a place I wish to return to in a hurry! I have never seen so much graffiti, it was scrawled everywhere. The whole place looked as if it could do with a good lick of paint. The harbour was full of floating rubbish. However, it has a magnificent cathedral. Pretty Corfu was the next stop. Unfortunately no shuttle buses were provided for the disabled so we were left with a lengthy walk to the old town. P&O please note, if you supply a service (ie shuttle bus) for able bodied passengers, by European Disability Law you MUST provide the same service for disabled passengers otherwise you are guilty of disability discrimination. Rant over. Must admit we quite enjoyed the 2 mile stroll into town. Next was beautiful Dubrovnik. We booked a wheelchair accessible tour here and were taken by adapted minibus way into the country to a farm that milled it's own flour, then onto Cavtat, then to Dubrovnik old town. Excellent tour with an excellent guide. Venice followed and again we booked an wheelchair accessible tour. Expensive but well worth the money. From the ship to Tronchetto Island to board a valparetto for the trip to St Marks Square. We had a personal guide all day as part of the tour package. Fabulous day. Split was an anti-climax as we knew that the ship was tendered here, so we spent a relaxing day on board recovering from Dubrovnik and Venice. Then followed a lengthy trip to Gibraltar for a flying visit ( 4 hours) and being Sunday most of the shops were closed. And finally to Southampton where disembarkation was just as smooth as embarkation. On board entertainment generally was excellent. The Headliners Theatre Group produced some excellent shows. Arcadia herself is showing signs of wear and tear. Buckets catching dripping water became a more frequent sight as the cruise went on. I think a decent refit is long overdue. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed it despite a few gripes. I may be a little generous giving it four stars. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This was the first time we had travelled with P&O although we have done numerous cruises with Cunard, Royal Caribbean et cetera. We had of course read reviews before boarding and noted that there had been a number of previous negative ... Read More
This was the first time we had travelled with P&O although we have done numerous cruises with Cunard, Royal Caribbean et cetera. We had of course read reviews before boarding and noted that there had been a number of previous negative remarks, some of them quite caustic. We were initially surprised at quite how overwhelmingly British are P&O ships. Prices are in sterling and generally lower than on ships with dollar pricing. There is also a refreshing absence of having to pay a 15% tip for every drink. Food has the emphasis on “British traditional”, with plentiful supplies of sausage, black pudding and several varieties of tea. On one occasion the “dish of the day” was cottage pie although more exotic dishes were also available. As we left one port ‘Jerusalem’ was belted out lustily by the passengers from the deck to the puzzlement of the locals. The passengers were also mainly British and, as befits a lengthy world cruise for those with time to spare, elderly. There had been reports of passengers being ill, but of course the same bunch of folk at home would have had illness problems as well. The ‘Arcadia’ cough episode seemed to be over. The crew were uniformly attentive, friendly, and cheerful. As is our practice, we quickly found out the names of the important people (cabin steward, table waiters, bar waiter et cetera) and established cordial relations. We felt that the standard and variety of the food in the main restaurant was slightly below that of other lines, although we heard extremely satisfied comments from fellow diners concerning the speciality restaurants. In the self-service ‘Belvedere’ breakfast was top class, lunch and dinner rather limited in choice. Puds were great and there was always a selection of cheese including Stilton (try getting that on a US ship). We never went hungry. We found the ship bright and airy with pale colours everywhere contributing to the atmosphere. There were minor problems in our cabin including the air conditioning although these were fixed promptly. There were some scuffs and scratches which indicated that a “wash and brush up” would be a good idea quite soon; we think this may be occurring in the autumn. Bars presented Brit-flavoured entertainment (pub torch singers, karaoke and so on) of a professional standard. We only attended one show – a Queen tribute – which had us (and everyone else) singing along. Our favourite bar was the Crow’s Nest – high up with superb views and entertainment that leaned towards classical. We agreed we really didn’t ‘get’ a lot of the critical comments. Okay if you’re poorly you are not going to have great time (although we didn’t need them ourselves we heard good reports of the medical service). I have yet to meet a rude crew member on any cruise line. So I’m sorry if people didn’y have a good time – we did. We will ‘do’ P&O again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Having never experienced a 29 day cruise, we were a little unsure what we would think and booked this leg of the world cruise. we loved it so much we could have stayed on for weeks more. We are used to the various people who complain ... Read More
Having never experienced a 29 day cruise, we were a little unsure what we would think and booked this leg of the world cruise. we loved it so much we could have stayed on for weeks more. We are used to the various people who complain about many issues on all cruise ships, including this and we wonder what people really expect when paying these very reasonable prices mostly offered these days. We could point to some areas that can be improved on Arcadia...the evening meals in the buffet were very poor..leftovers mixed together, very little choice, and the dining room menus could be varied a lot more also. However we always found some very enjoyable food to eat in the dining room and it sure beats cooking it yourself! Staff were friendly..we had the most superb waiter..Sadashiva and will never forget his humour, kindness and great service to us and everyone we dined with. We tried out the ballroom dancing lessons with Jeffrey..what an amazing teacher and we soon found we were hooked an loving every session. To get such expert teaching as one of the included services onboard is wonderful..many people take these items for granted. Also Garry is a fantastic line dance teacher and soon had us exhausted but begging for more routines! We had an inside cabin, which we usually as we are really in our cabin. We were pleased with it's large size and had plenty of storage space. We thought the Arcadia handled the seas beautifully, in contrast to what others have said, and we never had a moment of seasickness. The Arcadia cough as it was called was certainly a worry for many people. We weren't affected but knew many who were and we doubted if the staff really accepted full liability that something had definitely become entrenched in terms of a virus on this ship and needed a whole ship disinfectant approach. Speaking of which it did disappoint us that mandatory hand washing on entry to all dining venues was not enforced...people were allowed to wander in and not wash their hands and this is one way the ship's crew can play their part in keeping viruses to a minimum. It seems P&O do not value the cruise critic group and did little to help organise meetings...the need to realise it is in their interests to promote the groups and learn from the valuable feedback from guests. Similarly there was not organised GLBT meetings which we would have appreciated and this is the first cruise line we have sailed on that doesn't have regular meetings gazetted..another area where P&O can lift their game. Evening shows were fantastic...the Headliners, ship's company, were the best we have heard on any cruise line and need to be highly congratulated...they were of international standard indeed, as were many other acts brought on for the cruise. As others have commented, unfortunately P&O is going down the same line as other companies...raising prices on all the extras that means they end up losing out. Photos were an extraordinary price...if lowered, many more would be bought..as it is, hundreds were shredded due to lack of sales. Ship's tours, like many lines, were way above acceptable pricing and again more competitiveness with land tours would please guests and mean better sales for P&O. Spa salon prices were so dear, walking past we often saw absolutely no one in there. Spa staff were placed around the ship trying to sell services, again with little interest from passers by due to pricing. These are areas we believe P&O could change, but taking a general view of the cruise, we would do it again and thought it was great value for money. We made some wonderful new friends whom we shall stay in touch with and treasure the memories for long to come. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Having read many of the reviews of this cruise/ ship I feel I must redress the balance somewhat. This was our first long cruise and due to the inability to fly, our only way to get to Australia to visit family. We boarded Arcadia with ... Read More
Having read many of the reviews of this cruise/ ship I feel I must redress the balance somewhat. This was our first long cruise and due to the inability to fly, our only way to get to Australia to visit family. We boarded Arcadia with no problem and were soon on board- our first stop being in the Belvedere buffet for a very welcome drink while we waited for our luggage to be delivered to our cabin. We didn't have to wait long and were soon able to unpack. Our cabin steward was more than helpful and always willing to do anything we asked (& more). The crew we encountered were all seemed very happy and were very visible around the ship - none more so than Captain Hashmi. We could not have asked for a more convivial Captain and crew. The tour team led by Sam was, again more than helpful and always willing to give any information about ports of call and tours etc. Yes, they aren't the cheapest but they still represent good value, especially in new ports of call when you might be unsure about visiting places on your own. The Ports of call out to Sydney were many and varied and all proved to be very enjoyable. All in all we found it to be a superb way to spend 6 & half weeks travelling. Yes, the Arcadia cough was ever present, BUT I feel the spread was partly due to passengers not covering mouths when coughing and not respecting other people by keeping out of the way when at their worst. We took Vitamin C with us and took it daily whilst on the voyage and thankfully did not succumb, so maybe if people thought a little before embarking on the voyage it could be prevented somewhat? We are all responsible for looking after ourselves after all. After spending time in Australia we returned home on Queen Mary 2 and have to say that Arcadia gave us more happy memories and they all suffered with the Cunard cough. So no difference there. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
I am writing this to slightly redress the balance of reviews for Arcadia's 2015 circumnavigation - we sailed from Southampton to Sydney, departing on January 6th and flying back from Sydney on February 22nd. The ship has recently been ... Read More
I am writing this to slightly redress the balance of reviews for Arcadia's 2015 circumnavigation - we sailed from Southampton to Sydney, departing on January 6th and flying back from Sydney on February 22nd. The ship has recently been refurbished and all of the public rooms were very nicely presented. We especially liked the East Bar and Intermezzo was very comfortable. There were a lot of elderly passengers but, as this was a world cruise with a total duration of over 100 nights, we expected this. However, the vast majority of passengers were able bodied, whatever their age. Some reviews comment on boorish behaviour; personally, I found the behaviour of almost all of the passengers exemplary. There are also some comments about obesity and greed - many people cruise to eat a lot and why not? I do agree with comments about the cabins; our cabin was always slightly grubby, I am not sure that the bathroom floor was washed while we were resident and there was dust under the bed and in the wardrobe. The bed was changed frequently but the sheets, quilt cover and pillowcases were not good quality, never smelt fresh, and were sometimes marked. I expected better. We did comment in our questionnaire about the poor quality of the pillows and they were replaced - for the final night of our cruise! The food was very good and occasionally exceptional. There was a wide choice at every meal. The waiters and wine waiter were brilliant and endeavoured to meet every need. Some passengers did become ill – probably no more than would have fallen ill in the UK in January and February. I saw people coughing without covering their mouths and people who were clearly unwell still attended shows and went on trips etc. However, only a small minority of people were ill. There is a medical centre on the ship but it is not the NHS and anyone visiting the doctor does have to pay similar costs to private medical care at home. There was always plenty to do, whatever your age, for example: Spanish classes; art classes; cinema; ‘boot camp’; yoga; port talks; barbecues; ice-carving; library; bingo; casino; guest speakers; craft lessons; chocaholics buffet, etc. We visited some marvellous ports and, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise. Arcadia’s cabins do need an upgrade but the holiday represented good value for money. Don’t be put off by the negativity – do take medicines for minor complaints.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
You only get one chance for a first impression. If that is bad, forget everything else! Mistakenly, we thought that P&O had 'grown out of' their appalling embarkation shambles at Southampton by now (We are are in 2015). But ... Read More
