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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first time cruise, we chose the Norwegian Fjords as it was short cruise in case we did'nt like it.We loved it .The embarkation was smooth although our check in time was three we were able to board the boat early at two o ... Read More
This was our first time cruise, we chose the Norwegian Fjords as it was short cruise in case we did'nt like it.We loved it .The embarkation was smooth although our check in time was three we were able to board the boat early at two o clock no bother.Our cabin was spotless great start, our cabin steward introduce herself made us feel very welcome.We chose freedom dinning although the food was excellent we thought the waiters could of had better customer service a smile would of been nice.We use the Belevere restaurant after this found the staff much more polite.We also tried the fine dinning it was fabulous the staff there were really nice,food was out of this world.We also opt for room service in the morning for breakfast and the waiter who serve us every morning was cheerful always asking about our day really friendly.we thought the entertainment was good although you had to get there early to get a seat especially the early one.The ports we visited was great except the last one Haugesung it was very disappointing maybe we should of booked an excursion for this one,never mind.Although when we arrived at this port a jazz band was playing and when we left a brass band which was brilliant.The Fjords themselves was breathtaking.We will definitely go on another cruise trying to decide which one now. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this ship purely for the Geiranger Fjord destination. The fjords were beautiful. I asked at Reception what time we would be docking in Geiranger, because we wanted to wake up early and see the ship sail in. I was given a time, ... Read More
We chose this ship purely for the Geiranger Fjord destination. The fjords were beautiful. I asked at Reception what time we would be docking in Geiranger, because we wanted to wake up early and see the ship sail in. I was given a time, but the ship actually docked much much earlier, so we missed the sail in, despite getting up early, which was very disappointing. Geiranger was a beautiful, as was Flam. Our first port was Bergen. We arrived there on a Sunday, when everything was closed. At the tours presentation we were told all the things to see, but they knew full well that most places would be closed. The final port was Haugasund, which was an industrial port, not a pretty fjord destination. It did not fit with the itinerary and many passengers were disappointed with this port, especially as Stavanger was just a short way down the coast. I need a gluten-free diet, which P&O knew in advance. None of the buffet food was labelled with food allergens and I was told on the first day by the staff in there, not to eat in the buffet at all. All my meals in the main restaurant had to be pre-ordered the night before, so my choices were very limited. None of the gluten-free cakes were fresh; they were all brought in pre-packaged and stale. This really put a damper on my holiday. I have never had this problem with other cruise companies. The entertainment was good, although there was too much strobe lighting in some of the shows in the theatre. The ship has recently had a refit, but there was still quite a lot of maintenance work being done. The cabins were clean and spacious and the bed very comfortable. The two formal nights were very good, with most men wearing dinner suits and ladies in long or cocktail dresses. These nights were better than formal nights on some of the other cruise lines. On the morning of the last port day, it started to feel like our cruise was over and we were surplus to requirements. The waiters and chefs paraded through the buffet, so everyone could thank them for the food - yet we still had two more days to go. That evening, again there was a parade in the main dining room with the entertainment compere thanking them for their food. That evening in the theatre, as we were waiting for the show to start, a video was playing showing us what shows we had enjoyed throughout the cruise, yet we had two more shows to see. On the last day, just before introducing the guest speaker at 11am, the entertainment compere asked if everyone was packed. To cap it all, most of our suitcases had to be outside the cabins before we went for dinner on the last night, not at 11pm, as on other cruise lines. At 6pm, when many people wanted to go for dinner, most of the lifts were out of order so that the luggage could be moved. To cap it all, after the final show, about 11.15pm, the compere told us that our cruise wasn't over as some of the bars were still open! Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth, although a welcome drink would have been a nice touch. P&O certainly does not have the edge when it comes to customer satisfaction, which is very disappointing. I won't be booking another cruise with them in a hurry! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We have sailed with several companies and overall decided as we were going to be on board for 52 nights on P&O because it is less formal than some, although the food choice is more limited than others. We had a fabulous time and ... Read More
