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Sail Date: July 2005
The short summary is that we LOVED this new ship to the P&O fold and we loved the cruise around the Mediterranean, finding nothing major to highlight as areas P&O could focus on to make it better! The areas we wrote on the feedback ... Read More
The short summary is that we LOVED this new ship to the P&O fold and we loved the cruise around the Mediterranean, finding nothing major to highlight as areas P&O could focus on to make it better! The areas we wrote on the feedback form I will cover later in the review. We did find - however - that very regular P&O cruisers seemed almost eager to want to find things about the ship that they did not like. We found as we met people that they were constantly trying to compare it to other P&O ships, versus focusing on the merits or otherwise of the ARCADIA. That is probably a reflection of just how popular the other ships are! As when we pushed and asked exactly what do you not like, we almost always got the response "um, well, um, we can't quite put our finger on it, but it just isn't the same". Although surely if you want the same you go on the same ship? The 4 specific things people we spoke to did not like were things that (in my view) a bit of simple research before the cruise would have told people about, and are well covered in the brochure, the detailed P&O website (http://www.pocruises.co.uk) and the various P&O groups/chat rooms. These things were: 1) The ship wasn't "glitzy" enough. The P&O material sent out through the building of the ship and in the brochure/ website seems to talk and show how they were going for a more "British"/ under-stated / sophisticated look. 2) The atrium wasn't spectacular. It is (admittedly) only 3 decks high and very simple. People seem to feel that this was a missed opportunity and an important part of any ship that was missing. 3) The Crow's Nest is not that great. I agree. The one in AURORA, for example, with its tiered seating and layout creates a much better atmosphere and is a much better place to visit and spend time in. the one on ARCADIA is a bit sterile. 4) The ship was too big, and takes too long to walk from the back to the front.... We did, however, think the ship is fantastic. And would go back on it in a flash! The fact that it is an adult only ship was a big plus too, as we could get easy access to the pools at all times... The ship, in our view, itself is very tastefully done in muted colours and stylish contemporary fittings and furniture. It was not loud and brash anywhere, except the disco that was funky (although maybe a bit like a teen/ kids fun club). The ship overall is not brash and "Las Vegas" like. The overall look is fairly consistent through the ship, and there is a not a lot of difference in the various rooms. They have gone for consistency, rather than making every public area very different from each other. This is probably the thing some people missed from other ships. Here are some thoughts on some of the areas and rooms: Cabin. B059 Hong Kong Suite We were in this suite on B deck. It was fantastic. It is large (over 500 square feet including the expansive balcony). It has a great seating area with large sofa and chairs. There is a small dressing room, and bathroom with separate shower and "Jacuzzi" bath and 2 basins. The bed was very comfortable and huge - especially when together as they make a king size at least. It has a flat screen TV and DVD player, and piles of storage (we took loads of clothes and stuff and did not even use all the storage). It had butler service (which I still do not really understand!! Perhaps it is just that we don't use them enough as all he really did was bring canapes, our breakfast a few times and chatted to us!. Saying all the above, I am not sure the cost of a suite on the ship is worth it. I think a mini-suite would be very good indeed, and from what we saw the staterooms were a great size and had decent sized balconies. I will go for one of these 2 options next time Meridian Restaurant -- On 2 levels, at the back of the ship, it has an open and bright feel with lots of windows and very striking and unusual light fittings. The food was excellent, and service outstanding. The Palladium Theatre -- Wow! Over 3 levels this is huge. It is hard to remember that you are on a ship. The stage has all sorts of fancy features like in the West End. The shows ranged from a Cirque style show (which was VERY impressive), Andrew Lloyd Weber Best of, West End Favorites, Flashback Review of '60s - '90s. The cabaret was an old TV personality from the UK TV shows "Catchphrase" which was not our taste and a Violinist Showman who we did not go and see. Saying that, I thought the shows were better than we had seen on the QE2 in December by a long way! Decor -- Vivo--  A small coffee shop I used a fair bit as the filter coffee in the other areas was terrible! You pay for the coffee and you get muffin or sandwich etc., included. A pleasant enough area situated next to the Cyber lounge. It did not seem overall to be used that much. Belvedere -- Self Service -- We usually do not like the Lido style places on ships, but we liked this one. It was much better decor than the usual, something most people commented on. The seating runs along large windows on either side of the ship offering great views. It was very large with spread out counters all themed on different types of food, and open 24 hours. The layout meant much less queuing than in many Lido style places on ships we have been on so far. We used it much more than we have ever on other ships. Gym -- This is very large and overlooks the bow of the ship. Bright with wide range of machines and free weights. A good number of classes were on offer. Spa -- Very large but horribly over-priced with fairly inexperienced therapists. NOT worth the money. A lot of passengers agreed! This is a pity as they have given up a lot of space for the spa and it is just not good value for money at all. Cyber Room -- Good size and number of PCs. But as with many ships access was expensive. There was wireless access in most of the public rooms but not in the cabins (unfortunately). Arcadia Rhodes and Orchid Restaurants -- These are the 2 alternative dining options where you pay a surcharge. Both are lovely rooms. We went to the Gary Rhodes one. It was a nice evening - but to be honest the food in the main restaurant was so good and varied that we did not really think it worth the extra cost and so did not go back. It seemed to be fairly empty, although later in the cruise it did get busier we believe. Pools -- Very nice indeed! We used them a lot as the weather was very good. The areas that we suggested P&O think about in our feedback were: 1. Spa – this needs to be sorted out as it is too expensive and staff are not experienced enough for the prices. 