You only get one chance for a first impression. If that is bad, forget everything else! Mistakenly, we thought that P&O had 'grown out of' their appalling embarkation shambles at Southampton by now (We are are in 2015). But no, we were made to stand in line for anything up to two hours and the cafe was shut. Cunard, who use these same terminals, seat you comfortably with an open cafe and call you by initial.. How are P&O going to cope with twice the number of passengers when their new Britannia enters service this spring? AD ASTRA? Having survived the above, we were delighted to find the 10yr-old Arcadia, probably the most elegant of the Fincantieri-built Vista Class (Panamax) ships, to be in excellent fettle. Her late-2013 refit had brought, inter alia, new carpets and colour schemes throughout. The mainly-Indian crew were cheerful and efficient and she remains a happy ship. For the first time, we tried 'Freedom Dining' and, while there were the expected 'pinch points', when everyone turned up at once, we found this arrangement more preferable than the fixed scheme. While you paid a small premium for the Gourmet restaurants of East and the Ocean Grill, there was a fee bottle of wine if you ate early. The food throughout was good. The daily 'Horizon' programme gave you plenty of options for the following day, including the dress code for that night's evening, which we thought about right. There were helpful introductory talks about our ports- of-call and guest speakers on other topics. I took lessons in Spanish and my wife was able to polish up her Bridge. Whilst WIFI was available throughout the ship, it is still far too expensive. The librarians who monitored it, however, were courteous, knowledgeable and efficient. The saunas were unreliable and the temperature of the water in the Neptune Pool was very variable. We like the sliding roof. Our fellow passengers, apparently with an average age of 67 years, were mainly obese Brits and Australians, some with tattoos and a few in wheelchairs. Although many were coughing, unstifled, we escaped the dreaded 'Arcadia Cough'. Above all, Arcadia was commanded by the excellent Coventry born-and-bred Caprtain Aseem Hashmi, who made it his business to see and be seen throughout the ship. the crew's discipline was excellent. We look forward to our next opportunity to sail in this ship once more, but only when the outrageous embarkation arrangements at Southampton have been sorted out. In total contrast, the new Pier 27 Terminal in Francisco was superb, and disembarkation there was as easy as ever. Moored there, on the sunny and fog-free morning we arrived, we had a view of the Golden Gate Bridge on the Starboard side of the ship, with the Bay Bridge on the Port side. Wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
As regular passengers with Celebrity, we embarked upon P&O’s Arcadia, sailing from Southampton in early December with some trepidation, particularly as our only other cruise with P&O on the Azura was not all we had hoped for, ... Read More
As regular passengers with Celebrity, we embarked upon P&O’s Arcadia, sailing from Southampton in early December with some trepidation, particularly as our only other cruise with P&O on the Azura was not all we had hoped for, although that was partly because we prefer smaller ships. However, this particular cruise was excellent value for money. The embarkation process at Southampton was fast and efficient, and a little tip for you, rather than pay the extortionate hotel and parking prices near to the Port. It's worth the taxi fare to stay twenty minutes away at the Southampton North Premier Inn where the staff are nice and friendly, and the hotel and parking is considerably cheaper. Like Celebrity, P&O allow you to board the ship early whilst you wait for your cabin to be ready. Because this cruise was such excellent value for money, we decided to treat ourselves to a balcony cabin on this occasion. Our cabin had plenty of room, and was very clean and bright with a large flat screen TV, although the wardrobes were opposite the bathroom door which was a tad annoying at times. Also, the balcony was quite small, and we had a problem with the dividing partition which kept swinging open. As for the rest of the ship, well, we really liked it, despite the fact that it creaked a lot, and in our opinion didn't seem quite as stable as the other thirty or so ships we have been on. I think it's something to do with its unique engine design, but don't let that put you off, although if you are not a good sailor, it's probably better to travel on this ship in the months where the weather is likely to be better with calmer seas. It's a lovely, spacious, modern, clean ship, and its bars and restaurants are well appointed, particularly the Crow’s Nest with its panoramic views on deck 10. It never seemed crowded to us, and it has a great theatre, and a very well equipped gym with the latest equipment. It also has an awesome hydrotherapy pool and thermal beds which are worth paying the additional premium for, and although we never used it, the main pool was situated in an area with a retractable roof, which is is obviously great for when the weather isn't so good. Also really liked the Promenade Deck (Deck 3) with its wrap around walking deck, and P&O’s policy of allowing you to bring a reasonable amount of alcohol on board for your own consumption in your cabin. Another major plus is the fact that P&O show Premier League football, both in the Rising Sun pub and on the tv in your cabin on the Arcadia. Both the Spa and the shops were expensive, but I guess while people are prepared to pay those prices, that will not change. The itinerary for the cruise took in Vigo, a really nice city in northern Spain with great wine. Try the Albariño white wine, it's our favourite and it's produced in this region of Spain. Next stop was to Porto, beautiful city with great character. A good idea is to visit one of the many Port distilleries , and take a trip along the Douro river. Then onto Cadiz, where the weather was terrible, so we didn't see it at its best. The following stop was Malaga. Apparently it's Spain's sixth largest city according to the guide we had, and looked like a lovely place to spend a couple of days. We chose to take the ship’s excursion to Mijas which has some stunning views, and according to my wife is a pretty village, although on the day we were there it must have been the coldest, windiest place on earth, not something you would expect in Southern Spain. Our next port of call was to Gibralter. For some strange reason we only had four hours here, so not a lot of time to see very much, but a great place to buy any alcohol you may want as its is very cheap here! There are also some well known English shops here such as C&A, Marks and Spencer, WHSmiths etc, but expect to pay a little extra. The last port of call was Lisbon, another beautiful city with plenty of character. If like us, you are addicted to football, there are English newspapers for sale, just after your get off of the ship. We chose to see Lisbon independently, choosing the open top sightseeing bus all cities seem to have these days. Allow at least four hours for the different routes. Generally speaking, we really enjoyed the cruise. The food was excellent, the staff were friendly, (apart from those in Café Vivo – no idea why they are working in customer service when they can't even smile), the ship’s reception staff were easily the friendliest we have encountered, and strangely, all but one of them were men. So having started the cruise with some reservations, this positive experience with P&O means we will definitely cruise with them again, even though I don't believe their loyalty programme is as good at Celebrity's. Talking of which, we will rejoin the beautiful Celebrity Century in January before she leaves their fleet. A great shame, it's our favourite ship! Never mind, P&O is growing on us!   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Overall an enjoyable cruise on a beautiful ship. The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. One of the highlights of the holiday was the food in the Meridian restaurant, which we found to be excellent, as mentioned ... Read More
Overall an enjoyable cruise on a beautiful ship. The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. One of the highlights of the holiday was the food in the Meridian restaurant, which we found to be excellent, as mentioned by other reviewers the service was slow on some nights, but that was not a problem to us, as we enjoyed a leisurely meal with good wine, company and good service. The public areas of the ship were all very impressive and well maintained with a good choice of bars with musicians, restaurants and sitting areas, Our cabin decoration, was a bit jaded, especially the bathroom, but was spotlessly clean, very comfortable and our cabin steward was excellent. We enjoyed the Ports we visited and took P&O excursions in all of them but we did not have enough time in most of the destinations. It may be helpful to include travelling time and length of time which will be spent in Port in the description of the excursions. The entertainment programme was disappointing. We would have liked a wider variety of lectures or perhaps some art related classes and a more varied programme of music. The 'port talks' were little more than a sales pitch to sell the excursions. There were endless quizzes, but we did enjoy the nightly 'Syndicate' quiz in The Crow's Nest and the Headliners dancers were excellent. We also enjoyed the dance classes with Paul and Carole Anne. The service across the whole ship was excellent, especially the waiters who were very professional, but so serious. There was no friendly welcome or chat (apart from the bar staff in The Crows Nest), We felt that the advertising campaign of 'having a little fun' was not evident on the Arcadia, no-one appeared to be having much fun, there was also no 'wow' factor. In our (admittedly limited) experience of cruises there has always been surprises ie. speciality midnight buffets with ice or fruit carving, chef's parade accompanied by music and flaming baked alaskas etc. Nothing like this happened on this cruise - or if it did we missed it! However, we did have a lovely holiday, we appreciated the Captain's sense of humour in his daily bulletins and will probably have another cruising holiday - but possibly not with P&O. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
We joined the Arcadia at Southampton for our very first cruise. Embarkation was fairly swift, despite the long queues. Everyone was then directed to the Belvedere Restaurant for a buffet lunch, prior to the cabins being ready at 2pm. ... Read More
We joined the Arcadia at Southampton for our very first cruise. Embarkation was fairly swift, despite the long queues. Everyone was then directed to the Belvedere Restaurant for a buffet lunch, prior to the cabins being ready at 2pm. Plenty of time to explore Arcadia before we went to the cabin to unpack. The first night was a Black Tie evening and we eat in the Ocean Grill (Marco Pierre White) which was absolutely wonderful. The service was excellent despite one waiter saying it was an exceptionally busy evening doing almost 50% more covers than usual. The first night's entertainment was a Badness (Madness) tribute which although we weren't too keen on, others seemed to love. We had breakfast in the buffet Belvedere the next morning where there was a good choice of food, but we much preferred the service and quality of food in the Meredian Restaurant, where we had breakfast on the second morning. The day we arrived in Guernsey (St Peter Port) the weather was lovely and there was a tender to the Port. We managed to get on an early one and were in St Peter Port by 08:30 am. The tenders dock very centrally and right on the edge of town. We didn't book any excursions, but visited Candie Gardens first which were lovely and very tranquil. There was a lovely restaurant/cafe up some steps near the Town Church with lovely views over the bay. Following a walk around the town (very pretty), we visited Hauteville House - the home of Victor Hugo during his exile. We had booked in advance for our one hour tour. If you don't book ahead there's every chance you won't get onto a group of 10 for each tour. Afterwards we strolled around the shops before heading back to the tender. A bit of a queue so best not to cut things too fine. The second evening was casual and we had a drinks in the Crows Nest which we loved, followed by a superb meal in the East Restaurant. Highly recommend both the speciality restaurants! We didn't book until we were onboard, but I believe there is a definite financial advantage to pre-booking as the cover charge is cheaper. The evening went far too quickly and before we knew it it was time to pack, sleep, early breakfast and vacate our cabins. We've now booked a cruise on Oriana in November to Portugal and Spain! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
We did our first p&o cruise in July to the baltics, cruised lots of times and been to baltics before, had heard good and bad re arcadia but went with open mind. Embarkation was quick and efficient, but it was almost 3pm when we got ... Read More
We did our first p&o cruise in July to the baltics, cruised lots of times and been to baltics before, had heard good and bad re arcadia but went with open mind. Embarkation was quick and efficient, but it was almost 3pm when we got there having travelled by coach with intercruise. Cabin was ready. We had balcony cabin, it was clean and spacious, we had chosen cabin number so no surprises. Welcomed by cabin steward. He quickly brought extra hangers I asked for and ice every day as we requested. Nice touch was atlas and binoculars in cabin. Bed was very comfortable. The ship itself is well laid out and very clean with some very nice features. We were on freedom dining as we had requested and as we like to dine alone we asked for table for 2 each evening and got it, sometimes we had to wait a little and were given a pager. Which was good system.Food on the whole was good and waiters on whole good, apart from our first night which was poor we waited a very long time between courses and seemed to be in therefor an age. On the second night the waiter was fabulous very good and attentive to detail he was very pleasant and friendly. We only managed to get his table once more on the cruise which was a shame. As I say service was a little hit and miss, one day my husband had order fish, he was served his meal but there was no fish on it, this was after there being no cutlery on the table, and then not being served coffee. So we experience both sides. But on the whole happy with everything. Buffet restaurant is were we ate breakfast and a couple of lunches until we discovered the pool grill, this was excellent the chef in there was superb, he served up lovely meals with care and always a smile. Highly recommend and big thank you to him. We never used room service so can't comment. We didn't use speciality restaurants either. We were really looking forward to the entertainment on po but have to say we were disappointed. The guest artists were very good and we enjoyed, but headliners were underused and offered little in the shows all very samish. Our biggest surprise was the amount of quizzes that went on morning, noon afternoon, pre dinner after dinner, even the groups mentioned the amount of quizzes. We did like to listen to groups, especially inspiration. There was a Fab evening out on deck on 2nd August with perfect weather, best nights entertInment of cruise. On other ships we have been on there has always been live music on deck during day, especially on sailaways but not on this ship. The DJ was waste he used to out same tape on and disappear. The ports of call were all good, although we had done them before, we managed to see different things, we had never been to Skagen before, what a lovely place it was. We booked two trips in STP first was great well organised and fantastic guide. The second one was chaotic. Guides falling out with each other, little organisation, but made us smile as was so unprofessional. The captain was a lovely man, informative, friendly and interesting. We had absolutely beautiful weather the whole cruise and enjoyed having the balcony. Disembarkation was quick and efficient. Well done PO. The return coach journey was dreadful. Intercruise let us down, there had been extra van for the luggage going down so logic would dictate that one would be needed for return home but they didn't send one, we sat on coach from 8.45 till 9.45 felt sorry for driver as he could not get luggage in. He had been told to put on another coach and a van would meet up with him. We made a stop for lunch for 50 mins driver told us we would stop again until birch wood. Then he pulled in at keele he Apoligised and said he had been told he had to wait there for 20mins we were there nearly hour, we were due back at 4pm. Absolutely no chance we got of the coach a stop before our pick up stop as we had had enough by that time it was 5pm been on coach all day. I have written to coach company they haven't had decency to reply. We had a lovely holiday felt relaxed and refreshed until the journey home which was a pity. We would cruise with P&O again, oh and by the way, it certainly is not a care home. Mixed ages from 18 to 90. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