We have sailed with several companies and overall decided as we were going to be on board for 52 nights on P&O because it is less formal than some, although the food choice is more limited than others. We had a fabulous time and generally everyone on board was extremely helpful and polite. The entertainment was excellent with very interesting lectures and port reviews. We found that the excursions offered something for everyone. Just a few words of warning! If you are embarking in Brisbane, be warned that their are 2 ports and if you get it wrong, it will cost you over £100 in taxi fares! No one seems to know this and several of the P&O staff told us that everybody goes to the wrong port!!!! Well, having paid £100 to get to the right port, we did not see the funny side. Having got over this, the staff were so helpful and friendly, but our rating will be low. Our cabin balcony, D117, left a lot to be desired. Not only was it not clean on our arrival and nor did it get cleaned for our trip, but on several days, it smelt so badly that we could not open the door. We complained several times but were given different stories, such as, it depended which way the wind was blowing/the life boats smelt etc. Finally, we investigated ourselves, found a vent on Deck 3 from an 'engine' room, asked a passing engineer and found that this was the problem. We then reported this back and were given £100 off our bill! We do not get the feeling that this will be investigated anytime soon. And finally and this actually upset us the most! Having had a fabulous relationship with our cabin steward, on the last night of our trip, he took it upon himself to remove our remaining personal items from the cupboards so he could clean the cabin for the next passengers who would be joining the following day. Now on several levels this cannot be right. 1. We paid for that night. 2. That doesn't seem very hygienic as we are still using the cabin and 3. We do not appreciate our toiletries etc. being placed in our bags. We have complained, twice about this, but have heard nothing back, hence our comments here. Not good enough. P&O, we can forgive certain things and we do think you are brilliant overall, but PLEASE LISTEN when we report a problem. Sometimes, it's not what goes wrong that causes anxiety, it's the way it's dealt with. Hence rating underneath. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in ... Read More
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in Belverede (Buffet) was like Boarding School - small display and not very appertising Food in Main Dining Room was either great or average. Staff everywhere onboard I found very pleasant. There are some nice Public spaces on board being 'Adults only' it made the Swimming Pools and Buffet areas a lot more civilized. Shops were a non event. Embarkation was the fastest ever Disembarkation was a bit slow, due to different messages from P&O Staff and Border Security. The Fishermans Grain Wharf at Brisbane is around a 25min cab ride to the Airport and cost $63 - we did not pull in at Hamilton which is about 10mins from the airport. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018

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

This is an honest, tell it how it is review. Being wholly objective, it may also carry a little excess baggage as I, a 63 year old, grappling with the transition from being a 2-4 week holidaymaker to a world traveller! Passengers who joined the ship for a three week leg, might view the ship’s offerings and routines as fresh and new. Such customers might reasonably be considered as holidaymakers; quite a different animal from the diehards who come on board for the long-haul. The 500 or so who signed up for longish voyages are travellers and, they travel for many legitimate and differing reasons: boredom at home, company, to be looked after, to escape the British winter, non-flyers, repositioning, once in a lifetime adventure, etc. Many of these are ‘see you next year’ repeat world cruisers. Like I say, I am struggling with the transition! Positives: Arcadia is a quiet, comfortable ship...like an old armchair (though a little tatty in places). Overall, the dining experience was good (Belvedere excluded). Entertainment; this particular Headliners Company were exceptional. Some wonderful ports of call Alotau, San Francisco, Napier, Nha Trang, Singapore. No fighting for deck chairs on Arcadia...acres of space. Service was uniformly excellent throughout. Dance hosts Brenda & Jeffrey converted many non-dancers. Superb. Quiet ship, everyone in bed early…little to do after the theatre show. Negatives: No meaningful second entertainment / cabaret venue. Due to the above, the ship was quiet from 9.30pm (i.e. post theatre). Areas of the ship smelled foul throughout the 12 week cruise. (Mid-ships next to the shops). Excessive use of smoke effect (mist) in the theatre. Universally slated by visiting entertainers and the viewing public. The ship needs an overhaul not just an engine refit. Extremely dated. Too many quizzes, day and night. Cheap and cheerful? No, just cheap! If we want a quiz we go to our local. Not what we hoped for on a world tour. Dining 3/5 The Meridian Restaurant delivered a good (not great) selection of food served warm (rarely if ever hot). The levels of service were influenced by variables such as the waiting team, distance of your table from the galley, dramas in the kitchen etc. Comparable with banquet catering served at say, a family wedding rather than a fine dining experience. None the less, the Meridian (main dining room) would score 4/5. The Belvedere buffet was another story. The choice, quality and presentation of food was mediocre to poor. Even by P&O's moderate standards this 'restaurant' left a lot to be desired. With the possible exception of Curry Night, this place should be avoided if possible. Score 2/5. Hence the overall dining score of 3/5. Sindhu, P&O's Asian fine dining restaurant seemed to attract mixed views; rather like Marmite! We don't like Marmite so 2/5. The Ocean Grill (by day the ship's officers mess, by night Marco Pierre White's fine dining experience) was incredibly popular, with generally good to excellent reviews. Whether this popularity was due to the need to utilise the copious on-board spending money to be found on a World Cruise or, truly reflected the quality of food and service on offer might be debated. In our opinion, it is not as good as say The Epicurean Restaurant on Azura/Ventura where the extra charge is double that for The Ocean Grill. None the less, in terms of food quality, service and value for money it rates 4/5. Dining room dress code Interesting! At the start of the cruise, Southampton to say San Francisco, there were typically three formal nights each week... too many. As the passenger mix changed around the Pacific rim (many more Australians joined the ship), formal nights were reduced to one per week. The Aussies were welcome for any number of reasons and ruffled a few feathers with their ideas on formal wear! What's wrong with a dash of colour and a hairy leg? Room Service This was generally good to excellent. Of course it was somewhat limited in choice when compared to the restaurant however it was cooked to order, often hot and for the most part, delivered on time. Please note, some items were chargeable. In our experience, this is probably the only way to get warmish toast on board. 