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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
We returned this morning from our 3 night break on the Arcadia. What a lovely ship and our cabin and balcony were good too. Jimmy James from Jimmy James and the Vagabonds who was around during the Motown years was the cabaret. What a ... Read More
We returned this morning from our 3 night break on the Arcadia. What a lovely ship and our cabin and balcony were good too. Jimmy James from Jimmy James and the Vagabonds who was around during the Motown years was the cabaret. What a fantastic performer, really showed us how a professional should sing and perform even at the age of 71. He received a standing ovation from the entire audience together with whistles and cheers. It was marvellous. Now the negatives. The food was dreadful, we tried two different soups and both tasted like the cheapest packet soups, if they were not packet soup I have no idea how they managed to make soup so horrible. We also objected to being served up what seemed like frozen croquet potato, roast potato and chips. You will note I said potato and not potatoes because P&O don't like you to have more than one. The meat was very second rate and the fish was so overcooked it tasted like it had been cooked the day before and re-heated. The descriptions on the menu looked rather nice so it was a great disappointment when we tasted the bland concoction we were served. There was only one option for vegetarians and on all three days there was nothing very interesting or inspiring for them to eat. The buffet restaurant was very badly laid out so not only was there not very nice food, but you had to walk the entire length of the restaurant before you could decide what you wanted to eat, and then have the same walk back again to actually take something. No-one comes around with tea or coffee at breakfast like they do on Princess. Now the service. Well this was appalling to say the very least. The majority of staff walk around looking so miserable. You smile at them and they don't smile back, of course there are exceptions. Our waiter was so surly and miserable, not giving us a chance to read the menu before expecting us to decide on choice, then slapping the meal down in front of us. Taking the plates away as you were still chewing the food and others still eating. We felt like all he wanted to do was get us out as quickly as possible. I particularly appreciated the loud sniffing snort he made whilst standing right behind me. This action really added to the enjoyment of our meal. I feel it would be churlish of me not to mention the cheese platter which I ordered for dessert thinking that they could not possibly go wrong with that. The menu said cheese platter with crackers and dried fruit and nuts. A plate the size of a saucer was placed in front of me and a lovely platter of cheese presented. At last I thought, at last something to eat which would be delicious. 'Which piece of cheese would you like'? I just looked at him and requested a small piece of each please. A look of horror followed. I was given tiny pieces of cheese on the tiny plate but no fruit from the tiny dish. I asked for some of the dried fruit and nuts please. Another look of horror, one walnut and two dates stuck together was my quota. Now the crackers. 'Which cracker madam'? An assortment please. Another look of horror as three crackers were piled on top of the cheese on the tiny plate. Please could I have a larger plate. Oh my goodness, how awful of me to make such a request. One more thing. In the bars you are pestered continuously to buy drink. They come up to you the minute you sit down just as you pick up the drink menu. Then when you say you are just reading the menu and not quite ready yet they return in another couple of minutes and so it goes on. It feels like there is no area you can sit without being pestered to buy drink. I apologise for such a long review. I did try and speak to the food manager but unfortunately he did not get back to me even though reception asked him to contact me. We went on this cruise to see if we liked it before booking a longer cruise. No way would we cruise P&O now. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Cruised with P & O on previous occasions and have always been very satisfied, but not so on this disastrous mini-cruise. We only had two ports of call on the itinary but Zeebrugge was pulled from the programme before we got on board, ... Read More
Cruised with P & O on previous occasions and have always been very satisfied, but not so on this disastrous mini-cruise. We only had two ports of call on the itinary but Zeebrugge was pulled from the programme before we got on board, leaving us with basically a ferry trip to Le Havre. Worse still - no apology or even a mention from the captain or officers of this change. From our first lunch it was clear that the quality of food and service had plumetted. This continued throughout the 'cruise' with overcooked or warm dishes, food that had not been fully thawed and even tinned peaches for dessert served by disinterested and unfriendly waiters. Together with other passengers it seemed clear to us that we had been abandoned as a '3 day' crowd who were not worth the effort. Many thought the captain had in fact remained in Southampton until the second time when he deemed to 'broadcast' prior to our leaving Le Havre. P&O continued to astound with their total lack of organisation relating to Russell Watson concerts, where ticketing arrangements had not been organised and general chaos ensued, crowds of very angry people battling to get into the theatre. Following pressure from passengers P&O finally relented and produced some sort of system for the last night. Overall a pathetic performance from P&O further exacerbated by the fact that four weeks after writing to the Managing Director not even an acknowledgement has been received. Disgusting!!!!!!!!! 