It had been a few years since we cruised with P&O (Aurora both times) and we took this cruise because it fitted with our holiday availability and we wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords. Fantastic weather great cruise but was let down by ... Read More
It had been a few years since we cruised with P&O (Aurora both times) and we took this cruise because it fitted with our holiday availability and we wanted to see the Norwegian Fjords. Fantastic weather great cruise but was let down by the ship. Despite the negatives I would take this cruise again because I enjoyed Norway although would not want to rush back to Bergen. MDR was chaos. Deck 2. Stay away from the rear of this dining room as one evening the ship seemed to be sailing at full speed and the noise and vibration was terrible. We were moved to Table 32 and found the pepper and some of the cutlery had vibrated to the floor. Cannot tell you how many times I asked the waiter for my water glass to be filled. Some Brits we spoke to told us the Freedom Dining was a shambles with long lines and wait times. We ate in the Ocean Grill and East on three nights and that was a much better experience. The cover charge is high at £20, should be £15 max. Some meals in the MDR were cool and most soups were so hot they would scald you. When we sailed on Aurora we always saw the Captain walking around the ship and often eating on deck at lunchtimes, on Arcadia the man was a ghost. Entertainment was typical and ok. I purchased a Costa Coffee Card for £21 and found that once I di the service was poor slow and the waiter hardly spoke and I am not sure if this was related to their targets etc ! Ships decoration, artwork looked cheap and nasty and in places it looks like wallpaper panels on walls. We took a Balcony guarantee and at first were allocated D4 which changed the day before the cruise to D10. This was very far forward and was noisy when docking. Cabin Steward did a great job, Ports we berthed were all great with the exception of Bergen which once you have visited and walked around the town can be forgotten. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
P&O cost cutting is becoming more and more evident. Our cruise to Iceland in perfect cruising weather and unbelievably calm seas barely averaged a speed of 12kts. We cruised all the way back at 11 kts until we slowed to 9 kts for a ... Read More
P&O cost cutting is becoming more and more evident. Our cruise to Iceland in perfect cruising weather and unbelievably calm seas barely averaged a speed of 12kts. We cruised all the way back at 11 kts until we slowed to 9 kts for a while. Eventually did 12.6 kts when in the channel but I didn't look after that. There were other cost cutting measures too, only one speaker who spoke every sea day ( 6 out of 11 ) on the same old subject - Concorde. Daytime entertainment boring, too many badly disguised sales pitches. On sea days when there is no prospect of warmth and sunshine P&O must simply do better and provide some variety. Evening entertainment varied from brilliant (comedian) to dire (pick your own) Headliners were a new troupe but did improve Neverther less a good way to see Iceland we enjoyed seeing it but won't be going back Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Arcadia world cruise 2014 Auckland to Southampton We returned to UK from a month touring in NZ by 51 days on Arcadia. This was our first time on P and O and we chose this cruise because of the port calls which seemed to us a wish list of ... Read More
Arcadia world cruise 2014 Auckland to Southampton We returned to UK from a month touring in NZ by 51 days on Arcadia. This was our first time on P and O and we chose this cruise because of the port calls which seemed to us a wish list of many places in the world we wanted to see and we were not disappointed. Sadly, the planned calls to Egypt could not take place because of the security situation; P and O substituted Sallalah in Muscat which was a waste of time as the majority of passengers did not get off the ship, and also Aqaba, which gave us an excursion to Petra and was the high point of the trip. We liked: our cabin (E deck next to midships gangway), the promenade deck, some of the lectures and entertainment, the art tutor, the Captain who is outstandingly good, reception staff, the port presentations, the excursions we took. The entertainments staff worked hard but there is a great reliance on quizzes. Headliners theatre company are very good, but on a long trip you eventually get repeats of the same show. The ship is modern and comfortable but not glitzy. Disembarkation was rapid and efficient. We disliked: the food, quality was very variable. In particular, preparation and cooking of vegetables and selection was poor (‘not peas again’). For vegetarians it was difficult. Meridian restaurant menus became somewhat predictable. Belvedere self service was often over busy and with bizarre choices, some days lots of curries, other days none at all, some days plenty of non meat choices, other days none at all. The beauty salon is over priced and not very good, I had a poor experience myself and heard many unhappy stories from other women passengers. We would have liked: better lecture choices, (there was rather a lot of history of the second world war), an experienced choir leader and I was surprised that the ship does not carry a chaplain. A lot of passengers seemed to be ill towards the end of the cruise. While P and O do have some hygiene procedures in place, they do not enforce rigorously, nor remind people as often as they need to. I think there is specific problem on a world cruise, where new groups of passengers, up to 600 at a time, are embarking for a particular sector, and bring with them a lovely selection of winter infections which they then fail to keep to themselves. Those of us who had been away from the UK since January did not stand a chance. Overall this was a successful cruise which met our expectations but we would probably not travel with P and O again, as we now know that we prefer smaller ships with fewer passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We joined Arcadia in Los Angeles, at the start of the second sector of her World Cruise, and disembarked 7½ weeks later in Dubai. It was our first time on this ship, and the longest cruise we have yet experienced. We found Arcadia to be ... Read More
We joined Arcadia in Los Angeles, at the start of the second sector of her World Cruise, and disembarked 7½ weeks later in Dubai. It was our first time on this ship, and the longest cruise we have yet experienced. We found Arcadia to be a very welcoming ship, and she very soon wrapped herself around us and became ‘home’. As with most cruises we have taken, we’ve come home with a bag full of impressions, some good, some not so good. Our comments here are intended to be positive and constructive, and we hope readers will take them this way too. Arcadia had just undergone a refit which seems to have worked well for the public areas, but not so well perhaps for the cabins, which have retained tired-looking bathrooms and limited storage space for such a long cruise. Our cabin was on C deck, overlooking the stern, and contrary to some passengers’ perception of these cabins we experienced very little engine noise, and a very sheltered balcony which we used a lot. Arcadia does however have a rather strange arrangement on the stern, with balconies on D deck being larger, but completely covered by the C deck one above (very little sun), and those on E deck being completely open to the sky and to those looking down on them from above (so very little privacy) Future cruisers beware! With the refit also came the introduction of ‘Freedom Dining’ on the upper level of the Meridian Restaurant, and the abandonment of ‘silver service’. Both changes worked well for us. Restaurant Manager Rajeev was adept at matching us to the size of table we wanted, and we rarely experienced queues. Until the very end of the cruise we also enjoyed meeting different folk each night (and at breakfast and lunch, since we took most meals here). The lack of ‘silver service’ actually meant that our food came quicker, on (very) hot plates, and looking as the chef intended. On the whole, the standard of food was very high, and we made only 3 visits to the two speciality restaurants, the main advantage being to escape the noise in the Meridian at its busiest times. Service in the Restaurants and throughout the ship was superb. Daytime activities could have proved problematic on such a long cruise. We enjoy dancing and in Jeffery Dobinson (ably assisted by Brenda Twigg) we found one of the best teachers we have ever had. He quite literally ‘made’ the cruise for us. The ‘downside’ was that his lessons had to be held in The Retreat, up on Deck 10, a room intended for Yoga and gentler fitness classes, NOT for ballroom dancing ( with its low ceiling and unsuitable floor). The ship added its own movements to the dancing, too! Other venues were also badly matched to the activities planned for them, and far too many events started at around 11am, making choices difficult. Painting classes were held in the Globe, a gloomy space with no natural light (but the obvious choice for dancing!), and quizzes in The Rising Sun, right next to the noisy Casino. Classical artists had to perform in the Crow’s Nest Bar, where new screens put in at the refit meant that they could be seen properly only by a select few sitting right in front of the piano. The acoustics there were poor, with low ceilings and thick carpets. On just three occasions they were moved to the Palladium, a much better space for them. We particularly enjoyed Allan Schiller, the pianist (by far and away the best of the performers) and the clarinet and piano duo of James and Maciej. Another example of mismatching was the siting of the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party in the Neptune Pool area. With the roof closed, this event was unbearably noisy, and the Captain’s speech could not be heard. Surely the Palladium Theatre would have been a better choice? We noticed that areas such as the Spinnaker and Intermezzo Bars were not used for events at all, because they remain ‘open plan’. Maybe that was why they didn’t seem popular as bars, either! Arcadia is fortunate in having a number of launderettes, but they are quite ridiculously inadequate for the 2000 or so passengers on a World Cruise of more than 90 days, there being only 4 machines available on each of decks C, D and E, and a further small launderette on Deck E which seemed to be kept a secret for those ‘in the know’. They were rumoured to be the source of all gossip, but you had to do all your gossiping standing up ----- no chairs!! As to trips ashore, we did not take many of the ship’s excursions, but those we did do were generally well-planned and enjoyable. We do wish, though, that the planners wouldn’t assume that we all need toilet stops and ‘shopping time’, which eat into time better spent at more interesting places. On the Mumbai tour, for example, we had 1¼ hours ‘shopping time’, but only 5 minutes at the ‘Gateway to India’! The Port Talks on board were excellent, and Sam was always ready to give her advice to independent travellers, too. On the ship itself, a guided ‘behind the scenes’ tour (culminating in a visit to the Bridge to meet the Captain) was advertised, but we were horrified to discover that a charge of £75 would be made for each person! Whatever happened to FREE visits to the Bridge, or indeed the tour of the Galley on ‘Chocoholics’ afternoons? Needless to say, we didn’t go. Evening entertainment was a bit ‘hit and miss’. The ship’s own Headliners were brilliant (particularly the ‘Killer Queen’ show), but we got far too many ‘crossover’ acts (two violinists, two pianists, even two sets of tenors!). The Palladium is a lovely, comfortable venue, but sight lines are obscured by pillars and high-back sofas, and it was often impossible to find a seat at the first show if you arrived after 8pm. We enjoyed the regular dances in The Globe, though after the first few weeks things did get a bit repetitive! Internet use on board most cruise ships continues to be fraught with difficulties, and the charges that P&O make for it are quite outrageous, given its slow speed. We had reason to query charges twice, because the connection had been lost, and we were clocking up the pounds and pence simply getting back on to email. I guess most of us are not interested in using the service every day, or even every week, but we do like to keep in touch with family and friends on a very long cruise like this one. Passengers could be seen scurrying ashore with laptops at every port of call, to the cruise terminals and beyond, just to get a connection at an acceptable price. We managed 2 dollars an hour in Singapore; on the ship, this would have added £30 to our bill! Free Internet use should be included in the cruise fare, and if this causes problems with bandwidth on board, passengers can be allotted specific times to access it. These few ‘moans’ apart, we had a fabulous cruise which was excellent value for money.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