2. Crows Nest – needs some work to turn it into a more pleasant and inviting space. 3. Casino – A great range of equipment and games. But the staff is all so miserable. Everywhere else the staff are cheery and helpful. Something is not right in the casino! 4. Filter Coffee – this is terrible! Get another brand please! 5. Wireless access – get it into the cabins. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Overall - Found the cruise to be suited to people in the more advanced years, this was reflected in the musical choice around the different areas, even the pub had a trio playing slow lounge almost background style music. The ship itself ... Read More
Overall - Found the cruise to be suited to people in the more advanced years, this was reflected in the musical choice around the different areas, even the pub had a trio playing slow lounge almost background style music. The ship itself was best described as low key and although fairly well decorated no area could be described as exciting or having a 'wow' factor. For a Christmas cruise the decorations were poor. We will look long and hard before we book with P&O again. Food - 1. Meridian restaurant - Good choice of meals offered but vegetables left something to be desired. Most evenings we were offered new potatoes and one evening I was offered carrots and sprouts with my fish! Wine choice good but both wine waiters and meal waiters were not up to scratch. Too many mistakes made with our wine and wrong choice of food being served. 2. Rhodes restaurant - Spent one evening there, food was good but again the waiters, although they tried very hard, not quite up to scratch. 3. Orchid - Promoted as 'Fusion' food. Spent an evening there not bad but I was expecting something better. The couple next to us asked if they could remove coconut from one of the desserts, they were told it was not possible, which left me thinking they were pre-prepared, not what we were expecting. 4. Belvedere - Self service - Good choice and kept clean and tidy. the layout means you have to travel a long way to see the choice and the drinks area needs improving as it is a bottleneck. Entertainment -As explained earlier, in general the music was suited to 65+. The Arcadian Theatre is the best I've seen and the production company were very good with varied shows. The 'special' acts brought in, two comedians and two singers, were again suited to the older section and not very good, many people left these shows before the end or even halfway through. Photography - Good selection and quite professional, however, like most cruises the cost of the photos and especially the re-prints were far too high. Bring the price down and everybody buys one! Trips - Too expensive for what you get. Most people I spoke to got the same if not better from locals and at less then half price! Flights - Watch out if you're booked on Thompson, everyone we spoke to from 3 different airports all had delays, and some didn't have any food. P&O really need to look at this, Thompson are fine for a low cost European flight but are totally not suited for long haul, spoilt the holiday and I would think they will still be reading the complaints for a while yet! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
Arcadia Review, Cruise J601 Simply Caribbean. Having just finished our first P&O cruise on Arcadia, after previously cruising on Coral & Island Princess, I offer the following comments and comparisons as our own personal views. ... Read More
Arcadia Review, Cruise J601 Simply Caribbean. Having just finished our first P&O cruise on Arcadia, after previously cruising on Coral & Island Princess, I offer the following comments and comparisons as our own personal views. I can now understand all those negative comments I had read about Arcadia, she is definitely far less glitzy than the Princess ships, and Oceana according to fellow passengers; and her lack of a proper Atrium is a big disappointment. The walkways through the main public decks seem far narrower and the area through the photo gallery gets very congested, probably because they have the photos displayed down both sides. In addition she only has one theatre, the Palladium which tends to limit the variety of shows, and even then its size is only just comparable with the smaller of the two Princess show lounges, and on exiting the Palladium on deck 3 you have to walk through either the casino or the Rising Sun pub. In fact the layout of both public decks was less than ideal, the shopping area creates another bottleneck, and I thought it pointless to have Intermezzo and the Spinnaker bar next to each other, especially as neither was ever full. On the plus side the cabins are bigger and the majority have a bath with shower over, which the ladies will probably prefer, but even here the wardrobe space is much less with limited fixed hangers, but your steward will provide extra wire hangers, the safes are tiny and shelf space is barely adequate, but our balcony on E deck was much bigger than we have had on Princess. One other strange quirk is that the bedroom reading lights are just above the pillows and if you want to sit up in bed and read then they are covered, not the best design feature I have ever seen. Contrary to other comments there are plenty of electric sockets above the dressing table, 5 in all, one UK, one European and 3 US, so if you take a couple of travel plugs and a 2/3 way UK adaptor he can charge