1. On embarkation (3 December) we were handed a letter from Nick Burrows, Head of Customer Services , which informed passengers that 'severe winds are forecast for our call to Zeebrugge' and that this was being 'pulled' from the programme. Some passengers were not even handed this letter, and we later found out that Zeebrugge was not on the schedule already printed in Horizon and given to passengers who had taken a back-to-back cruise from the Canaries, but that Le Havre was. 2. From our first lunch (12.30 hours) it was clearly obvious that your cuisine as displayed in The Belvedere was lacking in quality and presentation. The hot salmon dish was very overcooked, dry and served warm; the noodles with prawns were not hot enough and neither was the curry dish. Waiters were not welcoming, were unfriendly and few in number; tables were not being cleared quickly enough. Anyone who had not cruised before must have been very unimpressed. 3. The Captain, Ian Walters, addressed passengers via. tannoy to explain the emergency drill but failed to apologise or even mention the fact that Zeebrugge had been pulled from the schedule. If as Nick Burrows suggests Zeebrugge was shelved due to bad weather then obviously we all accept and welcome such a change, but surely any reputable Captain should have the manners and courtesy to apologise. In fact none of Captain Walters' officers apologised or mentioned Zeebrugge in any form. Obviously most passengers were very disappointed to miss out on their visit to Bruges. 4. Our first dinner in Meridian (table no. 48 for eight guests ) was extremely disappointing. The dishes we had which were supposed to be hot were barely warm, the quality of the food and the presentation were far below the cuisine we have enjoyed on past cruises. Our waiters were totally disinterested and did not introduce themselves -- the service we endured was unfriendly, surly and slow. On past cruises the section waiter, wine waiter and our table waiters have introduced themselves and were only too happy to be of service. The wine waiter even pulled a face when those at the far end of the table could not hear what he was saying. He then made no attempt to come over to repeat himself but just stood in the same spot cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted. On a number of occasions waiters and other staff pushed in front of passengers showing no courtesy whatsoever. It seems that P & O should be training their staff in manners and how to treat their guests. 5. Breakfast in The Belevedere on Sunday morning was a complete fiasco and more like a cattle market than a renowned cruise ship dining venue. People were struggling to find a table and the queues at each serving station were very long. Waiting time to reach the serving area was approx. 10-15 minutes and again the food was barely warm. As previously the waiters could not cope with clearing the tables quickly enough. Whilst waiting in the queue we were told by a couple who had never cruised before that although they had reserved a table for two for dinner they were forced to dine alone on their first night -- one dining in the upper level of Meridian and the other in the lower level!!! Unbelievable. 6. Sunday dinner was much the same as the previous evening. With the exception of Chicken Caesar Terrine which was quite frozen and had to be sent back, plus Poached FRESH Peaches in Champagne and Vanilla, which actually turned out to be TINNED SLICED PEACHES IN A BOWL WITH A SIDE PORTION OF HALF MELTED ICE CREAM. The waiter actually admitted the fresh peaches had "run out" and therefore the peaches being served were tinned!!!! So much for P & O's Food Philosophy statement on the cover page of each dinner menu:-"..............silver-service waiters who become friends, .......................we offer a wealth of unique dining experiences created for the British palate using, wherever possible, the finest local and sustainable ingredients such as ................., we are dedicated to the continuing development of our ingredients, menus, venues and service, ..............all our dishes are thoughtfully and freshly prepared to ensure the most exceptional dining experience with every meal." Needless to say you can see from the above comments and complaints that a lot of the claims in your Philosophy Statement do not bear any resemblance to the food you actually serve or the service your staff are giving. 7. Arcadia's staff and officers really excelled themselves over the disorganisation of the Russell Watson concert. Despite having known for months about the 3-day mini cruise it was obviously impossible for P & O to consider well in advance how to efficiently organise the seating arrangements for both 8.45pm and 10.45pm concerts. Following hundreds and hundreds of passenger complaints regarding the viewing arrangements, Arcadia's staff eventually came to their senses and realised that some organisation was required. They came up with the idea that passengers would present their table card at the theatre entrance which would be marked. However after rushing our dinner and missing coffee, we were amongst a couple of hundred passengers who missed out on Sunday's performance. Needless to say the mood was disappointment, frustration and anger. Staff were confronted by irate passengers wanting complete reassurance that they would be guaranteed good front row seats for a further performance on Monday night. Because of complaints we had already submitted on board, we had a meeting with an Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, Craig, who was polite and courteous. He assured us that we would be served quickly at dinner that evening so that we could get to the performance in plenty of time. Luckily we had excellent seats and thoroughly enjoyed the performance. 