We joined Arcadia in Los Angeles, at the start of the second sector of her World Cruise, and disembarked 7½ weeks later in Dubai. It was our first time on this ship, and the longest cruise we have yet experienced. We found Arcadia to be ... Read More
We joined Arcadia in Los Angeles, at the start of the second sector of her World Cruise, and disembarked 7½ weeks later in Dubai. It was our first time on this ship, and the longest cruise we have yet experienced. We found Arcadia to be a very welcoming ship, and she very soon wrapped herself around us and became ‘home’. As with most cruises we have taken, we’ve come home with a bag full of impressions, some good, some not so good. Our comments here are intended to be positive and constructive, and we hope readers will take them this way too. Arcadia had just undergone a refit which seems to have worked well for the public areas, but not so well perhaps for the cabins, which have retained tired-looking bathrooms and limited storage space for such a long cruise. Our cabin was on C deck, overlooking the stern, and contrary to some passengers’ perception of these cabins we experienced very little engine noise, and a very sheltered balcony which we used a lot. Arcadia does however have a rather strange arrangement on the stern, with balconies on D deck being larger, but completely covered by the C deck one above (very little sun), and those on E deck being completely open to the sky and to those looking down on them from above (so very little privacy) Future cruisers beware! With the refit also came the introduction of ‘Freedom Dining’ on the upper level of the Meridian Restaurant, and the abandonment of ‘silver service’. Both changes worked well for us. Restaurant Manager Rajeev was adept at matching us to the size of table we wanted, and we rarely experienced queues. Until the very end of the cruise we also enjoyed meeting different folk each night (and at breakfast and lunch, since we took most meals here). The lack of ‘silver service’ actually meant that our food came quicker, on (very) hot plates, and looking as the chef intended. On the whole, the standard of food was very high, and we made only 3 visits to the two speciality restaurants, the main advantage being to escape the noise in the Meridian at its busiest times. Service in the Restaurants and throughout the ship was superb. Daytime activities could have proved problematic on such a long cruise. We enjoy dancing and in Jeffery Dobinson (ably assisted by Brenda Twigg) we found one of the best teachers we have ever had. He quite literally ‘made’ the cruise for us. The ‘downside’ was that his lessons had to be held in The Retreat, up on Deck 10, a room intended for Yoga and gentler fitness classes, NOT for ballroom dancing ( with its low ceiling and unsuitable floor). The ship added its own movements to the dancing, too! Other venues were also badly matched to the activities planned for them, and far too many events started at around 11am, making choices difficult. Painting classes were held in the Globe, a gloomy space with no natural light (but the obvious choice for dancing!), and quizzes in The Rising Sun, right next to the noisy Casino. Classical artists had to perform in the Crow’s Nest Bar, where new screens put in at the refit meant that they could be seen properly only by a select few sitting right in front of the piano. The acoustics there were poor, with low ceilings and thick carpets. On just three occasions they were moved to the Palladium, a much better space for them. We particularly enjoyed Allan Schiller, the pianist (by far and away the best of the performers) and the clarinet and piano duo of James and Maciej. Another example of mismatching was the siting of the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party in the Neptune Pool area. With the roof closed, this event was unbearably noisy, and the Captain’s speech could not be heard. Surely the Palladium Theatre would have been a better choice? We noticed that areas such as the Spinnaker and Intermezzo Bars were not used for events at all, because they remain ‘open plan’. Maybe that was why they didn’t seem popular as bars, either! We did not take many of the ship’s excursions, but those we did do were generally well-planned and enjoyable. We do wish, though, that the planners wouldn’t assume that we all need toilet stops and ‘shopping time’, which eat into time better spent at more interesting places. On the Mumbai tour, for example, we had 1¼ hours ‘shopping time’, but only 5 minutes at the ‘Gateway to India’! The Port Talks on board were excellent, and Sam was always ready to give her advice to independent travellers, too. Evening entertainment was a bit ‘hit and miss’. The ship’s own Headliners were brilliant (particularly the ‘Killer Queen’ show), but we got far too many ‘crossover’ acts (two violinists, two pianists, even two sets of tenors!). The Palladium is a lovely, comfortable venue, but sight lines are obscured by pillars and high-back sofas, and it was often impossible to find a seat at the first show if you arrived after 8pm. We enjoyed the regular dances in The Globe, though after the first few weeks things did get a bit repetitive! Internet use on board most cruise ships continues to be fraught with difficulties, and the charges that P&O make for it are quite outrageous, given its slow speed. We had reason to query charges twice, because the connection had been lost, and we were clocking up the pounds and pence simply getting back on to email. I guess most of us are not interested in using the service every day, or even every week, but we do like to keep in touch with family and friends on a very long cruise like this one. Passengers could be seen scurrying ashore with laptops at every port of call, to the cruise terminals and beyond, just to get a connection at an acceptable price. We managed 2 dollars an hour in Singapore; on the ship, this would have added £30 to our bill! Free Internet use should be included in the cruise fare, and if this causes problems with bandwidth on board, passengers can be allotted specific times to access it. These few ‘moans’ apart, we had a fabulous cruise which was excellent value for money.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
We had never travelled with this line before but as this cruise from Sydney to Southampton through the Suez was on our bucket list, we packed our formal wear and headed off to Sydney to join our ship Arcadia. Embarkation We had an easy ... Read More
We had never travelled with this line before but as this cruise from Sydney to Southampton through the Suez was on our bucket list, we packed our formal wear and headed off to Sydney to join our ship Arcadia. Embarkation We had an easy boarding as we arrived mid afternoon and were on board and into our cabin C129 by 3pm. Our Cabin It was called a midships Deluxe Balcony with Bath/Shower and was clean, muted colours with good size balcony, a very comfortable bed, with a sofa and chair and desk with fridge. The bathroom was small but had a bath. We had plenty of hanging room but few drawers for storage and a safe, the tiniest one we have ever seen. Very narrow passage between bathroom and wardrobes made passing each other difficult if the doors were both open. Good wide screen TV on the wall but as we learnt the rotation of shows was abysmal and repetetive. Plenty of storage room for cases under the beds, poor lighting for reading in bed and for donning makeup at the desk, but better in the bathroom. We had problems with our shower, with no really hot water for the first few days, but this was resolved when we spoke to our cabin attendant. We also had problems with the aircon being too warm and this again was resolved by the ships engineers after reporting it. Our first cabin attendant was rude and unfriendly and only interested in tips (they were his first words to us, how to take the tips off and then just give it to him and when we said we wouldnt virtually ignored the rest of the cruise). However, he kept the cabin clean. Our new Cabin Attendant from Mumbai onwards was fantastic. The Ship Arcadia has a very different layout to other ships we have been on and so this made finding things a little difficult at first, but we found it very well set out with lots of lovely quiet places to sit and read, or chat especially when the weather was cooler. The only complaint was the pool decks that had limited shade and no sun beds in a shady spot for those who dont like being in the sun. Both pools were well used and the Solarium pool with the closing roof was lovely. Unfortunately, the area where pool lounges are on most ships, along the shady sides under cover are taken up on Arcadia with tables and chairs. However, as we are not sun bunnies we didnt find hard to endure as it was lovely to sit outside and eat breakfast and lunch. Sea Day Activities This is an area where this ship absolutely excels. We both thought the range and types of activites wonderfully varied and interesting. We could line, tap or ballroom dance our way across the world, play bingo, go to many varieties of quizzes, (music, geography, progressive, sport, Battle of the Sexes) table tennis, golf putting, tennis, deck quoits, interactive bowling, bridge classes and playing, whist, Spanish classes, knit and natter groups, art and craft lessons, ipad and digital camera classes, pilates, yoga, walk a mile, stretch classes, port talks, spa and fitness classes and talks,classical concerts, Arcadia vocalists and lots of music from various groups throughout the ship in the evening as well as Radio Arcadia run by DJ Martin, who ran music comps and played requests from late afternoon till late. Guest Speakers We had wonderful guest speakers on board. Terry Brown an ex-detective who gave some very interesting and entertaining talks on interviewing techniques, as a prelude for running a 3 say Murder Mystery where there were 12 suspects and the audience was divided into 20 or so groups as the detectives and they had to work out the who, how and whys. Dale Templar, from Human Planet, was a fabulous speaker giving insights into the filming and the photographers for this wonderful series, using film clips and amusing anecdotes. Tony Davies, a retired Squadron Leader in the RAF also provided some very interesting insights into the Vulcans and the Red Arrows acrobatic flying team. John Lyons, who played George from Taste of Frost, was a fantastic speaker giving 3 wonderful talks on his life and then about the series and the pranks that were played over the 17 years of the series with footage and out takes making it very funny. Nick Slope spoke of Ships and Captains, Bligh and Nelson, Nelsons women, then the Battles of the Somme, Jutland, and Gallipolli, all very interesting. Paul from the Amethyst duo also did some wonderful talks and guitar playing in his talks on the History of the Guitar. Entertainment Again, we thought this ship excelled in this area. We had a new Cruise Director, Dom Hones on board from Auckland, and everyone said how the ship had a different feel. We was a magnificent CD excuding energy and inspiring his wonderful Entertainment Team, all of whom were friendly, relaxed, chatty and personable and some of the best Entertainment crew we have ever had at sea. The Headliners theatre group, especially the dancers, were excellent and their Destination Dance and Killer Queen shows were magnificent. The Singers were great some nights and not so great others. But they energetically danced and sang their way through 12 productions as we saw about 3 shows a week, including Reel to Reel, Night of a Thousand Stars, and Another Show, Another Opening. Other night time entertainment included Matthew McGurk a wonderful magician, Brian Conley, a celebrity entertainer and comedian, who was very funny, David Kidd, a Tom Jones impersonator, Kenny Martyn, a multi intrumentalist, Zoe Tyler, a fabulous vocalist, Gareth Oliver, ventriloquist extraordinaire, Eliot Pace, a great pianist and singer, Tim O'Connor a celebrity comedian, Pam Ayers,and Marti Webb, a West End vocalist. The bands on board were mixed, and there was no music between 5.30 -6.30 for those of us on Freedom dining, only Radio Arcadia, so we tended to have a pre dinner drink in our rooms instead of visiting a bar!! Our favourite band was Inspiration, but the Sunshine Band we thought was boring. Amethyst Duo were good, but the piano playing by Clare Saunders was excruciating. The Passenger Talent and Crew Talent shows were also very good. Sailaway Parties and Deck Parties Having never experienced these before we didnt know what to expect. Well, we certainly never missed one after our first, as they were so much fun. We sang and danced and enjoyed a good variety of music led by Dom and his crew, and we experienced the GREAT BRITISH SAILAWAY only once, in Lisbon when the traditional English songs were on show. We just loved these and from Melbourne onwards these were the joyous farewells to some wonderful ports and set the scene for a happy and relaxed cruise. Restaurants Meridian- Freedom Dining. We had never done this before and really enjoyed the experience of meeting new people every night and being able to dine when we wanted. We would ask Rajeev for a 2/4/6 and he would seat us accordingly to what he had available. We only had to wait for 10 minutes one night to be seated at a table for 2, but we were more than happy with that. It seems the most popular times for eating were 6pm so if you avoided that time, you could easily get a good table. We found service was mostly excellent with some off nights, but that happens everywhere. Dinner menus were repeated but there was enough choice that you did not have to eat the same thing. Thought lack of ice cream other than at dinner poor and dessert choices bland. Breakfasts in Meridian were terriific, with the daily specials of Kedgeree on Wednesdays and Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon on Sundays very much looked forward to by us and many others. It was a nice change to have a quiet table for 2 at breakfast without any problems. Otherwise we had room service breakfasts, but these got very monotonous and we would resort to going up to the Belvedere Buffet restaurant and getting our choices and bringing them down to the cabin to eat. We did have breakfast in the Belvedere when we wanted hot breakfast and on port days and choices were good. We found the set up of the Belvedere compared to other buffets at sea rather old fashioned and slow. Their Indian and Thai buffets were excellent and well attended. Deck BBQ's and Pool Deck BBQ had a great choice of food and we enjoyed these very much. Ocean Grill, we enjoyed