his razor and camera battery whilst she uses the hairdryer and curling tongs, and still have plenty left over. As you would expect the food is first class and the restaurant dining service is friendly and attentive, however I did yearn for the ever present waiter topping up my water and breakfast coffee that comes as standard on American ships, but I did enjoy the genteel way in which my HP sauce was served. After a shaky start we also felt that the Belvedere, self service restaurant, was better than Princess. The seating is more comfortable and it is more spacious, and the choice of food was excellent, however its layout did take time to sink in, but by the end of the cruise you should know where everything is! Of the two alternative restaurants we preferred Arcadian Rhodes; the food in the Orchid was rather too bland for our tastes. In the Restaurant we were on 2nd sitting at 8:30 pm which we found rather late, most people on 1st sitting, 6:30 pm seemed to think it too early, on Princess we enjoyed the flexibility of anytime dining, maybe P&O could think about switching sittings half way through a cruise to give a better variety. We thought the Arcadia theatre troupe were excellent, we went to all the shows and only Bollywood Nights flopped, the rest were very enjoyable. We also enjoyed the variety acts with Martin Daniels probably our favourite, but all of them seemed to go down well with the British passengers whereas the American acts on Princess are not usually appreciated by British passengers. Unfortunately we did feel that the deck attendants were not as vigilant, used glasses and food plates were often left all day and very little attempt was made to keep the sunbathing decks tidy, until they were cleared away after sunset. We also felt that tightly packing the sun beds did not help in keeping the areas tidy since the first thing everyone did was to pull out one or two beds to make themselves a private space. Princess use small tables between every two or three sun beds and this provides enough privacy and avoids spare sun beds littering the rest of the deck. The cyb@centre is OK but pricey, and you cannot use Wanadoo webmail, so for Wanadoo users ensure you have a list of e-mail addresses with you and prepare to use Mail2web or similar, which is just as convenient but each logon is only specific to ONE e-mail account. What would be our overall rating for Arcadia, probably 7 or a weak 8, compared with a high 9 for Princess. Would we book an Arcadia cruise again, of course we would if the itinerary or price were right, after all despite any criticisms this is 5 star cruising and a wonderful way to spend a one or two week holiday being pampered and cosseted without a care in the world. One final point regarding the flights, I now have to agree with all the complainers that the seating is just too cramped, P&O should look at this and charter airlines that offer more space, even if the extra cost has to go on the price. However the direct flights from your local airport with the luggage going straight to your cabin and you going directly off the plane onto a coach cannot be bettered, this is a really big benefit compared with having to fly via Heathrow. 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
Sail Date: May 2006
I took a 17 night cruise on P&O's Arcadia, returning last month (Voyage To Venice). Despite having seen various negative reviews about the ship before I went, it was the best of the four cruises I've taken with P&O. ... Read More
I took a 17 night cruise on P&O's Arcadia, returning last month (Voyage To Venice). Despite having seen various negative reviews about the ship before I went, it was the best of the four cruises I've taken with P&O. I'm 36 and was definitely one of the youngest (but not the youngest... my partner is 34) on board. Initial disappointment about the mini-atrium soon gave way to delight about the rest of the ship, and esp. the NEW HORIZONS programme (£90 for as many classes as you like for 17 days). I took language lessons and Tai Chi (with the excellent Jon Wallwork) every day. Used the hydropool once (free with my New Horizons pass), which I thought was enough. There is a free steam room/sauna thing too near the larger pool and free gym facilities as well. Decor is very tasteful and I liked it a lot - but I'm not a SHOUTY type (Royal Caribbean? Yuck!) There's an excellent selection of art and some of the public rooms (the theatre, Orchid Bar and dining rooms for example) are quite lovely. My C deck balcony cabin was spotless, spacious and had the best balcony I've seen - nicer than those on Oceana and the old Adonia. LCD TV too and full size bath. Only lasting disappointment was with the limited golf facilities (no simulator and even the chipping competition was cancelled virtually every day on our cruise!) Some of the things that annoyed me about other P&O cruises have been sorted out (the art auctions are less intrusive, the photography better, the alt dining now worth the money). The food was excellent, both in the Meridian (we had table 142 on level 2 with the excellent Cajy as main waiter and Fabian as head waiter) and in the alt dinning. We had both lunch and dinner in each of the Arcadian Rhodes and Orchid and each experience was exquisite. The food in Arcadian Rhodes was best but the service was best in Orchid (it definitely pays to befriend the waitresses here - we got some extras!) In Arcadian Rhodes be sure to try the english sparkling wine they have on the menu (Chapel Down). It's a champagne method wine that really made me think again about the quality of English wines. I didn't use the buffet dining much but it seemed like the food was good if you don't want the ambience of the other dinning options. The shows were a mixed bag but the addition of some circus skilled performers has allowed all of the shows to be a little more than just song and dance, and enabled the high point - the Cirque D'Arcadia. There were excellent comedians on in the late evening on a couple of nights but the audiences were small, possibly because P&O kept warning the shows were "blue". They weren't, just modern comedy of the kind you get on BBC2 any night after 9pm. I'm on Oceana next, since it had an itinerary that fits a small gap I have in my schedule, but when I get round to planning a longer voyage I'll definitely look at Arcadia again. It's a BIG step in the right direction for P&O as far as I'm concerned. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2006