4/5. Cafe Vivo, tucked away in the dark, no doubt as an afterthought of the ship's architect; was illuminated by excellent staff who brought sunshine to it's customers. Much too small and poorly positioned. 4/5. Entertainment 2/5 P&O offers a largely British cruising experience. None the less, on this a World cruise, the passenger profile was truly mixed and included Brits, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Americans, amongst many others. Given the above passenger profile, the entertainment was not surprisingly geared towards British Commonwealth tastes. It is not so long since P&O Cruise Directors proudly introduced their entertainment team of sixteen staff. On this cruise (a world cruise) the now Entertainment Manager introduced his team of six. A sign of the times? Headliners Theatre personnel were excellent on this cruise. From memory, they presented nine different shows all of which we had seen on previous cruises; these were repeating for the third time during our 82 days on board Arcadia. Some might call this repetitive. Guest entertainers (the usual suspects) were largely flown out to join the ship and varied in standard. For example, an “alternative comedian" who normally performs in a late night show lounge / night club venues on Arcadia’s sister ships found himself starring at Arcadia's theatre. A poor fit, but little choice really since there is no alternative showroom / cabaret venue (see Cinema notes below). Local entertainers / cultural performers were also engaged as the ship moved from continent to continent The Globe, a 200 seater utility room is used for dancing (users complain that the floor is much too small with tensions often mounting between sequence and ballroom dancers as they vie for space), classical recitals, occasional musical 'jams' featuring the ships orchestra and other in-house musicians. Bars/Lounges. There is music of some description in each of the bars and lounges as the in-house musicians play their own brand of musical chairs and rotate venues each evening. No criticism of the musicians; however extensive their repertoire, some performances became tedious and repetitive over our twelve weeks on board. The Retreat, another small, utilitarian facility is primarily used for ballroom, sequence or line dancing, either for lessons during the day, or, as an alternative to The Globe during the evening. The Retreat is much smaller than The Globe, therefore far from ideal. Guest speakers were shipped out (from the UK) on a regular basis and once again varied in attractiveness dependent on your taste. Most notably, Eric (Knocker) Knowles, Wayne Sleep and Lord Michael Howard offered lectures on their chosen subjects and life in general. Listed like this it sounds varied and interesting however in reality, the overall quality of the speakers lacked sparkle. As an aside, does Mr Knowles reside permanently on cruise ships? We have seen him perform on four previous cruises in the past couple of years. The Ocean Room is a multi-purpose facility busy delivering art, crafts and card lessons by day but, idle at night. Could be better utilised as a revenue earning second venue after dark. Service 5/5 The service throughout the ship was uniformly excellent, particularly the reception. Often receiving the brunt of complaints from frustrated passengers we witnessed the reception staff defuse potentially difficult circumstances. Dragana and Sandra were outstanding. 5/5. Cabin 3/5 The deluxe balcony cabin on D deck was both comfortable and serviceable, if a little tired in places. Previous cruiser's mishaps on the room carpets and soft furnishings were permanent and there for all to see. The decor and layout is now dated with the ludicrously positioned bed lamps the butt of many visiting comedians. Constant warnings about the frailties of the toilet system seemed to be heeded by the guests. Our cabin's w.c. backed up only once during the nearly three month cruise. The balcony and balcony furniture (2 x deck chairs, 1 x leg stool, 1 x service table) were also a little tired. The cabin stewards worked extremely hard to keep the room in good order and they are to be commended. The air-conditioning, whilst in theory adjustable, was fierce. Anecdotally, several passengers we met claimed to seek medical advice for sore throat/chest infections citing the air-con. Shore Excursions 4/5 Normally we steer clear of these due to overpricing and generally being poor value for money. Somewhat different on the World Cruise it seems, with P&O upping their game considerably...on most occasions. Interesting itineraries, informative tour guides, great lunches when included, bottled water available on many tours etc. Even allowing for the exotic nature of the ports of call; in our opinion and to our surprise, most tours genuinely rated 4/5. Cinema 1/5 What a waste of space with only thirty seats some of which remained unserviceable and unavailable throughout the cruise. Previewing at the cinema tonight - shown in the cabin tomorrow night. The cinema, Cafe Vivo, Ocean room should be converted as one to a much bigger day time craft/arts/card room but convertible to a second venue/showroom at night. Cafe Vivo could be easily moved further aft where coffee is already served. Having written, read, posted and re-read this review, I cannot help feeling that I have allowed it to exude a little too much negativity. Look, you call it as you see and experience it. Several of our shipmates thoroughly (five stars) enjoyed every aspect of the ship; they loved the knitting, colouring-in, sing-a-longs, craft, Spanish language, ballroom / sequence dancing and card classes. Given the length of this cruise there was inevitable repetition in food and entertainment; completely understandable and, perhaps on reflection, fully anticipatable. The ship is geared up for senior citizens, the proverbial old folks home at sea. Not quite ready for that just yet.