several times and apart from one long wait for starters one night, was always delicious, with a good choice of mains, starters and desserts (though the size of desserts made wastage a big problem) and service impeccable. East, the Asian fusion restaurant was our favourite and we also visited here several nights. Views over the sea were lovely, the food absolutely delicious and spicey if you wanted it, and the service very good. We noticed sometimes the sauces were overly salted and for our no added salt palates, very hard to like. We thought this was better priced as it was all inclusive for food, whereas, Ocean Grill charges for extras, ie for a prawn with your surf and turf 6 pound!! Shore Excursions We mainly arrange these ourselves, but as our ports in Egypt were cancelled and we had Salalah, Oman and Aqaba, Jordan added, we signed up for ships tours. These ports were excellent and we enjoyed both tours, especially the tour to Petra which included a fabulous lunch. The other port where we had a ships tour was Lisbon, where we opted for the tour to Obidos, which was a gem and we thought the prices were about what other cruise lines ask, so were happy with the pricing. In Malta, after the port talk, we went to the Excursions Desk to talk to Dan, who comes from Malta and he was able to set us up with a private driver and for 8 hours for 4 people at a very reasonable cost, and we had a fantastic day there, seeing many things lots of others couldnt using the Hop On Hop Off buses. The crossing of the Suez Canal was a real highlight for us and we had the experience of the Excursion Team leader pointing out things of interest along the way. This also happened in Lisbon as we sailed up the river. Oasis Spa Several offers were made during our voyage, some better than others, but a haircut was 20 pound plus tip and a session in the hydrotherapy pool and sauna was was 10 pounds per session, but a special of 150 pound for the whole cruise was offered at the beginning of each sector and lots of people used this offer. Other offers included Lime and Ginger body scrub 79 pd save 30 pd and 3 in one offers at varying prices. Dress Codes There are 3, formal, jacket required and casual. We had anticipated this and enjoyed dressing up but it began to pall by the end of 6 1/2 weeks. You were not allowed to wear shorts even into the buffet at night, with several men being informed it was not appropriate dress. Even in the bars, you could not enter unless you followed the dress code of the day. We could see that this is to maintain a standard of dress, but thought it was a bit over the top in the buffet. Overall Impressions We honestly loved this ship, from her Captain, Aseem Hashmi, with his informative and amusing midday talks and updates, to the wonderful crew who looked after us so well, the Entertainment team who made it such fun, the wonderful people who joined us on tours, for drinks, dinners and quizzes, and our wonderful ports of call, it was an amazing voyage, one we will never forget and one we will repeat in the future. Thank you Arcadia for making the whole experience so delightful.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We are quite experienced cruisers having travelled with Cunard, Celebrity, Thompson, Royal Caribbean and now P&O. This cruise was a big one for us being my retirement gift to may partner and I. It was planned in meticulous detail ... Read More
We are quite experienced cruisers having travelled with Cunard, Celebrity, Thompson, Royal Caribbean and now P&O. This cruise was a big one for us being my retirement gift to may partner and I. It was planned in meticulous detail booking extra leg room seats on flights, excursions booked on line and the cruises booked very early. The outward flights booked with P&O were taken on their regional flight offer with KLM. All seamed to go well flight to Amsterdam and on to Los Angeles. We arrived in LA but no sign of luggage. Eventually we were informed that it was ok as the cases had been left in Amsterdam to arrive next day. We sailed in the afternoon on day of arrival! After much remonstrating we left the terminal to be greeted by the wonderful P&O representative who seen us in distress insisted on KLM opening their office. The KLM official then gave us a claim form and agreed to liaise with P&O to have the cases sent on to Tahiti - ten days later! We eventually boarded Arcadia exhausted and very worried - no clothing, medication etc. The Arcadia Information Desk advised us to grab a Taxi into LA and purchase essentials. No taxis but we did get into LA, could not find a suitable shop and returned to Arcadia. We purchased essentials on board. Essential medication was prescribed at cost by the on board Dr. After very much discussion (they advised us at first to ring KLM ourselves the Information desk agreed to contact KLM to make the necessary arrangements to fly our cases to Tahiti. The ship was good, the Information team very supportive but we were left to our own devices. Frequent trips to the busy launderette etc. We managed the ten days on minimal wardrobe. Good side, Information Desk great, Entertainment Team fantastic, Food very good, room clean and well maintained, destinations fantastic - in particular Fiji!. Bad side TV programming very repetitive (seamed to be on some kind of loop), Entertainment guests ok although a very poor juggler on valentines nigh a very poor choice! Would I recommend P&O to others - not the best, P&O claim that they look after you but we had to sort out our own arrangements and were even turned away on "Formal Dinner" Tie but no jacket! Customer Services just responded with a lecture on their Terms and Conditions! KLM no response as yet. Arcadia is a good ship, most staff/officers welcoming and entertainment a bit hit and miss. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
Parking in Southampton..smooth and troublefree with ACP. Embarkation comfortable and quick. Dumped hand luggage in cabin early and joined bunfight in buffet. The cabin was comfortable even though showing signs of wear. Cabin staff were ... Read More
Parking in Southampton..smooth and troublefree with ACP. Embarkation comfortable and quick. Dumped hand luggage in cabin early and joined bunfight in buffet. The cabin was comfortable even though showing signs of wear. Cabin staff were fantastic. Bar staff friendly and efficient. Restaurant staff were mostly efficient and smiling. Buffet staff were also competent. My main problem lay with the variable and inconsistent quality of the cooking... more so in the restaurant than the buffet where perhaps one's expectations were lower. Having spent a lifetime working with food and drink , I was not expecting perfection, but what I found occasionally would not have been served up in the worst of greasy spoon cafes. The syndrome of "Lovely menu, pity about the cooking" was perfectly illustrated aboard Arcadia. The overcooked fish, lacklustre steaks and soggy vegetables were all to common in the restaurant. Even the speciality restaurants MPW's Ocean Grill and the Orchid, were more about dazzling us with presentation and intrusive service than the quality of cooking. We enjoyed leisurely breakfasts , relaxed lunches and unhurried dinners more in the Belvedere buffet than the Meridian restaurants as there were no pretensions to fine food,everything was edible, and we avoided the frenetic pace of the Meridian. Much of the port visiting experience ran like a well oiled machine, as one would expect; even though one felt that the time in port was curtailed by late arrivals or early departures. which rather detracts from the point of visiting these ports. Disembarkation was I hear somewhat chaotic for some. We just got off when we were ready ignoring P and O's insistence on passengers hanging around for hours in the forward theatre. Did we enjoy the cruise? Yes.! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
ARRIVAL - Hectic journey to the port with at least 3 ships departing today. Normally we drive down overnight but this time we made the mistake of thinking it would be quiet on a Sunday and spent quite some time in queues on the motorways. ... Read More
ARRIVAL - Hectic journey to the port with at least 3 ships departing today. Normally we drive down overnight but this time we made the mistake of thinking it would be quiet on a Sunday and spent quite some time in queues on the motorways. Never again! We paid £152 for 2 weeks car parking - may take the coach next time. No queue at check-in at midday and we were quickly on the Ship. CABIN We had 2 partially obstructed ocean view cabins which we booked 2 days before departure. E133 & E134. They had big windows although half is completely obstructed by a lifeboat. The other half has the crane part so you can see slightly above, below and to the side. The cabin next door has a very long balcony so if nobody was out we could see more of the ocean as we got their view also! It was worth the £50 extra from the inside cabin price but to be honest the lifeboat did annoy me after a day or two so you can imagine what it was like after 14 days! We were tendered at 2 ports and some of the lifeboats further down were used so if you were lucky enough to be in those cabins towards the front, you would have had a good view once they were removed. The cabin was as clean as could be considering how long since it was re-fitted. Arcadia is having a refit soon so let’s hope this includes the bathrooms. The bathmat was covered in mold so I didn’t use it. I'm sure if I had complained it would have been replaced. Cabin steward very efficient. TIPS Tips/gratuities were automatically added to the onboard account at £3.50 per person, per day. If you want to alter this amount up or down, or pay cash instead as you feel this is more personable, then you just need to fill out a form from reception and tick the appropriate box. CASINO The Casino was hidden away somewhere on deck 1 opposite The Rising Sun pub. Not much in here but at least it wasn’t full of smoke. INTERNET Internet packages were available. 100 minutes was £35 or 250 minutes £62.50. Pay as you go - 50p per minute. Wi-Fi throughout the ship and in cabins. After a few days they introduced smaller packages 15 minutes for £5.25 or 30 minutes for £7.50. Some places ashore offered Wi-Fi access. EXCURSIONS The excursion desk is by reception on Deck 1. They have all the port guides and leaflets showing what excursions are still available. The Blue Lagoon was fully booked by day 3 so book early if you want to do a Ship’s excursion. Worth noting that in Reykjavik (and some other places) they have a tourist information office right by the Ship and they book all the excursions and are cheaper and you can pay on credit card. FOOD & DRINK The Belvedere restaurant is self-service located on Lido Deck 9. The staff were far more efficient at removing plates than or last cruise. They were not very chatty but friendly enough. The main dining room was the Meridien restaurant on decks 2&3. Worth noting the tables are not as crammed in together as on Royal Caribbean. Free orange, apple and pineapple juice in the morning until 12.00. Water is available throughout the day although it doesn’t have a pleasant taste. They sell their own P&O mineral water which you can order via the cabin steward. We got 6 x 1.5ltr bottles for £9.50. This is also not a great taste but better than the free water. We didn’t see any Evian water packages. Room service is available all day. Certain items did have a small charge. The beef or ham baguettes were free, tasted excellent and came with proper crisps! Evenings in the Belvedere are themed. E.g. Best of British, Bistro, Asian Fusion, Carver, Indian. There is enough choice so that even if you don’t like a particular theme too much, you could find something you did like if you prefer not to eat in the main dining room. I would also have liked to see a little more fruit (and no I am not a health freak). Some grapes would have been nice. Instead I found 2 mixed in with other fruit I don’t like at the desert counter. Bananas were too ripe from the start of the cruise although they were nice with custard! Neptune Grill –this is a little gem of a place that not that many people found although it did get busier as the cruise went on. It is a little food area just on the other side of the Belvedere restaurant towards midship, deck 9. Open 11-6.30 daily. Fish and chips, Cajun chicken burger, bacon and egg rolls, jacket potatoes, hot dogs, McCain chips, apple pie and a few others treats. You must try the cinnamon ring donut - delicious! Food here was quickly prepared by a nice female chef who got to know what we liked without asking. It was fresh and cooked to order within minutes. Sandwiches are made to order 11-30-2.30pm with a self-service small salad bar. The menu changed after 5 days and now had BBQ chicken burgers, Jacket Potatoes with beef curry, Bolognese sauce, chocolate brownies, and a few other nice treats. ENTERTAINMENT The Headliners shows were OK. I felt the 60/70’s was average but I have to say the Killer Queen show the same cast did was excellent. LIBRARY The library had daily UK news print out which was a nice handy quick guide for keeping up to date. There are lots of games hidden away up the corner and in the cupboard. Also saw a giant puzzle being pieced together in one corner. SHOPS & DUTY FREE Shops - mediocre to say the least. Toiletries are available for anything you forgot although expensive. Duty free allowances were 200 cigarettes or 250g tobacco and 1 litre of spirits per person and a few other rules. Day 1 At Sea. Got well acquainted with the fog horn as bleak outside! Dublin Bay -Tendered about a mile offshore so the transfers took a good 20 minutes on the lifeboat once we set off. Once you added the loading and unloading it was nearer 45 minutes. Even the crew commented it seemed quite a long way out than normal. If booked on a Ship's shore excursion than you get priority off. However, if not, you have to get a tender 'raffle' ticket and wait to be called to a lifeboat. Suggest you collect a tender ticket early as we decided to do this at 10.30am and unfortunately waited until 12pm before we were called. People were getting very annoyed as even when called to the tender station on deck 2, we were just kept waiting. The weather was unusually warm here which made the tender pleasant. Leaflets were handed out on shore which included a map and discount vouchers. If you head left you come across the Dart train station and a museum. There were free shuttle buses into town from the drop off point and it was about half hour to Dublin itself. REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Clocks went back 1 hour overnight at 2am. Temperature 8- 12c, mixture of sun, dark clouds, wind and rain so take a warm winter coat, hat, scarves and gloves! My tip for onboard is to have breakfast delivered to your room as it was packed at 7.30am in the Belvedere. Free shuttle buses operate to the town – approximately 15 minute ride. The Tourist Information office is just off the Ship. They are extremely helpful and offer many excursions which are at a lower price than the Ship. However, worth remembering that if on a Ship’s excursion is late back, it won’t sail without you. We walked into the Tourist Information office at 9.20am and booked the bus to the blue lagoon - paid on our UK credit card. This leaves every hour but does go via the bus depot where you change to a coach. 