This was a cruise from Southampton to Eidfjord, Flam, Olden and Bergen with a day at sea on the first and last days. It was our second cruise with P&O, our previous one two years ago was on Oceana to the Canary Islands. Arcadia seems ... Read More
This was a cruise from Southampton to Eidfjord, Flam, Olden and Bergen with a day at sea on the first and last days. It was our second cruise with P&O, our previous one two years ago was on Oceana to the Canary Islands. Arcadia seems to have had some very mixed reviews from P&O regulars but we went with an open mind as we have so far enjoyed experiencing nine different cruise lines and eighteen ships. Arcadia was our second adults-only ship, the first being Saga Ruby earlier this year. Ruby's passengers probably averaged over 70 years of age and we decided after that we prefer a more mixed age group. Arcadia had a really good spread of ages from a group on the next table at dinner celebrating a 21st birthday, and many others in their 20's and upwards. We were in an OE grade inside cabin number B10 on Bermuda Deck number 7 and paid £770 each ($1,463 at 1.90). Plus Points: The dEcor of our cabin was beige walls with green furnishings and looked rather luxurious with its LCD flat screen TV. It was also one of the quietest cabins we have ever had. The public room dEcor primarily in beige, brown and other earth tones with 3,000 pieces of artwork and sculptures commissioned from British artists made for a very stylish ship in a contemporary way, somewhat similar to some of Celebrity's Millennium Class ships. With only 1,950 passengers on this 83,000-ton Vista Class ship it is very spacious and lots of windows make the public areas very light. Captain Steve B., the Cruise Director Neil O., and the officers and crew were happy, smiling, efficient and willing to oblige at all times. Our cabin stewardess was Bernadeth from the Philippines and our waiter Alberto and his assistant Joaquim were from India. The Belvedere buffet selection for breakfast and lunch was better than we had experienced on Oceana but still not up to the standard of US lines such as Celebrity and Holland America. We had some delightful companions on our first sitting dinner table. The choice of food at dinner was better on the first few nights than on the last few, just as we had found on Oceana. On three occasions my wife and I had the alternative option of steak and it was exceptionally tender. Salmon or chicken was also available every night. Overall quality was good rather than outstanding. The Lido pool has a retractable glass roof that is very useful if the weather isn't kind, however, the non-adjustable sun loungers around the pool were very uncomfortable. Those by the other pool and on the higher deck were adjustable. Some drink prices were lower than on US cruise lines. For example, Beringer White Zinfandel that was £18 ($34.20) on Legend of the Seas earlier this year was £15.75 ($29.92) on Arcadia. A glass of house wine is £2.55 ($4.85), half a litre carafe £7.15 ($13.58) and a litre carafe £14 ($26.60). A 330 ml can of coke was £1.10 (2.09), Whisky and Gin started at £ 2 ($3.80) the cocktail of the day was £2.50 ($4.75), draught beer £2.25 ($4.27), lager £1.85 ($3.51) and speciality coffees such as a Latte £1.45 ($2.75). These prices include gratuities, unlike US lines that add 15%. Moreover if you have sailed with P&O before and are a member of the Portunus Club you get 5% or more off all on board spend, reducing drinks prices even further. While we didn't use it, Internet pricing is quite low starting at 30 pence ($0.57) per minute for ad-hoc use reducing to 16 pence ($0.30) if you buy 100 minutes. Most public lounges are wireless access zones. The shows were of a good standard. The three production shows were Best of the West End, The Knights of Rock and Roll and Le Cirque Arcadia. Bobby Knutt was a very popular comedian who did two shows, and the other two shows were singer Carlo Paul Santana and illusionists, The Twins. The port presentations were excellent and not exclusively shopping talks as on many US cruise lines. Embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient. We embarked within 15 minutes of arriving at the check in desk line and were disembarked and in our car in the car park only 25 minutes after we were called at 8.35am. Minus Points: - So few they seem very minor: The three-level Atrium seems poorly decorated making it seem even smaller than it is. In particular a curtain blocks the view from one side of the piano bar to the other which is annoying when people enjoying the music quiz from the non-smoking starboard side of the ship can't see the pianist.. We felt that the other musicians on board were not very well balanced, and never found one to our tastes but that is a personal thing. The Ports: Eidfjord in Hardangerfjord was our first stop and the only one where we did a ships tour to the Sysen Dam and Voringsfoss Waterfall. We could not have done this on our own at anything like the same price as there are few taxis in these small places and they are very expensive. Next was Flam in Sognefjord. It is very easy to go on the Flam railway on your own as we did. A return ticket to Myrdal is 275 Norwegian Krone, about £25 ($47.50). The scenery from the train is outstanding but there is very little at Myrdal apart from the station. We had a leisurely coffee in the station cafe and a stroll in the meadows before catching the next train back to Flam. Flam has quite a few shops to explore but things are generally very expensive. Olden is in Nordfjord. There we enjoyed a walk into the village to explore the old local church dating from 1759, the shops and have a coffee. Bergen is very easy to do your own thing. We walked along the harbour to the historic Bryggen area then took a one-hour Trolley Train tour of the city for only 100 Kroner (about £9 or $17) each. It was right by the Fish Market, which we explored on our return and the Funicular is just up the street to get a fabulous view of the city from the top for only 70 Krone (about £6.50 or $12). In summary we had beautifully sunny weather all week and the scenery is fabulous. We enjoyed Arcadia and would happily sail on her again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Before the Cruise For the first time we flew down to Southampton. Normally we go by car but because we would be flying back from Barbados we decided to travel with Flybe. This part of the journey went very well with my wheelchair ... Read More