8. Captain Walters finally deemed to address passengers for the second time since embarkation at approximately 8.15 p.m. on the Monday evening to inform us that we would be leaving Le Havre at 9.00 p.m. Once again no mention of Zeebrugge and inconsiderately no mention of the Russell Watson seating fiasco or 'thank you for sailing with P & O' or 'hope you have enjoyed your cruise'. We have not been at all impressed by his captaincy as regards passenger relations. Most passengers were of the opinion that he had either stayed in Southampton or had enjoyed a two day four hour vacation at our expense. We have not spoken to any passenger who actually saw Captain Walters wandering around his ship. No other officer has deputised on his behalf to make announcements on the PR side. All in all we are extremely disappointed and disillusioned with the whole P & O experience on board Arcadia. The mood among fellow passengers appeared to be the same as ourselves and many considered the fact that it was because it was a 3-day mini cruise which didn't require standards to be as good as longer cruises. Is this the case? From our previous P & O cruises experiences, we consider that your standards have dropped dramatically. Although we complained about much of the above on board, we have felt compelled to write to you for your comments. Yours faithfully Sandra and Ian Hampton Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We booked primarily to vist the Christmas Market in Bruges and see Russell Watson in a cabaret setting. Arrived and went through a tedious check in process for our £400 a night suite. Once checked in we were informed that the Bruges ... Read More
We booked primarily to vist the Christmas Market in Bruges and see Russell Watson in a cabaret setting. Arrived and went through a tedious check in process for our £400 a night suite. Once checked in we were informed that the Bruges leg was off because of the weather conditions, bear in mind this is an ocean going cruise liner and the captain said in his letter it could be difficult to berth! Our butler we saw once a day when he brought our awful canapes, out of three nights only one lot were eaten, sadly he didn't catch on that we were unhappy. No issues with our bedroom steward he was great and very helpful. Food was perhaps the most dissapointing element, cheap and tacky was my view with overcooked vegetables, frozen peas and soggy cauliflower to name but two. Cheap cuts of meat including micro sirloins which came from cows fed on grass ! well whatever next. Cold food was served frequently and sent back never to re-appear one night several on our table sent 3 bowls of soup back, Spinach & Stilton it was vile. Staff were or seemed very low ? not there usual helpful and courteous lot, though I have to say there were some exceptions in the main they seemed offhand and not bothered ? Information was sparce, anyone who has travelled to France will know that all shops are closed on Sundays yet not only were we to sepnd 2 full days in Le Havre but the shops on board were not allowed to open and we were unable to purchase duty free due to HMRC rules (no problems on your Ferries though Mr P&O) I think we were all being lied to, it seems the staff were already aware that the next sailing was also not going to Bruges ? maybe the same weather had been ordered by the captain. Russell Watson, when we eventually managed to get in to see him, was brilliant but then he wasn't being organised by P&O was he. Travel advice ???? Thinsk long and hard before you book on this line. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
J818 PEARLS OF THE ARTHRITIC sorry Joan couldn't resist it. COMMOD'E BURGOINE AND HIS WONKY SHIP ARCADIA Let me begin, my first impression of the "ARCADIA" was a floating nursing home but not wanting to ... Read More
J818 PEARLS OF THE ARTHRITIC sorry Joan couldn't resist it. COMMOD'E BURGOINE AND HIS WONKY SHIP ARCADIA Let me begin, my first impression of the "ARCADIA" was a floating nursing home but not wanting to offend many of the good people I met onboard I will be generous and say that the average age must have been in the late 70's with their associated problems which meant that moving about the ship was a slow process! P&O would like us all to believe that this ship is floating Gleneagles but it isn't! The food is of a reasonable standard but nothing special and you don't get bingo and silly games at Gleneagles. The overworked and underpaid waiting and cabin staff (recruited in Mumbai and Goa), do a pretty good job which is more than can be said of the rest of the ships officers. The plastic cabins creaked and cracked all night long in the slightest swell ruining any chance of a good sleep. The daily newspaper tells us to wash our hands and make use of the hand gels available. These gels were only available in the self service restaurant and nowhere else! I know that gels are ineffective against some infections but they should be available everywhere as