3600 ISK for the bus ride and 1000 ISK or 10 euros (yes you can pay in Euros) to get into the Blue Lagoon observation areas. Around 40 Euros to swim - or you can book the combined bus and swim in the lagoon which is around 8000 ISK. There was quite a long queue to get into the Blue Lagoon but this was by far a lot longer at lunchtime so if going independently I would suggest getting there no later than the 10am bus. ISAFJORDUR, Iceland - Arrived 8am. Tendered port again which was a shame – approximately 12 minutes to shore. If you walk straight up from the harbour, for approximately 5 minutes and then turn right for another few minutes you come across the tourist information office. Clean toilets in here and very helpful staff. Just outside was a shuttle bus that was doing a 2.5 hour tour around the island. £35, 20 Euros or $55 (or a mixture) No credit card accepted for this trip but the driver will take you back via the town and an ATM is you need cash. We were going to wander around on our own here but decided we would see far more on this little tour. Glad we did as it was truly excellent and we wouldn’t have seen even a 10th of what we did. We drove through the main tunnel which oddly narrows from 2-way traffic to 1-way traffic where they have to give way to traffic coming in - scary! We stopped at various vantage points and the scenery and quiet was amazing. We went on to a flower garden with a whale bone exit which was very pretty and then on to a little tourist shop where tea and coffee were provide free. Nice clean toilets. No pushy sales people, just nice friendly people. We turned back down the mountain towards the village and there was a lovely view of the harbour. The guide said you can usually see the cruise Ship from here but it was tendered rather a long way out (as it was in Dublin Bay). We went on to another stop at the main waterfall before being taken into the town where some people got off the bus here and then just round another corner back to the tourist office. Super day out. There were a few other things to see in this town. If we had walked up and turned left instead of right from the harbour, we would have come across the Heritage Museum. AKUREYRI - arrived at 8.30am. There is a tourist information office right on the dock. We booked a two and a half hour tour to Godafoss Waterfall from here for £50 or 9900 ISK. Euros and credit card are also accepted. Although it was roughly the same price as the Ship’s excursion it was a much smaller group – 16 seater minibus. You could do with some decent footwear as some of it was bumpy ground. Nice close-up views of the waterfalls and a tourist shop/cafe and free toilets here. The tour left the dock at 11am so we walked a short distance up the harbour and took some pictures. If you are on foot, there is a large map on a board just outside the dock gate. You just head on the footpath past the harbour, and into the town. The Botanical gardens is up the hill. The driver of our tour drove us around the town and stopped here for those who wanted to look around and walk back to the Ship. It was probably about a mile or so. It is worth noting that people were selling the trip to the Waterfall for just £35 outside of the TI office. Unfortunately we had booked by then. At Sea day. Clocks went forward 1 hour at 2am overnight last night. The sea was slightly choppy overnight and it sounded like fireworks out my window. I am assuming this is something on the lifeboat crane creaking and groaning. In fact looking at the crane, and thinking what it must look like in a storm blowing towards the window, I don’t think I would go for an obstructed view again! At Sea again the next day. Clocks went forward 1 hour again overnight. Weather was wet and foggy all day today. We went along to the Palladium theatre before lunch where the cruise director was talking to the singers and dancers and people were able to ask questions. The shops had the usual ‘sale’. Cigarettes and tobacco were 15% off again. Didn’t see much alcohol, I think this must have been stripped bare after the 1st night when on sale! I did buy a Sekonda watch. The watch specialist man is very helpful on this Ship without being pushy at all, so worth asking him for advice. ALESUND, Norway– The Queen Mary 2 was also in port today. Weather was wet to start with, then drier but turned drizzly and windy. The captain (our first cruise with a female captain which was a nice change) decided to announce at 7.20am that we were in port and could go ashore! Judging by how many people were in the Belvedere at 9am for breakfast, not many had left the Ship at that ridiculous time - it was also only 8C and raining at the time! Initially there didn’t look much to do here but I was pleasantly surprised. As you leave the Ship there are plenty of excursions to book. The Hop on Hop off Bus – 200 NOK/28 EUR/37 USD/23 GBP. This goes to the Sunnmore Museum, Aksla View Point, TI office, City Centre, Art Nouveau Centre, Alesund Fisheries Museum, Alesund Church and Alesund Aquarium. There are coaches leaving from the port going direct to the aquarium which is 200 NOK and includes the entrance fee. There is also a little City train that leaves from the port and takes you to the View Point and around the City Centre. This is a 1 hour 10 tour for 150 NOK. It is very small so you have to book at the kiosk and get a time for it. Worth getting off the Ship early, even if you just buy a ticket for later. Also if there are other cruise Ships in port, this gets very busy and there was a queue for tickets. It is possible if you are very fit to walk to the View Point. The map which you can pick up at the port says it is 418 steps to the top. Alesund Museum is also quite close to the Ship. OLDEN, Norway - this port replaced Flam. Arrived at 8am. Luckily we have been to Flam before but I have to say that I was looking forward to it again. We have only been on 3 P&O cruises before and they have changed the itinerary in Norway previously so it sounds like a regular occurrence. One bonus of booking 2 days before departure is that you are informed of any port changes. I received at least 4 emails the afternoon that I booked notifying me of different changes. Beautiful scenery and houses on the mountains. The lake was very calm. There is a tourist information office just as you exit the Ship. They do excursions to the Briksdal Glacier for 350 NOK. You can pay on credit card in here. This is a 3 hour round trip. Approximately 30 minutes each way and 2 hours up the Glacier. Note, there is quite a lot of walking to the Glacier. The little trains that run along the coastal roads and into the ‘town’ was 150NOK or 20 Euros – 1 hour 10 minute round trip. You pay for this by the trains, not in the TI office. There is also a sightseeing red glacier bus. We were going to do the Glacier as we didn’t do it last year but it was so wet and foggy that it will have to be 3rd time lucky! Instead we walked along the footpath and admired the views. We headed back when it started to rain again. It brightened up quite a bit after 12pm although the fog came down heavy again by 2pm and all through the night. I think next time we will probably book the afternoon P&O excursion by troll car. This saves a lot of the walking and the weather was a lot better by lunch! I will check the weather and book the cruise last minute! STAVANGER, Norway – Sun and cloud, 16C. Best day weather-wise. 1 other cruise ship was also docked in Stavanger. Last year and it was raining so we walked to the Oil Museum which is actually very interesting and worth a visit if wet although not cheap to get in. This was about a 15 minute walk. Ask in the TI office for a map and it’s easy to find. If you walk from the P&O berth (which is on the right hand side facing the city) straight up and slightly to the left, you come to the market square and the TI office after a few minutes. If you turn to the right instead, it takes you around the harbour and the concert hall. This is also where the local sightseeing hop on bus goes from. 150NOK. What annoyed me was that the exit off the ship was right at the back and we were given the run around just trying to find the way off! We then had to walk the length of the ship to find the exit, another to get to the end of the pier and the same again to walk around it to the sightseeing bus or the concert hall. Not very organised! The crew did a practice emergency drill on board this morning and also took all the lifeboats off my side, around 10.30am. I had a lovely view over the harbour area until they reeled them back in just before 2pm. Last Day was At Sea - We were and got some washing done at the launderette. These are free but remember to bring your washing powder. For some reason they decided the Neptune pool had to be drained last night for maintenance today. Why couldn’t this have been done during a port day? Instead they chose a busy day with everyone on board on what was one of the warmest days of the cruise! What also annoyed me throughout the cruise and the last day was the constant clinking of the maintenance men removing rust from the promenade deck all day. We paid to enjoy the facilities on board aswell as to visit the places we went to and I believe this sort of activity should be restricted to in port days. Arrival back in Southampton. We were asked to vacate the cabin by 8am and wait in a specific area to be called off the Ship. This was packed and we had to stand. Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long. It was a nice cruise but no concessions for single travelers so I can’t say it was particularly good value for money. Having booked the Friday before the cruise left on Sunday, I got a lot better price. It was a little short notice for organising things but it was so much cheaper than booking under the Vantage fare. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Embarkation and disembarkation process were easy and stress free apart from one luggage piece missing until dinner time. We had a suite on B deck which cost over double the price of a balcony stateroom and was not at all worth the ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation process were easy and stress free apart from one luggage piece missing until dinner time. We had a suite on B deck which cost over double the price of a balcony stateroom and was not at all worth the difference. First 3 days were all at sea and the weather was dull and raining. Can't think why we couldn't have called somewhere en route to Stockholm on outward journey. St Petersburg exceeded expectations. We spent 2 long days with local guide from Alla tours. They were excellent and much better value than P and O. Departure was delayed by a couple of hours in Russia and were told by Capt. Hurley that this was because a fellow passenger had died and arrangements had to be made to put the body ashore and make arrangements to assist his partner. There was no further mention made and life onboard continued just as scheduled. Don't know if this is normal procedure when a passenger dies but I thought that a minutes silence or similar mark of respect might have been observed. Our one stop in Germany was at Travemunde with tours to Lubeck and Hamburg promoted by P & O . We choose to take the courtesy bus to this local resort town on a lovely sunny day and it was a great decision. Ate on the beach and shopped in quaint and interesting locally owned outlets. We got a great surprise at sail away when locals gathered on the quayside and a German Choir sang would you believe - God save the Queen in German. Truly the war is really over ! Entertainers Tom O Connor and Robert Meadmore were excellent but the Headliners troupe seemed to be on almost every other night. They really worked hard but lacked the wow factor for us.. This was our third cruise with P & O but unlike the Ventura and Oriana the age profile was significantly higher than we had expected and everything seemed to move at a much slower pace. All in all the cruise met our expectations and we enjoyed our 14 days. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Our group consists of 3 couples who regularly holiday together. This trip was a celebration for my sister in law who was 60 this year and had always wanted a cruise holiday. Her choice was the Norwegian Fjords. We travelled to Southampton ... Read More
Our group consists of 3 couples who regularly holiday together. This trip was a celebration for my sister in law who was 60 this year and had always wanted a cruise holiday. Her choice was the Norwegian Fjords. We travelled to Southampton on an Eavesway Coach; one of the best coach trips I have ever taken. The coach was so roomy and the seats very comfortable. Embarkation:- As usual this was completed with the minimum of fuss and we were on board within 30 minutes of leaving the coach. Luggage was at our cabin and our steward was available to introduce himself and make us feel at home. Stateroom:- Our cabins were roomy with a lovely balcony. There was plenty of storage space although we may have struggled if travelling for more than seven nights. The bathroom was spacious with a short bath and shower over. All in all a good start to the holiday. Ship Info.:- although having undergone a refit in 2005 this ship is still tired. There are some nice touches with coloured glass and lights in the entertainment areas but overall the feel was of a comfortable country hotel not a luxury cruise ship. Dining:- We dined in the Meridian dining room on the lower floor and were pleased with the location of our table. The staff were helpful but we often felt rushed so that second sitting set up could be completed. The food was varied with adequate servings. Vegetables were often wet and meals would have benefited from being hotter on occasion. Despite reading,on Cruise Critic, that a dress code was suggested but not enforced we found this not to be so. The men is our party dressed for the formal nights and there was no problem. This occurred on the evenings when smart attire was required. P+O appear to equate a jacket with sophistication. The smart shirt and tie ensemble was not deemed appropriate and staff were on hand to single out guests and remind them of this. However we noted T-shirted gents with a jacket enter dining and bar areas without challenge. Also seen was a gent with bottle of wine in his jacket pocket again unchallenged. When we queried this odd imposition we were told by staff that passengers preferred the sophistication of dining with a jacket - preposterous!! Activities:- There was plenty to do with outside deck games,lectures,swimming, golf and tennis for the energetic. Entertainment- this was not spectacular, the usual song and dance. The comedian was poor. We enjoyed evenings in the piano bar and the Crows Nest so did not miss going to the theatre.Time Ashore:- We visited Stavanger which was beautiful with the Cathedral worth a visit;worth it at 4 NK for entrance. Olden;- We took the excursion to the Briksdal glacier when in Olden, this was a brilliant experience with beautiful scenery and the weather was wonderful. Without an excursion Olden is very pretty but can be visited in a couple of hours. Andalsnes was a very small port with not much in the way of anything if not on an excursion. Bergen is beautiful, having been in March when the sun shone it was disappointing to be greeted by the first rain of our week. One can't control the weather. Disembarkation:- this was effortless and we were back aboard our coach by 9.30 am and on our way home Overall we had an enjoyable cruise, marred by the 'sophisticated jacket saga'. In all ways this cruise and ship is comfortable not classy and should perhaps try to cater as such. Remember Jacket required!!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