Before the Cruise For the first time we flew down to Southampton. Normally we go by car but because we would be flying back from Barbados we decided to travel with Flybe. This part of the journey went very well with my wheelchair assistance working well. The irritations came with the restrictions on what we could carry, but that is the same for everyone. We stayed for one night at the DeVere in Southampton, a good choice. We had an executive room with a large balcony looking directly towards The Mayflower Terminal with Oriana berthed, ready to sail at 17.00. The balcony also gave us excellent views of Oriana moving down the Hamble later in the afternoon. We dined at Ennios. Here we had excellent food and good service. However they were rather full that night and everything was not going well. Which, resulted in, not everyone having our good experience. The next morning after a late rise and a long breakfast we assembled in the hotel foyer waiting out taxi. There were about 10 fellow cruisers including June Sadler and her mam. We talked cruses and CC and everyone was full of anticipation. The taxi came and off we went. On arrival at the terminal the driver pulled up by one of the hatches and before he was paid the luggage had gone. We strolled into the terminal and joined the very small queue to the left for gold/premium passengers. Formalities completed quickly, including checking in my credit card, then we were through security and sitting waiting for the call. Embarkation was not as quick as it had been for some recent cruises although we had been told this slight delay by letter. We embarked just after 13.00 and were shown to Arcadian Rhodes where we were given afternoon tea with bucks fizz. Not a complaint but perhaps a change of menu for such an early embarkation would be in order. Then it was off to our cabin, sorry suite. Accommodation We had, as you may know, booked a mini-suite and then got the call with the offer of a suite for a small extra charge. So here we are with all the goodies champagne, chocolates, fruit, Moulton Brown toiletries, bathrobes, trouser press, iron and ironing board, large balcony and of course our butler. Satya was excellent and our enjoyment of the cruise was enhanced by his presence. He brought us canapEs at six when he also refreshed the ice bucket and brought fresh lemon slices for our G & T's, which he poured. We would then have a chat when he would ask us what else we would like. We could have had evening meals in the cabin, but we did not want this but we did have a number of breakfasts, English, which we found very decadent. We had our table in for a drinks party in the second week and Satya produced canapEs for all as well as nibbles. He also welcomed our guests and poured the drinks and made sure we were all settled. The drinks do turned out to be a celebration as Rachael and Andrew announced their engagement and so we had the bottle of champagne which was in our cabin. Jude our steward kept the cabin spotless and was very efficient whenever we required anything. The suite we had was B74, next to the lift, but we never felt any problem with being overlooked. In fact it was ideal for me, being next to the lifts, as I have problems in walking distance. If we ever go for a suite again we would have this one. Or one very close to it. Main restaurant We had a table for 8 on the second sitting in the lower part of the Meridian Restaurant. It was number 65. We had excellent companions, Pete and Cheryl from Guernsey, Barry and Linda from Birmingham, Rachael and Andrew from Whitley Bay. Rachael is a contributor to the CC site and Andrew lives not half a mile from us in Whitley Bay. How weird, what! As I said above Andrew did the romantic thing and popped the question on a Caribbean beach much to Rachael's surprise and delight. A ring was produced and the celebrations never stopped until the cruise ended. It was a pleasure to share this happy time with the pair of them. Mind you Rachael did spend most of the time flashing her third finger, left hand and saying Did you know we got engaged? The table was excellently served by Alberto and Kamlesh with the wine being delivered by Michelle. The food was excellent throughout with a good choice and a wide variety of Veg. They produced the P & O favourites in deserts of flaming cherries and Crepes Suzette also flaming. The formal dress code was very well observed with only one table of 4 where the men were following there own code. Happily they were in the corner out of the way. Tropical night was well observed with the whole dining room looking very colourful, our table in particular. On the 25th of October we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with champagne and cake and balloons and singing at the table. The Atlantic Crossing The cruise started in the usual way for us down on deck 3 for the sail away party. We were close to the glass lifts in our safety talk, in the piano bar on deck 3. So we did not take our life jackets back and went to get our place by the rail. When we got out we were first there and the champagne was not out yet, what a disaster!!!!! We had to wait 4 minutes for a drink. (I think I will write to P & O). The rest of the passengers seemed slow to appear but soon the place was buzzing and the champers flowing. A Jazz Band was giving it full blast down on the quay. We could have gone back to our cabin and watched from our huge balcony but we felt we would miss the atmosphere