 Ports of Call Southampton 3/5 Embarkation day. No time to explore this trip. From previous visits it could be said that Southampton is a utilitarian city, functional rather than spectacular. Yes, the city walls and architecture are interesting, the shopping centres are enticing but overall, would I travel to Southampton if I was not cruising..hmm? Funchal, Madeira 5/5 Despite numerous visits to Funchal, the island capital never ceases to enchant. A ten to fifteen minute walk over mainly flat surfaces will bring you into the centre. Visit the fruit and flower market, take the cable car up to Monte and come back down on the famous wicker baskets. Taste the world renowned Madeira wine, enjoy the year round floral displays...the list goes on. Bridgetown, Barbados 5/5 So you want a beach, take your pick...too many to choose from. You want history, visit the forts, English style churches, Bridgetown cricket ground (ten minutes walk from the ship), visit Trafalgar Square. Rum factories, fruit plantations, beautiful scenery. Barbados has the lot. The cruise terminal is situated approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes walk from the centre of Bridgetown, mostly on flat though slightly uneven surfaces. Normally it is hot so a taxi might be a good bet. Willemstad, Curacao, Dutch Antilles 4/5 There are two main docking areas. If you are lucky you can enjoy a dramatic sail in/sail away as the ship encounters the narrowest and prettiest of harbour entrances; allowing you to converse with onlookers shoreside with the greatest of ease. Otherwise, you park-up at a more utilitarian pier just outside Willemstad's walled centre. The city is small but perfectly formed with the entry over the floating bridge an obvious highlight. Beaches within fifteen minutes of the pier side. Willemstad, Curacao is colourful, vibrant and very Dutch. The town is predominately flat and accessible. Huatalco, Mexico 3/5 A beach day. If you enjoy walking around the marina, limited shops and stalls then great, Otherwise, for me, the town has little to offer. San Diego, California 4/5 They say it never rains in Southern California, well it can and it did…big time. This did not detract from an excellent promenade and a welcoming (relatively flat) city centre only five minutes from the port. Maritime museums, Aircraft carrier, Red October submarine, Dixie steamboats, you name it, only five minutes walk from the ship. Long Beach (Los Angeles), California 3/5 All that glitters might not be gold. We went to Hollywood from the port, nearly 1.5 hours by coach to get there, over 2 hours back...in fact you will need to take either a tour or taxi to visit anywhere of note perhaps with the exception of Long Beach. The traffic around downtown L.A. is horrendous, the ship departed leaving behind six late passengers who were caught up in traffic. Be warned! Oh yes, Hollywood? Think Blackpool or Southend but without the sticky rock. Tacky in the extreme! San Francisco, California 5/5 If they had offered ten stars then thats what I would have given. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge into the bay with Sausalito to the left, Alcatraz dead ahead, San Francisco with its cable cars to the right. Yes, heavenly. The ship ties-up next to a tram stop from which you can turn left and travel inexpensively into the city (six minutes) or, turn right and visit the various Pier 39 attractions and find the terminus for the cable car (ten minutes). Take a tour, cross the bridge, visit Sausalito, go to Alcatraz, ride the cable car...fill your boots! If it is not stating the blindingly obvious, San Francisco is extremely hilly. Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii 4/5 Honolulu... Pearl Harbor and beaches, right? Yes, of course, and much more besides. We took a tour to Pearl, interesting and historic, good to see...would we do it again…hmm? Over commercialised but not tacky. Beaches, well we were there early February 19c, not quite bikini weather for me but pleasant enough to see the attraction. Honolulu is a great city, easy to find your way around and just about walkable from the ship berth, 25 mins. Bora Bora, French Polynesia 3/5 What do you do when it rains (pours) in paradise? We knocked on the front door of a home in Bora Bora asking the resident for shelter. We were welcomed into the large covered porch area and offered a drink. Fifteen minutes later, we were babysitting as our host took off on her bike en route to the shop to buy provisions for her thirty or so other guests who had seen us enjoying local hospitality and decided to gatecrash! The lady was well rewarded from all concerned. Swimming, snorkelling, water sports, beaches are all great once the thunderstorms have passed. Beautiful, scenic and ideal for beach based activities...weather permitting. Extremely limited otherwise with the small town having very little to offer. Warning, there is no pier in Bora Bora; the ships lifeboats tender you ashore. This can lead to long queues with limited shelter, not ideal if either wet or extremely hot. Vaitape the main town is limited in appeal, indeed it could be described as basic or minimal and anything that is for sale is not cheap. The public transport is rudimentary (trucks with benches) and the service could not be described as regular. None of the above should put you off visiting this unique and welcoming island group. Papeete, Tahiti 3/5 Despite benefiting from millions of Euros from the EU, Papeete and the Tahitian Islands still seemed a little underwhelming. The ship docks in the centre of the city and it is easily accessible. Pleasant enough to visit for a beer or coffee but unremarkable otherwise. The people were warm and welcoming and that will be the abiding memory. PS avoid the tour to the ocean bore-hole, expensive and slated by all on the coach. Auckland, New Zealand 5/5 Terrific little city, even in the rain. Ship docks right in the centre, Easy to walk around although there are some slight hills to deal with. Go up the tower, terrific views day or night. Tremendous ambiance emanating from wonderful people. You must take the inexpensive twenty minute ferry across to Devonport; a hidden gem with its village feel, beautiful little shops and cafes. Lovely beaches. Napier, New Zealand 5/5 We took a tour down to Kidnappers point, saw some sheep shearing and enjoyed wonderful scenery. Following afternoon tea we called back at Napier for an hour before re-boarding the Lollipop. Napier had a huge earthquake some years ago. The locals had the bright idea to rebuild the city in ArtDeco style...Wow! What a beautiful