P&O Arcadia Baltic Cruise -- 8th -- 22nd May 2013 ABOUT US - we are a retired couple with 2 grown up sons, who've flown the nest. We are both 57 years young. We are only occasional cruisers (5 cruises with 5 different companies), ... Read More
P&O Arcadia Baltic Cruise -- 8th -- 22nd May 2013 ABOUT US - we are a retired couple with 2 grown up sons, who've flown the nest. We are both 57 years young. We are only occasional cruisers (5 cruises with 5 different companies), but regular travellers and we try to go somewhere overseas approx every 6 weeks and we are in Trip Advisor's top 1% of reviewers. We travelled with 2 friends, who we've been away with before and are great company. We prefer to do things ourselves, rather than take excursions, so I've outlined what we did at each port. I hope you'll find the information helpful. PRICE - we paid £1,850 each for a balcony (booked August 2012), but we could have got the same level of room in a last minute sale for £799, that's over £1,000 less each. The "Vantage Fare Price Promise" is worthless. It was the first time we've booked a cruise in advance -- well we won't make that mistake again!!!!! EMBARCATION - we drove down from the Wirral (a 4 hour drive) and arrived at Southampton approx 13.00. Our satnav found Ocean Village perfectly. Go through Gate 4 at the docks and they direct you to the correct shi). We used post code SO14 3QN. Plenty of drop off space at the terminal. Busy, but well organized and not too congested. The porters took our bags straight away (no charge) -- all very helpful and efficient. I dropped our car off with the "Parking4Cruising" team in the Short Stay car park opposite. Again very slick - £97 for 14 nights parking (£150 with P&O). As you enter the Terminal, P&O gave us a letter card (it was W for us) and we took a seat for approx 15 minutes before being called to check in. The terminal is quite modern and very spacious. There is a small snack bar and plenty of seating. CABIN - we went directly to our cabin from check in. Cabin B154 - ~Deck 7 Bermuda. A deluxe balcony stateroom overlooking the central stern of the ship. High enough to avoid the white noise of the propellers and wake water, but with a lovely relaxing wake view, particularly at sunset. The first time we've had a cabin in this position and we really liked it. Our bags were outside our cabin after we had eaten lunch. Our cabin Simon introduced himself to us. He was a very pleasant and courteous man. He kept our room immaculate throughout our trip. A good size for a balcony stateroom, with plenty of floor space. A very comfy king size bed, with nice quality linen and pillows. A compact seating area with a 2 seater sofa and a small table. 2 good size bedside cabinets with 2 drawers each. A small desk and chair and a small flat TV with BBC World, Sky News, 3 x film channels, bridge camera view, excursion channels etc - lots of choice. Tea/coffee facilities. A large size fridge with ice bucket. 3 wardrobes, one for full length dresses. A small safe with keypad. A 240v hairdryer. Plenty of lights and good aircon. 1 x UK 240 socket, which was too close to the desk and did not allow all plugs to fit, if they had a thick cable. There were also 2 x 110v US sockets and a 220v European socket. We used a European adaptor upside down for those difficult UK plug leads. All types of adapters are on sale in the ship's shop. No robes or slippers, but perhaps you can get them if you ask your steward. BATHROOM - reasonably sized with a 3/4 size bath and shower above. Lovely quality White Company toiletries. Lots of storage. Nice towels. Good extraction. FOOD - times below can vary daily. Meridian Main Dining Room (MDR) - decks 2 & 3 aft 08.00 - 09.30 sit down breakfast 12.00 - 13.30 sit down lunch 15.00 16.00 sit down afternoon tea 18.30 Dinner 1st sitting 20.30 Dinner 2nd sitting Belvedere buffet restaurant deck 9 aft 06.30 - 07.00 continental 07.00 - 10.30 breakfast 10.30 - 11.45 brunch 12.00 - 15.00 lunch 15.00 - 17.00 afternoon snacks 18.30 - 21.30 themed dinner 20.00 - 02.00 late snacks Neptune Bar deck 9 aft All day snacks - 11.00 - 06.30 Ocean Grill 18.00 - 21.30. Marco Pierre White restaurant. £12.95 pp extra. Orchid restaurant 18.30 - 21.30. Asian fusion food. £10.00 pp extra. Room Service -- we had breakfast in our room on a few occasions. Numerous bars everywhere, with waiter service on deck and in the theatre. Food generally good. Due to the recession, some cutbacks are inevitable and it showed at times, but you won't go hungry. RECEPTION Open 24 hours. Very efficient and helpful. Also can be contacted by phone. SHOWS -- all pleasantly entertaining, but too much singing most nights for my taste. Could have done with a comedian to lighten things up a bit. OTHER We took a bottle of gin each in our main luggage, plus a few bottles of tonic and some limes. We like a GnT in our cabin before dinner. P&O seem quite relaxed about you bringing limited alcohol on board. You can also buy bottles of spirits for consumption in your cabin via room service. I think it was £30 per litre bottle of gin, which includes some mixers too - quite good value. As usual, spirits bought in the Duty Free shop can be picked up at the end of the cruise. High prices for wifi - £35 for 100 minutes, £62.50 for 250, but to be fair it is using a satellite. You can also do "pay as you go" wifi - £2.50 connection fee and then £0.50 per minute, which was fast and easy to use. The daily information sheet "Horizon" gives you the entire next days goings on and any other relevant info. There is an information pack in your cabin, which includes detailed information and city maps for each port, so there is no need to take any city guidebooks. There is also a daily news summary sheet onboard called Britain Today. Because you are sailing east on the way out, you have to move the clocks foreword one hour on three occasions. This can make things a bit tiring, but you do gain the time back on the way home. DAILY DIARY Day 1 -- Departed at 17.00 - a wet and dull sail away. Casual attire in the MDR. The show was the ship's resident singers and dancers - "Headliners". Day 2 - at sea. A beautiful sunny day. Plenty to do. We walked 4 miles (12 laps) of the Promenade Deck in the morning. After lunch went to see the live Marco Pierre White interview in the packed main theatre and afterwards we went to his book signing. He was on board for 3 nights and was a gentle and modest man. We bought a couple of his books and had our photo taken with him. 1st Black tie night. Free drinks in the Neptune Bar for the Captain's party, with a brief speech by him. Virtually 100% of men were in black tie. We ate in the MDR. The show was "Elite", a female singing trio from London's West End. Day 3 -- Kristiansand, Norway. Docked at 09.30 directly in the town. Only a 2 minute walk along the quay to the town. It was raining hard unfortunately, but being tough Brits, we soldiered on and walked around the town and got soaking wet. It's quite a pretty town, with lots of quaint wooden houses. We visited the cathedral and the small fish market. We had planned to walk to a number of the parks, but after an hour or two of rain, we succumbed to the warmth and dry sanctuary of the ship. It rained most of the day. All on board 17.00. Departed 17.15. Quite choppy conditions. We walked 9 laps of the Promenade Deck until they closed it due to bad weather. Smart attire tonight (jacket required) in the MDR. Too tired for the show, so straight to bed. Day 4 - Copenhagen, Denmark. Docked at 09.10. It was only a few minutes walk along the quay into town. The Little Mermaid was a few hundred meters from the ship. The city is very walkable from the ship. Lots of churches and fine buildings to see. Plenty of open squares to relax and have a beer. The currency is the Danish Kroner, but bars were happy to take credit cards. The sun shone most of the day and we walked nearly 8 miles exploring the city (so my satnav watch told me). We departed at 17.20. Casual attire in the MDR. The show was a Vaudeville entertainer - comedy, juggling, escapology etc. Day 5 - Warnemund, Germany. We docked at 09.30 directly in town. Simply walk through the station underpass and you are in the town. We walked to the lovely harbour area and then to the lighthouse. Then along the nice beach and the long promenade and back to the harbour via the town. All easily do-able in a couple hours. The boat docks right opposite the train station. We took the train to Rostock - 1.80 euros each way. Trains leave every 15 minutes. The journey takes about 20 minutes. Then a short tram ride from Rostock main station (Hopmanhof) to Rostock centre. The 1.80 euro includes the return tram fare. Plenty to see in Rostock. I thought the highlight was St Marion's Church (1.50 euro entrance). It has a huge 5,700 pipe organ and a massive astronomical clock from 1472. Both are superb and well worth the entrance fee. We walked Warnemund in the morning and visited Rostock in the afternoon. Plenty of time for both. All on board 16.30. Departed 16.50. A bit of a crisis before dinner - our toilet overflowed onto the floor. Nothing "solid" fortunately, just water. Simon the steward called the plumber, who fixed it - a blocked pipe Casual attire tonight. After 4 nights in the MDR we fancied a change and tried the themed "Indian night" in the Belvedere buffet. It was really good to have some spicy food. We did not go to see the show, but enjoyed a bottle of wine in the Piano Bar listening to some light live jazz on piano and sax. Day 6 - at sea. A sunny day with clear skies. Walked 12 laps of the deck, then chilled out in the sun on the balcony much of the day. Later I ran 24 laps (8 miles) of the deck. 2nd black tie dinner in the MDR. The show was "Elite", a trio singing songs from various stage shows. On the way back to our cabin, we called to watch the Karaoke in the Rising Sun bar. The place was packed!! There's something about a tuxedo that makes men want to sing (or is it the drink!!) Day 7 - Tallinn, Estonia. Docked at 08.15. A free shuttle bus was provided, but the old town is only a 5 minute walk away. We took the shuttle into town, but walked back. Tallinn Old Town has lower and upper parts, the latter is on a hill. Plenty of sights to visit in this very compact city. All on board 16.00. Departed approx 17.00. Smart attire in the MDR. The show was the resident "Headliners". Day 8 - St Petersburg, Russia. Docked at 07.15. The city looked quite grim from the ship, with lots of grey Soviet style apartment blocks. Virtually everyone goes on organized tours, due to the very strict visa restrictions for independent travel. We did the "Grand St Petersburg & The Hermitage" tour. It took in the major city centre sites in the morning. Then lunch, which included a Russian folk group. Then a few hours tour of the fabulous Hermitage and an excellent choral recital to finish off a long day. As we had an early start for the next days tour (meet at 06.45), we ate at the early sitting in the MDR and saw the early show - "Donovan & Rebecca", an acrobat act. Casual evening. Overnight in St Petersburg. Day 9 - St Petersburg, Russia. Up at 05.30 and breakfast in our room at 06.00 for a 06.45 tour start. We did the "Palaces of Catherine and Peterhof" tour. Catherine palace and gardens in the morning. Then a nice lunch in an ornate palace. Then Peterhof Palace and gardens with fountains in the afternoon. Both palaces were wonderful and not to be missed. A very long day, but well worth it. All on board by 18.00. Departed 18.30. A bit of a squeeze for Arcadia edging out between 2 other ships in the harbour. A lovely sunny evening for the sail away past the Russian Baltic fleet. Casual attire in the MDR. A really active Queen tribute show by "Headliners". Day 10 - Helsinki, Finland. Docked at 08.30. A free shuttle bus was provided into the city. You do need to take it, as it's too far to walk. I've been here on business before & it's an unremarkable place, but worth a walk around. All the main sites are easily walkable from the shuttle bus stop. All on board 16.30. Depart 17.00. A lovely sunny sail away party and great views of the many small islands dotting the coastline. The seas were a bit a bit choppy due to the wind. Black and white night - 3rd black tie night in the MDR. The show was top London performer Robert Meadmore doing songs from famous musicals. Day 11 -- Stockholm, Sweden. We arrived in thick fog, so the sail in was uneventful. We docked at 09.30 near the city centre. A free shuttle bus to the city centre. Lots to see hear - especially the changing of the guard at the palace at noon. We had a passport inspection on board ship in the afternoon by Swedish Customs Officers before we departed. All on board 16.30. Departed 17.10. A very nice sunny sail away out of the port and through numerous islands. The pilots certainly earn their wages here, as the channels between some islands are very narrow in places. Casual attire tonight, but we decided to wear a jacket, as we were dining in Marco Pierre White's "Ocean Grill". There is a small extra charge of £12.95 per person, but it's well worth it for the superior quality food. It's more like fine dining than the MDR and it makes a change. The show was Headliners doing "swing" music. Day 12 - at sea. A foggy day. After breakfast, we did 12 laps of the deck. After lunch, Barb did a tap dance class and then went to a talk on acupuncture - I read and snoozed (much more constructive) and then watched the Newcastle v Arsenal Match in the Rising Sun bar. It stayed foggy all day. We ate early in the buffet (Tandoori Night) and went to the early show - Headliners doing songs from UK films. Then we had a drink in the piano bar. Day 13 - at sea. Another very foggy start. In the morning we went to a lecture by Diane Simpson on Serial Killers, then to a question and answer session with ships Captain Ian Hutley. After lunch, we sat in the sun for an hour and then walked 15 laps of the deck. 4th Black Tie night. We had dinner in the MDR with the "Parade of Chefs", then watched the Robert Meadmore show. Day 14 - at sea. Our final day of the cruise and another foggy day. 12 laps of the deck and packing our bags for home. Casual attire. Champagne and canapes in the piano bar before dinner in the MDR. The final show by Headliners -- "Sunday Night at the London Palladium". Day 15 - Southampton. Docked at 07.30. We decided to disembark early, so carried our own bags off at 08.00. We picked up our car at Ocean Terminal from the Parking4Cruising man and our cruise was over. Home safely by 12.30. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and ... Read More