and excitement as we set sail, still one of the highlights of a cruise. As usual now, no streamers but we did get Union Flags to wave. The band played and we waved and cheered. As we slipped down the Hamble we had another round and took some pics of Southampton. The crowd started to disperse and we sat contentedly in our steamer chairs watching England disappear. The Captain spoke from above and welcomed us but did say we may have some lumpy weather on the way to the Azores. Eventually back to the cabin with the life jackets and as we had already unpacked we had another look around the ship. Then back to the cabin for canapEs and a G & T. For the first time we had some gin and cans of tonic in the cabin, usually we do not bother but when you have a butler to pour them for you welllll. On to dinner and get to know our dinner companions. Linda went off to the pictures to see The Devil Wears Prada with Meryl Streep, I go to the casino. This sets our usual precedent for our cruise. We often only see each other for meals especially on port days. The first day at sea, disaster the hard bed had given me a bad back. It took me until 10.30 to be able to move freely. Had breakfast in the cabin. We had the fruit from the fruit bowl. Then we went to the CC meeting at 11.00. The meeting was in the Viceroy room next to the crows nest. It was posted as an activity in Arcadia Today and a steward was in the room to take our drinks orders. I tried to get coffee for all but they said it would not be possible. We found out why. You cannot get coffee in the Crows Nest, they have no way of making it. Not good. Anyway I organized the meeting by contacting Arcadia during the previous cruise by Email and asking that the relevant person was contacted. It worked very well and 15 members attended the meeting. They were Bernard, Chris, JK and John, June, Paul, Ruth and Steve, Donald and Barry, Dai and Linda. Ok that only makes 12 but a couple and a lady turned up after reading it in Arcadia today and unfortunately we did not get there names before they slipped away I have got a photo which I will pass on to Mike Rack. The weather was, by this time quite windy and there was some movement of the ship. Certainly enough to separate the sailors from the others. For most of the day we were steaming into a force 9. I blame the driver, as I am sure he could have avoided all those potholes. That evening there were a number of empty places for dinner. So the pattern was set as we made our way down to the Azores. The captain's party was in the Neptune Bar around the pool with the roof on. I must say I am not keen as it seemed very crowded and there were not many seats. The bad weather continued until after the Azores, although not force 9, still uncomfortable for a few, especially first timers. Now I know that we all have free choice and that it would not be in a cruise lines best interest but the consensus on board was that this was not a good cruise for first time cruisers. Eight days across the Atlantic in October with only half a day of respite in the Azores may be ideal for some i.e. me. For a number of people it was less than perfect. As the seas did not relent after Ponta Delgarda there were a number on unhappy cruisers most, if not all, first timers. For the rest of us the cruise was great with a good atmosphere developing the shows were good and there were many good reports of the guest lectures. As noted above we had a great time on the 25th the day after the Azores for our 30th. It started with a full English breakfast served in our suite by Satya and finished with the full works at the dinner table. Champagne, cake, balloons and the choir singing. Great fun. Alternate Dining Satya our butler had made our alternate dining arrangements for us in the Arcadian Rhodes and the Orchid. What wonderful additions these two venues are to the P & O cruising experience. We could not fault the service or food at either one. I particularly enjoyed AR because as well as excellent taste and wonderful presentation you actually got plenty to eat. As we were sitting in Intermezzo, Ruth came along and gave me a tip about how to avoid my bad back. I had not left the cabin all day and had only just made it to AR . What a wonderful girl. I tried it that night and the next morning, no pain. That evening in the Meridian I gave her a big kiss as a thank you. On Friday we went to the Orchid with Ruth and Steve and had an excellent meal preceded by a drink in the small but very good Orchid bar. Entertainment Now I cannot say much about the entertainment as I did not go. This is because I wished to avoid the bruising on my side I have suffered previously. This comes from Linda's elbow as she repeatedly digs me in the ribs to wake me up as I doze after a good dinner and wine. I am told that all the show were excellent and well attended and I know that there was never a mass early leaving as I was in he Casino just outside the theatre door. Throughout the ship on most evenings there was a variety of live music, a steel band, a big band a group and some classical. In the pub, The Rising Sun there was of course Karaoke. Luckily there were some excellent singers on board so it was not too bad. I have left the disco Electra till last as this is were Linda spent a lot of time and even I spent a good deal of time. DJ Steve recently from Oriana did a sterling job and played the songs that those who were there wanted. I must say that this is one of the main plus points of the adult ship environment for us, having the disco for adults and listening to music we enjoyed. On Aurora in the past the disco has been taken over by a much younger element and the music played has reflected this. Activities Daytime As most of you know these are far to many to mention. I did observe however that the entertainment staff all were enthusiastic and that there were activities going on all the time, with many sail away parties etc. Linda attended many of the lectures given on the cruise, particularly by Diane Simpson, who by all accounts kept a large audience enthralled over a series of 5 or 6 talks. Certainly it provoked discussion in other areas of the