little city, terrific promenade, fantastic sights to be seen everywhere you go. Everything, and I mean everything was in ArtDeco style. Truly a wonder to behold. Wellington, New Zealand 5/5 We took a morning tour along "the wild coast". Lovely views, followed by some sheep dog trials and a stupendous morning coffee with cakes, sandwiches, pastries et al. Back to the capital city which is extremely attractive and small enough to be quite manageable by foot. Deciding not to take the cable car journey up into the hills above the city, we went to the harbour area instead. We were well rewarded. About five minutes from the "Beehive" New Zealand's stunning parliament building, the harbour area has been developed sympathetically and is easy on the eye. All manner of water sports were visible in the bay as we took a beer in one of the many cafes and bars on offer. Idealic. Sydney, Australia 5/5 Whats not to like? As with San Francisco, Auckland, Hong Kong etc we were there for two days. Yes, we visited the bridge, the opera house, blue mountains, Featherdale Park (kangaroos and much more) , Manly beach etc. Too much to do, so little time. Brisbane, Australia 4/5 The ship berths 35 minutes by coach from the centre of Brisbane. We met friends on the south bank of the river which traverses Brisbane. This area is an attraction itself with a sizeable city beach, restaurants, theatres, attractions of all descriptions. Brisbane is an gorgeous city, beautifully manicured and cared for by the residents. Yorkey's Knob (Cairns), Australia 4/5 Once again, no harbour at Yorkey;s Knob so ships lifeboats tender you ashore. Situated approx thirty minutes outside Cairns, you will need to take a taxi or tour coach into town. Nothing much to see at the Knob just a small restaurant and bar. We took a tour on a period train to Kuranda, terrific views on the two hour journey. Highly recommended as an alternative to the Great Barrier reef. In the afternoon we visited Cairns. A pleasant, if sticky, one horse town with lovely outside pools and promenades. Kind of how I imagined it would be. Alotau, Papua New Guinea 4/5 Like almost everyone else on the ship, we went on the Alotau Cultural Festival tour. The locals dress up and put on a colourful, musical and cultural extravaganza with a sail on a war canoe being the highlight of the trip. Beyond this tour the options are extremely limited. The very small town has little to offer and the folks are extremely poor by western standards. Kochi, Japan 4/5 A ten minute courtesy coach journey brings you directly into town…the main bus station. From here you can walk into the small city (five minutes). Kochi Castle is beautiful, absolutely authentic and a terrific photo opportunity. Particularly attractive during cherry blossom time (March). The main shopping centre is extensive with a mix of up to date modernity laced with other enclaves of delicious traditional stalls displaying exquisite artisan wares. With the exception of the Castle which could be challenging with its great many steps, the city is otherwise quite flat and easily accessible. Good beaches within fifteen minutes of the city centre. Note, Japan is cold during February/ early March. Final word, the folks that we encountered must be amongst the most civil and respectful anywhere on our travels. Osaka, Japan 4/5 The second largest city in Japan is just that...huge. There is a good metro and this offers the opportunity to travel throughout the city unescorted. On balance, better to take a tour to Kyoto perhaps on the "bullet train". The ship berths next to a huge indoor shopping centre complete with an enormous ferris wheel which delivers a fantastic light show every evening; all of which is an attraction in itself. Nagasaki, Japan 5/5 The ship berths near the centre of town, perhaps a fifteen minute walk over flat ground. Great terminal with lots of locals on hand to offer advice…how, what, why, where and when; terrific volunteers. We took the obligatory tour to the Epicentre Bomb Museum and Peace Park and found it to be harrowing and up-lifting in equal measure. Next time we would do this ourselves. Very easy by public transport…trams. Can recommend the Dejima Museum, ten minutes walk from the port. Fantastic opportunity for the ladies to wear authentic traditional kimonos and wander through the streets of this living museum. Great photo opportunities. Busan, South Korea 4/5 From memory, the second largest city in South Korea. The ship was berthed some fifteen minutes by courtesy coach from the city centre. Brash and modern streets with all the familiar shopping brands and much more on offer. However you are never far away from market stalls selling everything you could ever imagine and then some. The fish market in particular is colourful, vibrant, exciting and, whilst it does of course smell a little, it is definitely worth a visit. Shanghai, China 3/5 We were glad that we took the three stop tour (the old town district with its fabulous architecture, the Bund promenade area with its views of the city and the Shanghai tower), partly because of the heavy rain which prevailed throughout our visit. If the weather had been better the tour would have been much more rewarding. None the less, it was enjoyable. Hong Kong, China 3/5 Not a happy place to visit at the moment. The locals are restless and unhappy with Britain for abandoning them and not offering sufficient support against China which it is said is suppressing their freedoms. Enough politics. As always, there is plenty to see and do. Try visiting Aberdeen Harbour and take a trip in a Sampan around Jumbo, the largest floating Chinese restaurant in the world. Visit Happy Valley Racetrack, take an evening ferry across Hong Kong Harbour enjoying the laser light show, nip across to Macau…the list goes on Nha Trang, Vietnam 4/5 What a pleasant surprise! This is a resort on the up! The ship's courtesy coach drove us past the most beautiful, manicured beaches before depositing us adjacent to a local hotel which offered toilet facilities and acted as a central point from which to explore this interesting town. Street vendors offered ‘knock-off’ versions of clothing, watches, sunglasses etc at stupidly low prices. I suppose you get what you pay for. Lots of lovely four and five star hotels situated along a tree lined promenade with excellent shaded areas for sitting down and admiring the views across the beaches. You will certainly hear more of Nha Trang as it develops further as holiday destination. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam 5/5 We took a tour around the city. The journey from the ship into the city took approximately one hour passing through paddy fields with both ox and buffalo also to be seen. Temples, temples and yet more temples en route. The city itself is full of history and bursting to tell its story. Long before the Americans arrived to lock horns with the V.C., Saigon was going about its business in the most spectacular way. We went to cultural museums, passed the war-time American embassy, wandered around the Saigon post-office (wow - get your camera ready), enjoyed a fantastic lunch with musical accompaniment, visited Chinese temples, took in a water puppet show and much more….what a day! Laem Chebang for Bangkok, Thailand 3/5 Two hours to get there, three hours to come back. Heavy traffic enroute only gets worse once you get nearer to this enormous, sprawling city. It is not practical to travel into Bangkok unless you take a ship’s tour. The cruise company will offer numerous options…all expensive. There is absolutely nothing to see within five miles of the port. P&O offered a free 30 minute transfer into Pattaya; a serious option if you do not fancy a very long day much of it spent on a coach. Pattaya, Thailand 4/5 The thirty minute courtesy coach journey took us through largely port related industrial areas before finally depositing us at the five star Bayview hotel situated thirty seconds from the beach front at Pattaya. The hotel offered clean restrooms and any other services required during our day at the beach. The beach is beautiful, set in a lovely blue bay with water warm enough to take a bath in. A very long and pleasant promenade affords easy access along the interesting waterfront with its water sports, cafes and many other attractions. Running parallel to the beach is a busy road, the other side of which are terrific stylish hotels, indoor shopping centres (welcome given the heat and humidity), Market stalls and more. The resort is said to have a red light district with its world famous lady-boys et al. Singapore 5/5 Not everyones cup of tea it seems, but we love Singapore. It has beaches, theme parks, musical concerts all accessible by monorail on Sentosa Island. Clarke and Robertson Quays offer vibrant nightlife, excellent food and entertainment by the riverside (mosquito central at night!). Merlion Park waterfront is alive with entertainment during the day but really comes into its own at night. Perhaps you prefer something a little more up-market? Try afternoon tea at the world famous Raffles Hotel (book in advance) then visit Orchid World. Advice, if you are lucky enough to be on a world cruise, do not consider buying any souvenirs, presents, clothing etc until you reach Singapore’s China Town. It has it all. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We recently completed Arcadia’s Western Circumnavigation – 99 nights, 100 days, a Super Blue Blood Moon and around 40,000 statute miles. A totally splendid voyage, many thanks to the crew and all the friends that we made. We hope the ... Read More
We recently completed Arcadia’s Western Circumnavigation – 99 nights, 100 days, a Super Blue Blood Moon and around 40,000 statute miles. A totally splendid voyage, many thanks to the crew and all the friends that we made. We hope the following will be of help to other travellers; In no particular order; • Our inside cabin had limited storage especially in the bathroom – on a long voyage consider taking hanging shelves, you can also stash loads of stuff under the bed. • The cabin walls are metal, you can stick up notes, pictures or a world map with fridge magnets. • Food – generally excellent with lots and lots of choice, we settled into a routine and sometimes just enjoyed a freshly made, plain sandwich. Formal dinners were excellent, you simply do not go hungry on a P&O cruise. • Service – exemplary. It beggars belief that some people can be horribly rude to the nicest staff – there were several occasions when we were embarrassed by our fellow passengers. • Entertainment - Pre-book the cinema, it’s very small but cosy – you can find out what’s on from reception or the library. Other entertainment - great in the bars, shows OK, guest speakers excellent. The entertainment team works hard for your pleasure and there is always something on offer. Don’t forget, the choice is yours, there is a lot of it and you (and P&O) don’t always get it right. • Photography - avoid waste by not having your picture taken by the official photographers – they have a quota to meet and just want you to pose for them – we politely declined on the grounds that they then print them all, then throw most of them away – a shockingly wasteful practice. • Wifi - don’t bother on board, it’s expensive with limited functionality. Much better to go ashore and ask the locals where the best location is. We paid for wifi once in 100 days - $5 in American Samoa – but then, they had just had a tornado that week. • Laundry – very small and always busy. Inadequate for demand on a long voyage. Not a place to make friends, better to buy new clothes. • Wildlife – plenty of it but you do have to be patient and then quick (to photograph) when sailing. You are mostly travelling at around 20mph+ and things pass very quickly. • Other Passengers - Most we met were lovely, however with around 2000 on board the chances are you will meet some unpleasant idiots – we certainly did! Nonetheless Arcadia is a big ship and you don’t have to socialise with anyone that you don’t care to. The major naughtiness is rudeness to staff – P&O are pretty good at dealing with this – some people didn’t complete the voyage! • Excursions – we assumed that most people went on a world tour to see things but were surprised how many didn’t leave the ship. Some tours are totally necessary – we would not have ascended the Burj Khalifa, the Petronas Towers or ridden the Maglev in Shanghai without P&O’s excursion service. Other places are a little easier – see the TOP TIP below. TOP TIPS: • Do your research before you go – decide what you want to see and do beforehand and then plan it. Also use the on-board port talks and excursion desk services to fully plan your trips. • Local transport is variable and every port is different. • Booking excursions before sailing is generally cheaper especially if you get loyalty discount. BUT: if you can, be spontaneous and enjoy the local colour, food and company. We did and those are some of our best memories of a fantastic world trip. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