people handle rails throughout the ship. When I complained about this a "superior fatboy in a white suit" told me they were not necessary anywhere else other than the self service restaurant. Now it's the entertainment staffs turn. The musicians on board were I am sure individually quite good but it seemed impossible to get them to play the same tune at the same tempo together. A nightmare! The assistant entertainment officer would dance with the ladies but he looked like demented penguin with his flat feet I think he thought that rise and fall was something that the ship did. Surviving the band, a lot of people enjoyed dancing in the Globe but that didn't last the entertainment staff thought they were at PONTINS and would punctuate the dancing at 2030pm with asinine quizzes and games to stop the oldies from going to bed. In fact the best music on board was the CD they played between band breaks. Anyone who uses the ship's laundry service risks having shirts returned like corrugated cardboard washed and starched like tablecloths and pressed in an industrial roller. Wow it isn't like Gleneagles! Because the ship had a wonky engine the ship would always arrive late in port so trips were cancelled or curtailed ruining visits!!!!!!!!! I have a SATNAV which gives an accurate ETA something that evidently wasn't available to the commod'e!!!!!!!! Wake up P&O you are like the tattered remnants of the British Empire all show and no content. We should all receive an apology for J818. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2008
If you're under 60 - then our strong advice is DON'T GO ON ARCADIA!! The mean average age on our cruise was 68 (with a median probably over 70??!!). Virtually all the entertainment was geared toward OAP's. First time ... Read More
If you're under 60 - then our strong advice is DON'T GO ON ARCADIA!! The mean average age on our cruise was 68 (with a median probably over 70??!!). Virtually all the entertainment was geared toward OAP's. First time cruisers, my wife (43) & I (51) - & both retired - didn't fit in as we did not waltz or quick step, we're not into quizzes, don't like deck quoits or "art auctions", don't want to see a show where everything being performed was written before we were born etc etc. Even Tom O'Connor geared his act up to the 70-somethings. We paid top whack for a quality cabin (A62) & foolishly expected a "stateroom with balcony" but actually got a cabin that was below Travel Inn standard. Even the dismal wardrobes were inadequate & not fit for purpose as you could not hang your suits without them being crushed in. The balcony was consistently wet & unusable. This misnomer is simply taking the proverbial! We ate at Arcadian Rhodes: dismal experience as the food came out cold (& was sent back) plus it was so salty that it rendered it virtually inedible - yet the staff were not bothered by our complaints. We sat down at 8.30 & it was a relief to leave at gone midnight. The Meridian restaurant was generally of an expected standard although even that wavered a few times such that we ate at The Belvedere self-service a couple of nights. Swimming pools? Well, the Neptune Pool area with its uncomfy fixed-back loungers was usually an unpleasant area & the Aquarius Pool area was simply small & crowded. We usually went up to the higher levels where there was always plenty of sun beds (probably due to the fact that the average cruiser was too old to negotiate the stairs!). Night Club: yes but very small and not enough people young enough to use it - it didn't get going at all until around 1.00am & most people had gone to bed ages ago! Good points? Not many! The staff (generally) were simply exceptional. The social aspect of cruising was surprisingly pleasant. The Crows Nest bar area was generally excellent (until then the quiz took over at 11.00pm when we and friends we'd met there usually went elsewhere or to bed). The Spa & gym were of a high standard (although very hard sell on their products- be warned!!). Finally, be aware of the fact that Arcadia has a propulsion problem such that the whole ship vibrates - particularly on higher decks: if it was a car then you'd take it back! It certainly shakes you to sleep!! All the above points were reported to P & O whilst we were still aboard, but I've not received any written response from them. The Cruise Director (aboard) was deeply concerned that we'd researched this break yet still got aboard a ship that was highly unsuitable for our age group & that our expectations were totally different to reality. I've since re-read the brochure & there is nothing that I've seen that suggests that this is an O A P cruise ship: you have been warned!! To P & O - come clean about the condition of the port propulsion unit & also make it clear to anyone booking that everything is geared toward pensioners! In summary, our opinion is that this was the worst value-for-money break we've ever had. Would we travel with P & O again - doubtful right now! Would we cruise again - definitely but we will book a standard room (at less than half what we paid) and check thoroughly the likely age of passengers! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2006
Never Again ! There are I think 2 types of people in the world. There are the "I'll try anything once" types and there are the "I'm happy with what I know and love types". For P&O cruisers the dilemma ... Read More