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and tatties, beef hotpots and the like, although the food on board was excellent too - despite the hi-falutin' names given to some of the courses. (Our previous (and first) cruise on Arcadia (J202) in April/May 2012 was not a particularly pleasurable experience for us. However, we are very pleased to report that our initial misgivings of a repeat cruise aboard Arcadia were largely dispelled.) We're both getting on in years. My wife is disabled and 95% confined to a wheelchair so it is always a welcome break for me not to have to shop, cook and look after the household maintenance and fiscal admin and, instead, getting some sea air, visual stimulation and gastronomic pampering a la P&O style. Arcadia was completely free of noro-virus on boarding. It remained so for the whole of the 18-night cruise thanks to the particularly strict hygiene protocols imposed by P&O for the first two days of the cruise and, of course, the compliance of all the passengers and crew. (I 'elbowed' my choice of deck in the lifts etc.) The weather was a good deal better than we expected for December and January even for the Med. We were on the starboard side (that's the right hand side looking towards the sharp-end for you landlubbers.) and we were favoured by being on the sunniest side of the ship especially in port (it really is the luck of the draw between which side of the ship gets the sun when berthed alongside). In Livorno (N Italy) it touched 100F full frontal (but only 90F in the shade) on the balcony of our cabin. Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) touched 94F full frontal the day before. Outbound the Bay of Biscay was a bit choppy but a mill-pond on the return crossing but otherwise never too turbulent elsewhere. Online, I had pre-booked a private taxi tour of Lisbon which turned out to be cheaper and better than any arranged P & O excursions tour. Our charming and helpful mini-skirted driver, Maria, was there waiting for us at the bottom of the gang-way with a freshly-valetted, sparkling car. (This is the second time we have successfully used the 'Net to book a taxi-tour - the last time being Madeira on a previous cruise.) At the ship's side in Livorno we joined 4 other passengers on an ad hoc 3-hour mini-bus tour to Pisa for Euros 20 each. It was well worth it. Even the cups of cafe latte and cappuccino we had in a cafe were no more than one would expect to pay in Starbucks back home or even in the Cafe Vivo on board ship - with a direct view of the Leaning Tower thrown in for free! Our favourite port-of-call was Barcelona - we both loved the relaxed atmosphere of the warm and sunny Ramblas and surrounding areas with visitors of all ages just strolling about, care-free. Everywhere was neat and well-kempt with easy wheelchair access. Our least favourite port visit was Gibraltar where the shuttle-bus driver was very curt, rude and most unwelcoming. So much so that we returned to the ship rather than go shopping and spend our money for Gibraltar's economic benefit. (It just so happened our side of the ship gave us an awesome view of The Rock itself .... and to make us feel at-home, a Morrison's grocery store directly opposite to us!) We were told afterwards that the driver was probably a Spaniard from Algeciras. Cunard's Queen Elizabeth was also berthed alongside so there was a total of 4,000+ passengers and up to 1,600 crew let loose on Gibraltar .... we were afterwards told it was jam-packed and not easy-going for wheel-chairs. The ever-attentive, cheerful, friendly, mostly Indian waiters and cabin stewards are a significant part of the P & O brand of cruising - we only hope that P & O never lose sight of this fact. They are not excessively subservient nowadays and will engage in friendly repartee when given half the chance. Be stuffy with them and they'll be stuffy with you. We thanked our cabin steward for some little deed he had done for us - he replied, with a broad appreciative grin that it was his duty! Try and find that attitude in the UK - if you can! We cannot comment on the entertainment provided on board as we didn't partake of any part of it. Being on 2nd sitting for dinner - complete with a G & T before, a large glass of wine during, and usually a large Courvoisier to accompany coffee ... we were only too happy to return to our cabin, get comfortable in pyjamas and dressing gown and relax, even sit on the balcony looking up at the stars, perchance to dream. We feel we have to comment about some of the moaning minnies and maurices we encountered on board. It may be the downside of Arcadia being an Adults-only ship(?). Some were uncomfortable with us joining their lift and looked down their noses at my wife in her wheelchair almost as if being unable to walk might be catching! (Beware the mirrors in the lifts that catch all the expressions of all the occupants from all angles!). We encountered some older passengers who languidly strolled the corridors without a thought for any others. There were times when they'd just stop dead to look at something (like a photograph in The Gallery or a ship in a glass display case.) and who'd get an unexpected surprise of some part of a wheelchair gently but firmly reminding them that they could be more aware of who and what may be just behind them. I just cannot stop the momentum of a wheelchair as quickly as they can stop! We encountered an elderly trio (who we came to refer to as the Gruesome Threesome) who, within minutes of our asking to join their table in the crowded Piano Bar for a pre-prandial drink, who then spotted an just-vacated table nearby and quite abruptly moved to it, without a by-your-leave. It was then we noticed that they didn't have any drinks to move ... so they were maybe rabidly tee-total. The Temperance Three? But how UNfriendly and intolerant can you get? There was one memorable breakfasting old dear who complained at length that the knife provided for buttering her toast was rather too heavy for her! We guessed that she just had to find something to moan about. (And that was at the very start of her day!). Where's all that indomitable spirit that's often said about the older generation? And my goodness! Some of those apparently frail little old dears can seriously pack the food away. 'Full English' breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and 6-course dinners ....... their plates were cleared. Maybe they complained about the food because they couldn't get enough of it? Any way - to round off and despite some of the foregoing, this Christmas and New Year cruise was most enjoyable and memorable for us. (We are both determined to spend our money rather than allow our savings interest be taxed to contribute to the free provision of a 4/5 bed-roomed detached house in a desirable area of London for the likes of Hook Hamza and his family. So, to this end, our next cruise is already booked for April/May 2013 on board Adonia (the smallest of the seven P & O ships accommodating only 710 passengers instead of the Arcadia's 2000+). The cruise is to the central Med this time. Because it is a smaller ship it can get into the smaller ports that cannot accommodate the bigger ships like Arcadia. The cruise dates cover both our birthdays (don't ask!) and visits eight ports amongst which are Cartagena in Spain, Sarande in Albania (should be very interesting?), Kotor in Montenegro, Rijeka in Croatia, and our very favourite destination city of Venice .... for the second time.) It hardly seems worth unpacking from our last cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We joined Arcadia for her 15 day Baltic cruise in August. Overall we had a wonderful time and would recommend her to those who like a medium sized slightly more formal adult's only ship. This was our second cruise on her, our first ... Read More
We joined Arcadia for her 15 day Baltic cruise in August. Overall we had a wonderful time and would recommend her to those who like a medium sized slightly more formal adult's only ship. This was our second cruise on her, our first was a short 3 nighter, and we hated her, dirty, in need of maintenance and the staff gruff, we nearly cancelled this Baltic cruise. But we were so glad we didn't, she was clean with plenty of fresh paint and the staff were excellent, a very different experience. We stayed in Southampton the night before, as we always do at the Premier, just perfect. We did not get complementary parking so instead of paying the exorbitant costs for dockside parking we found a gem on the parkatmyhouse website. We will definitely do this again the next time we cruise from Southampton. Check in as always with P&O was efficient and quick and we were on the ship early at about 12.30. Our port side balcony cabin was ready by 2 and we were very pleased with it. We were extremely well served by our steward, one of the best we have ever had, the cabin was spotless. He didn't miss anything; including making sure our ice bucket was replenished every day. We were in E133, a glass fronted balcony, and not all on E deck are, in line with the lifeboats, right by the lifts. Our only complaint is that it was rather noisy. We like being by the lifts and have never had this problem on other ships, inconsiderate pax holding conversations outside the door, and banging from a crew door to the kitchens on the promenade deck below were not good. This did not spoil out enjoyment of the cabin overall but a couple of cabins further towards the aft would probably be quieter. We had a really lovely table for 8 on the MDR upper dining level right in front of the big aft windows, perfect. We spent very enjoyable evenings with our table companions, though the MDR did suffer from vibration from the engines on occasion, maybe a maintenance issue? The food was very good, British silver service, but still very good. Out waiters and the wine waiter were all efficient though they did not interact as much as we would have liked. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was generally good, though the layout of the servery did occasionally result in long queues. The food was of a good quality, though perhaps not always as hot as we would like and sometimes choices ran out and were not replaced promptly, it was also slightly repetitive. Overall good, but we prefer the server layout of the newer bigger ships. We never had a problem finding seats, though often had to share. But why do they have long blinds down the window obstructing the view, maybe this will change when she goes into dry dock. We liked the Neptune grill in the inside pool, only limited opening times and a sometimes along wait, but the food, jacket potatoes, burgers etc, was freshly cooked and well come when returning from a port visit. We visited both the Orchid and Ocean Grill extra charge restaurants. We always visit the speciality restaurants at least once for a change. The Orchid was lovely; we had an excellent meal, good value at £10 each. The Ocean Grill was a different matter. This was our 5th visit to a White's restaurant on P&O and our first disappointment, we had experienced some outstanding meals, including during our first Arcadia cruise. We did not want to make a fuss in the restaurant as it was clear others were enjoying their meal but when asked if we enjoyed the food we explained that the pork was far to fatty, and inedible. The restaurant manager then started to argue with us at the table. This was unacceptable to us to we left without paying and went straight to the customer serviced desk. Without going into the boring details we ended up with an apology from the food and beverage officer and did not pay for the meal. We did DIY in all the except St Peterburg ports where we did a 2 day grand tour and the ballet with Alla tours. I have reviewed them elsewhere but would highly recommend them. Apart from Russia all the ports were easily do-able yourself. P&O were really good in providing a free shuttle in all the ports where we were not docked in the city centre. I did quite a bit of research beforehand and had a good idea of what we would do in each port. We followed the really useful Fodders guide walks in some of the ports (available on their web site). The entertainment overall was very poor, this was a comment that we heard many times. The shows were okay, but a couple of the singers awful. There was little other entertainment, this is one of the reasons were prefer larger ships. We went to a couple of the talks but found the timing not good for us. This was a fairly port intensive cruise and on sea days we found the timings too early. We normally really enjoy the talks on P&O and this was a disappointment. We had good weather overall better than expected, only a little rain. The weather and temperature advice given in the Horizon newsletter each day and confirmed by the captain was generally accurate. Some days we needed a light jumper or fleece, rain a couple of times but mostly we were in short sleeves. The seas were really kind, even the North Sea was calm. The sunsets were amazing. Overall a really enjoyable cruise, though we would not go on Arcadia again for a long cruise, though would consider a short one if it was over a weekend, we both work! We have also decided that we prefer Celebrity to P&O, the service and the quality of the food and drink is much higher, 5 star as against 4. We find the cost of P&O higher than Celebrity up front, but spend less on board so the cost for us ends up about the same. Having said that we would consider cruising on P&O again if the price and ports were attractive. 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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