First experience of cruising for more than 17 nights. This cruise was. 44 nights with 4 night stay in Sydney. The cruise was great. A few days of rough weather over bay of biscay (as expected). Sea sickness tablets worked a treat, ... Read More
First experience of cruising for more than 17 nights. This cruise was. 44 nights with 4 night stay in Sydney. The cruise was great. A few days of rough weather over bay of biscay (as expected). Sea sickness tablets worked a treat, There were two ports we had to abort because of bad weather: bay of islands and Tonga. This is something you have to expect when cruising which us beyond the control of the captain. Headliner shows always excellent and always generates a full house. Some of the other not always great. Lots of activities during the day to keep you busy during sea days. Spa very expensive. Gym facilities great and free. Food a little disappointing but plenty of it - you won't go hungry! We went on most excursions but a lot of the time you can do your own thing a lot cheaper. Highlights were: Alcatraze, Panama Canal, Pearl Harbour. We enjoyed all the ports on this cruise. Absolutely fab. Best ports San Francisco, Auckland and Sydney. Left luggage - a case on ship which we will collect in April when Arcadia returns to Southampton. We were concerned about the long haul flight for our return journey which turned out great. We flew with Singapore Airlines from Sydney to Singapore and then Singapore to Heathrow. Time just flew. Great current movies on flight, constant drinks and food/meals coming round. Would definitely fly again with them the same journey. 10 out of 10 flight. I think this length of cruise was enough for us but alot of other cruisers were staying on for the full 99 nights. If you are considering this cruise next year I would say go for it. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I chose the Arcadia as I wanted a Christmas/New Year cruise. The only open air deck where you could eat and get a drink was the Aquarius Pool deck which was on Deck 9. This was mostly crowded with constant loud unrelenting piped music. ... Read More
I chose the Arcadia as I wanted a Christmas/New Year cruise. The only open air deck where you could eat and get a drink was the Aquarius Pool deck which was on Deck 9. This was mostly crowded with constant loud unrelenting piped music. Who want's that on what is supposed to be a relaxing holiday. Requests to have it turned down were met with "This is what the passengers want". Has anyone ever been asked? I had a balcony cabin in the Aft on deck 4 and could hear the constant beat of the music from my balcony. On Christmas Eve, loud 'head banging' music was playing at 7.45 am. Not a Christmas Carol in sight! The designated smoking area on this deck took the whole of the port side making it very unpleasant for non-smokers. Smoke could even be smelt in the entrance to the Belvedere restaurant every time the door was opened. Both the Jacuzzi / hot tubs were on the port side, therefore,in a designated smoking area. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The sun decks on the ship were soulless. They were spartan and devoid of any character. The ship had just had a refurb and we were surprised how poor the ship was turned out. In the theatre it was either very cold due to the air ... Read More
The sun decks on the ship were soulless. They were spartan and devoid of any character. The ship had just had a refurb and we were surprised how poor the ship was turned out. In the theatre it was either very cold due to the air conditioning or extremely hot. This ship has no WOW factor at all. It would be better “dry docked” and opened as an old people’s home. The entertainment in the theatre from the ship’s cast was extremely poor. One show was entitled “music from the Blues Brothers” but when they started singing “under the boardwalk” that was our queue to leave. The cast weren’t so much as singing the songs more like screaming the songs. The guest entertainment was fine, no problems with them and very entertaining. The guest speakers were also first rate although the ship’s technicians let them all down badly on more than one occasion. Either the microphone or the visual aids weren’t working. We felt annoyed and embarrassed on behalf of the speakers. The hygiene in the restaurant in respect of hand sanitising was hit and miss. New Year’s Eve was a “Free for all” to get into the dining room and we had to ask for the sanitising gel. On average the food was good but the majority of waiters just weren’t interested. On NY Eve one of us ordered medallions of beef and that is all that was on the plate, no vegetables or potatoes, just beef! The food at breakfast was cold most of the time. Cabin steward provided excellent service. All one side of the ship, Port side, was smoking which made it very uncomfortable walking around the ship and sitting in certain areas, I.e. certain parts of the Belvedere restaurant. We are in our 60s and would not consider sailing on the Arcadia ever again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
ARCADIA J721 We have just returned from the Xmas and New Year cruise on Arcadia. On embarking we found a note saying that one of our excursions had been cancelled. We went to the excursions desk to see what else was available. The ... Read More
ARCADIA J721 We have just returned from the Xmas and New Year cruise on Arcadia. On embarking we found a note saying that one of our excursions had been cancelled. We went to the excursions desk to see what else was available. The man on the desk seemed to have upset the lady in front of us and when we spoke to him he was brusque to the point of being rude. We reported his attitude to Sandra on reception and next day we had a phone conversation with the excursions manager who apologised and said that was totally out of character. I thanked her for her response but said we would not take any other trips. Things were unfortunately to go downhill from this point. My wife had three outfits with her that she had worn for the weddings of our children and was keen to have photos taken on the formal nights. The lady who took the initial one, which was quite good, said the set of photos would be no problem and we paid £70 on our cruise card for a package of 10 pics. The second photo was a disaster ,washed out and not at all what we were expecting including one with her eyes closed at the dinner table. That one was not retaken. Looking at it the next day with the photographers they said they could tweak it to make the saturation better and clone out the crease in my lapel but we were not happy. We felt we were making a fuss. We went to reception to check if the payment