ship for the rest of the day. Magie Philbin from Swapshop and Tomorrows World was also on board and Linda went to her talks and enjoyed them immensely I went to some talks on Computers and from the New Horizons program a 2 part workshop on digital imaging. It was very good I also had a four session package in the Hydro-therapy pool and steam rooms. I started them at the time of my bad back and it was wonderful on the warm tile beds in the steam rooms area. However a couple of points, the dressing gowns, one size, were designed for Ronnie Corbett. They were an absolute joke. Secondly the tiles in the pool area were not suitable for the area. They were very slippery when wet and of course they get wet. They looked nice but were not pool tiles. My other daytime activity was the Dai Bryson sit and drink coffee and do your Sudoku class This was well attended with 100% attendance most of the time. Sometimes the class participant was known to drop off. These classes took place in the piano bar and in Cafe Vivo, were the participants could also get goodies to eat. I must say that Cafe Vivo is not well designed for a cruise ship with those stools which were rarely used and the couches which were used but were in short supply. Second part to come. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2006
We travelled on the new (2005)child-free Arcadia from Southampton down to Lisbon calling at Vigo,La Rochelle and Brest. The embarkation,as with all P&O cruises was smooth and very rapid and with the minimum of fuss. THE SHIP; As has ... Read More
We travelled on the new (2005)child-free Arcadia from Southampton down to Lisbon calling at Vigo,La Rochelle and Brest. The embarkation,as with all P&O cruises was smooth and very rapid and with the minimum of fuss. THE SHIP; As has been mentioned before,Arcadia is less spectacularly appointed than other ships in the fleet and has a more modern and contemporary feel to the decor. However we liked the muted colors of sage,cream and taupe which runs throughout the ship and also into the cabins,creating a calm and soothing atmosphere. We had a balcony cabin at the stern of the ship on deck 8 (Australia}with a vast balcony well able to entertain a dozen or more people! The cabin was of an average size for a stateroom,although the doorway was very narrow and a certain amount of juggling had to be done with the bathroom door and wardrobe doors which were directly opposite each other. There were no drawers in the cabin just two large ones in the base of the sofa. The wardrobe was very dark -an interior light might have illuminated the Stygian gloom! However,these cabins are invariably designed by men who have no concept of how to struggle into a ballgown in a 3ft space whilst trying to find one's evening sandal at the back of a wardrobe by touch alone! FOOD; The main formal restaurant,The Meridian had reasonably good food,which tended to arrive tepid. There were also 2 additional restaurants on board-Gary Rhodes and the Orchid which served Asian food. There was a cover charge for both venues and they were excellent,but book early on the cruise as there is great demand for tables. ENTERTAINMENT; We are not huge fans of cruise type shows,but if you like old comics,a few hoofers and lots of dry ice,you will not be disappointed! We also had twin illusionists "THE TWINS" who were doubly awful. The usual teeth whitening seminars and TANZANITE-mysterious gem of Africa enlivened sea days,along with those impossibly dreadful art auctions selling daubs by bad artists to punters who have no idea what they are purchasing! The one entertainer we did enjoy was a very talented guitarist who played in solitary splendor in The Crows Nest Bar to a small select band of us who were prepared to go up to the eleventh deck! PORTS OF CALL: All were fine,but we couldn't dock at Brest due to a force 8 gale and so benefited from another sea day of line dancing teeth whitening seminars and Snowball bingo! Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2007
We had a wonderful time aboard Arcadia. The flight from Manchester was on time at 8 a.m. and we were on the ship at 2 p.m. This is definitely the best place and line to cruise with, straight through passport control onto busses and then to ... Read More
We had a wonderful time aboard Arcadia. The flight from Manchester was on time at 8 a.m. and we were on the ship at 2 p.m. This is definitely the best place and line to cruise with, straight through passport control onto busses and then to the ship. SO unlike going through US. Our luggage arrived at about 6.30 in time for dinner. First night dinner was free seating as later flights were still arriving. Meal not too great but OK. The only problem we had with dinner was getting our table changed as we had been put on a table for 4 and wanted a larger table. Took 2 nights and a certain amount of irritation to get changed, but then fine. We had lovely waiters, Amit and Alex, and the wine waiter Ernesto was really efficient and very pleasant. Often on ships the wine waiters are overworked, or just slow, although as Americans on the whole don't seem to drink as much wine with dinner as Europeans perhaps it is just a culture thing! The food was the best I've had on a ship, always arrived hot and the vegetables were wonderful, great variety and delicious sauces. Had steak a couple of times, which again were cooked perfectly. Great variety at breakfast and the lunch display was good. The cabins were spacious as far as ship's cabins can be! No drawers, which was rather irritating. Decor was fine, quite light, and the balcony had really comfortable wooden recliners. On the whole I don't like ship's entertainment, so this was no better or worse than RCCL, Celebrity, HAL or Princess. As they have captive audiences as opposed to paying customers I always feel they are second rate. Went to 4 shows (under sufferance), Roy Walker comic (Catchphrase) was amusing and professional, so went to see him twice, one other comedian/singer who I didn't like at all, and one acrobatic show which was OK. Didn't go on any ship excursions as we do our own thing. Getting on the tenders in Meyreaux