Never Again ! There are I think 2 types of people in the world. There are the "I'll try anything once" types and there are the "I'm happy with what I know and love types". For P&O cruisers the dilemma facing most of us is "shall I try out the newest ship in the fleet?". Sadly I fell for this psychological trap and booked a short mid-year 7 day break on Arcadia. It will never happen again! There are plenty of reviews that will inform you of the practical design differences to the other ships and they are pretty much accurate. Design is poor, period. Main restaurant is right at the aft so those with a tendency for seasickness will be at maximum discomfort during the most important eating time. Layout elsewhere is confusing and it's hard to get anywhere in a straight line on one deck. Bars, lounges and cafes all have main walkways through them so are not at all nice places to chill out, relax and say read a book. As I said, plenty of other reviews around on those differences. The main problem you need to be aware of when being tempted by that "shall I, shan't I" dilemma is that Arcadia, being an adult only ship, is in fact packed full of geriatrics. They fall out of every room, bar and lounge and spend their cruise lolling asleep in chairs with their mouths open. Arcadia is an old folks home at sea. Now, I'm not ageist in any shape or form, but given a choice, I would not knowingly choose to spend a holiday as important as a cruise with 1500 pensioners all waiting to spend their final days in the best way possible. It's truly awful. I'm just over 40 myself and although we had excellent table companions who were full of character, this didn't make up for the overall atmosphere on board. If you are intent on doing the "Arcadia" thing, then you need to be prepared for the practical realities that you will be faced with. In general these worldly wise veterans spend their days getting up well before everyone else at about 5-6am. Their purpose and motivation in life is to get to places first, before everyone else, to get that all important seat. First sign of this was the muster drill. I left for the drill 5 mins early just to avoid the busy corridor rush that normally happens. What greeted me at the muster station was a sea of elderly people who had clearly already bagseyed their chairs and settled in, probably an hour before! Everyone else was stood in the corridors for the 45min drill. I'm not discourteous mind, but I always felt the heart and soul of any cruise was consideration for fellow passengers, queuing patiently, tolerating and so on. Old people show very little of this, it's dog eat dog and boy, they're going to get up as early as it takes to get there before you. And once there, they ain't gonna move any time soon. They're going to sit quietly ordering coffee after coffee to justify their continued presence in those seats like the people who used to make a cup of tea last 3 hours in a Little Chef restaurant. It's an ethos they have for the duration of the cruise. As with any cruise, we had some days at sea and some of these were in bad weather so everyone was looking for things to do and places to go inside the ship. Could we find even one empty armchair in one bar or lounge or cafe to get a coffee? Not a chance! Every single seat was packed out with geriatrics who for all I know had been sitting there from 3 o'clock in the morning just to make sure they got that seat. And many of them were just lolling there asleep. It makes for a truly horrible atmosphere I'm afraid and is very frustrating. I walked the length of the ship 3 times on different decks looking for somewhere to have a coffee. Took me 40 mins to find a dark unrelaxing corner. To further perpetuate the old folks home experience P&O ensured that all the activities were in tune. So during the day expect workshop sessions telling you how to grow Clematis or how to cultivate cuttings ! Computer lessons for the completely technophobic and so on. No doubt I have now offended every mature cruiser that reads this review and I apologise for that, however, I want people to go into an Arcadia cruise with an informed decision. Had I known beforehand I would not have spent those precious holiday days and all that money on a "let's see what Arcadia is like" venture. I would have stuck with the ships that I know and love. Carnival/P&O need to understand pretty quickly that Arcadia looks to have quickly become an old folks home. No doubt there is a great market for that and I wish the best of luck to P&O and to all the older people sailing with Arcadia. However, be mindful of the fact that there are hundreds of other cruisers being slowly alienated, who might otherwise expect a "normal" cruising experience. One where there are seats available and where occupied seats are buzzing with life and banter and atmosphere. We all have choices. It looks like the Arcadia is the place for the elderly. That's just fine. I wrote this review just to ensure everyone else is suitably informed before they book their first time Arcadian experience in the hope of something new, different and exciting. For me it wasn't any of those things. Personally, I will never sail with her again. The design, the ethos and the atmosphere on-board are just not to my taste. I love the formality of the other ships and the courtesy and liveliness on-board. Everyone is different, you must make your own choice, but at least be informed and prepared. The scores I have recorded reflect the normal aspects of those services but all are tainted and spoiled by the wider problem. Happy sailing! Read Less
Arcadia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 1.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.7

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