had gone through and see if we could withdraw it. Sandra , one of the reception managers called the photographic manager and we went to the photo section. With Sandra doing most of the talking they talked us into giving them another chance with the photo manager saying they could do better. On Xmas night, in the chaos of the officers carol service blocking all three floors of the atrium, effectively cutting the ship in two, we met the photography manager and asked about the next portrait. She said go down to the lowest floor by the atrium and the photographer there would take it. We went down and joined the queue but twenty minutes later, as we were nearing the front he caused uproar by announcing, with his back to the queue, that he had to go to another venue and we would have to come back at nine o'clock. My wife who has brain damage due to two open craniotomies remonstrated with him to no avail and went off to look for the photography manager who we met on the stairs. She blanked us completely and we went straight to reception. My wife was complaining to them when we saw the photographer taking photos of the couples who were in front and behind us in the queue. They were the ones who were complaining the most. This was too much for her and I'm afraid she was rude to the reception staff demanding to see a manager. On being told that none were available she got even louder and they finally said someone would come. My wife was in tears by the time an officer , in his mess uniform, appeared. He immediately said "I am the hotel manager, I am not going to deal with this tonight you have been rude to my staff, it's their Christmas too, they are away from their families. I will deal with this tomorrow" My wife said she didn't think we were welcome on Arcadia and perhaps we should get off as soon as possible. The officer then said he could arrange for us to be disembarked in Antigua, turned and presumably went back to his Xmas dinner/party. We never did see or hear from him again. There was no xmas spirit for us that Christmas so we went back to the cabin where my wife spent a sleepless night worrying about how we were going to re-pack and find our way home from Antigua. All this trauma knocked my wife psychologically and she would not make eye contact with any officers after this and this triggered back her eating disorder, Dysphagia. She needed to visit the excellent medical centre for a swollen ankle so they have a complete copy of her previous medical history. I never did get the chance to tell the officer that I have worked many more Xmas days than he ever has. Three days later Sandra from reception phoned to ask if we were OK. I said no and she said did I want a meeting with the hotel manager or the photographic manager. I said no, I was on holiday and did not want to spend it traipsing round the ship to pointless meetings forcing my wife to relive the incidents. I told Sandra all I needed from her was the refund of my photography fee and I wanted nothing more to do with them. Unfortunately we had to pass through the photography department on a regular basis and at every formal night they were all over the passengers. On our last formal night our dinner was interrupted twice in 5 minutes by over eager snappers and my wife had to stop trying to eat to stop the onset of Dysphagia and the embarrassment that would have caused on our dinner table. While I have your attention. 1. Why no shuttle buses? Particularly in St Vincent and Barbados 2. Why did the whirlpool never work? Although you could pay £20 pppd for the one in the spa. 3. Why did no one check that the hand sanitiser was being used in the buffet? 4. On disembarkation we returned from breakfast at 0730hrs to find our cabin door wide open, the bedding stripped and no towels when washing our hands and our hand luggage containing iPads , cameras etc on full view. This seemed to be normal practice but very worrying as passengers were already leaving the ship carrying their own cases. 5. As requested we went to reception to book a time for disembarkation and later received a card with a completely different time, I give up. 6. The new sunbeds in the Neptune pool are unbelievably uncomfortable, did no one try them before purchase? 7. The standard of guest entertainers in the Palladium was was pretty poor, particularly while in the Caribbean. 8. The Xmas and New Years dinners were poor in choice and quality and the waiting staff seemed really stressed. As 9. The formal night "Marco menu" dinners were not well received on our table and on one memorable night 5 out of the 6 had the ever present steak and chips whilst the final member had salad. This must tell you something. 10. On the formal nights, most of which seemed pointless, there was nothing to do after the theatre except sit in the corridor bars as the only other venue,the Globe, was occupied by the strict tempo ballroom dancing, shufflers not welcome! This was evidenced by one unfortunate who was tapped on the shoulder during the "gay Gordon's " and told he was out of sequence. 11. The three x 5ft wide galley style laundrettes containing only 3 washing machines and three tumble driers are a joke. Quite dangerous as the doors at each end can strike whoever is standing within the area. This is also occupied by the ironing board and one of the only three irons on board(3 ?) at least one of which would not come up to temperature. 12. There is no drinks package except that approved by your wine "expert". Like the ballroom dancing, no deviation is allowed. We feel that all of the above is symptomatic of the decline in standards of service on P&O. It is no longer a restful holiday as you are pursued round the ship on a daily basis by people wanting you to spend money on photos, speciality restaurants,spas etc. Nothing is offered unless P&O are making money from it. It is highly unlikely that we will ever cruise with P&O again as it is quite clear we are no longer welcome on your ships,but your comments would still be welcome. We will go back to Fred Olsen where we can get far better, less pretentious food, drink packages and will be made to feel more welcome. Their ships may be older and less luxurious than yours but at least you feel they are pleased to have you on board and you are not just a piece of data to be processed through the system as on the Arcadia. Our Peninsular rating seems to have been frozen, presumably because we complained. UNLESS YOU HAVE A VISIBLE DISABILTY AVOID CARNIVAL. Read Less
Arcadia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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