was well organized and despite a big swell everything went well. Was much better organized than RCCL last year when it took over 2 hours to get off the ship in Grand Cayman! On getting on and off the ship there were hand gels to use, plus outside the Belvedere restaurant there was not only gel dispensers but also stewards with dispensers always there to make sure you were 'gelled'. The islands were all fine. We particularly liked St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Tortola and St. Vincent. Meyreaux was lovely, just one long beach with quite large waves which took some people unawares. The only sad thing was that we expected there to be a barbeque, or food, on the beach but this never appeared, although the waiters were there to provide drinks. The last day in Barbados was very pleasant. Unlike other lines where they expect you to get off as quickly as possible, on Arcadia although we had to leave the cabin by 9 a.m. we were then allowed virtually free run of the ship. We had breakfast, sunbathed, showered (in lovely showers in the Spa) had lunch and left the ship at 4 p.m. for our 7 p.m. flight to Manchester, which luckily left on time. This is DEFINITELY the best cruise I've been on (other than the last time we went on the old Arcadia) with regard to transfers. The bars on the ship leave a little to be desired if you like any atmosphere, but then many other new ships are the same. The Crows Nest seemed to be empty until after dinner, didn't like the 'pub' bar and the usual ghastly Karaoke. The dance instructors had no enthusiasm at all, looked bored most of the time and had absolutely no talent for getting anything going. We made some friends who loved dancing and found it really frustrating that there was so little atmosphere and fun. The nightclub was better and had a good DJ. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2007
Flight from Manchester 40min late departing but managed to arrive on time. We had premium seating which was much better than the last time we travelled charter flights, but not as spacious as the schedule flight to New York on BA we took ... Read More
Flight from Manchester 40min late departing but managed to arrive on time. We had premium seating which was much better than the last time we travelled charter flights, but not as spacious as the schedule flight to New York on BA we took last year. Premium seating meant we were first off the plane and onto the waiting coaches. We were the first coach to arrive at the ship so no Caribbean music to greet us. As we were first on ship we chatted with passengers waiting for their flights so had an idea we were in for a good time, and were not disappointed. We were so early on the ship our cabin wasn't quite ready so, although tired, we wandered around the ship for a couple of hours. On our way back to the cabin we noticed our baggage outside the lifts and asked if it was ok if we took it to the cabins ourselves. We were unpacked by 4.30pm and eagerly awaiting evening meal, well ready for it after arriving at Manchester airport at 5am and only having inflight meals. Cabin was excellent, the best we have had, spacious balcony with good quality chairs. Lots of cupboard space and well planned wardrobes, mirrors everywhere. Bathroom good size with shower above bath. Bed a little strange though. We opted for a double bed, the twin beds were linked which was fine but we still had single duvets, very strange. Arcadia was very clean but a little tired considering it is less than 2 years old. Decor pleasant but not extravagant, Meridian Restaurant very pleasant. Food excellent as usual with P&O, good choice, did not eat in Gary Rhodes or Orchid Restaurant, no need. Belvedere buffet was excellent, good choice, comfortable, waiter to squirt the necessary disinfectant on entry. P&O seem to be penny pinching and drink prices vary according to whereabouts on the ship you are. Shows were very disappointing, thank goodness for Roy Walker, a true professional. Three out of the four singers in the Arcadia troupe were out of tune. Missed a stop at Mayreau due to high swell, tropical rain storm in Cozumel meant we had to cancel our trip into the jungle, very disappointing, it looked really good. Went on about 3 organized trips, Costa Maya beach trip was really enjoyable but confusing regarding the time we had to leave the beach. First time we were given was 3pm, we arrived at 10am, then we were told the coach would be leaving at 1.00pm, then another announcement stated another coach had been negotiated for 1.30pm and this would be the last coach, then miraculously another coach appeared at 2pm, but by then we had changed out of our swimwear and were on the 1.30 coach ready to go back to the ship. At Grand Cayman did the semi-sub trip, it was excellent, being a non swimmer that is the nearest I am likely to get to swimming with the fish. Curacao is the best stop on the cruise, we like it better each time we go there. Nightmare in New Orleans, had to register with immigration day prior to disembarkation. Some passengers queued for over 1 hour to get their passport and documents checked. This made the excursions late leaving which meant they hurried them up to get us back to the ship at the stated time. I do not know why though, we were staying overnight in New Orleans. Great place, lots to see, start of the Mardi Gras carnivals when we arrived. Unfortunately supposedly due to the snow in UK our flight was delayed by 5 hours, which meant we had to stay on the ship another 5 hours, we left the ship at 8pm and flew at 1am, which threw all our homecoming plans out of the window as we were due to drive home to the Highlands of Scotland on the Saturday, we had to stay overnight at our daughter's in Doncaster and eventually arrived home Sunday at 6pm. That was the bad bit of the holiday. Would definitely do P&O again but only if they upgraded the size of the seats for the flights. 8 hours is too long to be sat with yours knees up to your chin. I have emailed them regarding this but have had no response! 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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