Arcadia Cruise Review by AdeAfloat
- Sail Date: October 2018
- Destination: Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom with Balcony and Bath/Shower
The ship was a year out of refit and was in good order. We didn't really like the new seating in the Intermezzo bar as most of the comfy seating had been replaced by chairs but no doubt this practice helps accommodate the ever-increasing passenger numbers that cruise companies shoe-horn onto their vessels. Our cabin was clean and comfortable and our steward Christopher was a real gem. Always friendly, willing to meet our every request - and always had our cabin cleaned by the time we returned from breakfast. We noticed a couple of changes in the catering. At lunchtime in the Meridian restaurant the delicious curries no longer made a daily appearance sadly, particularly as P&O say they are so proud of the curry tradition on aboard their ships. More strange was the appearance of sharing plates. These don't really work if you are seated on one of the many tables for 6/8 as you may well be a fair distance from your partner! 'Company policy'. But the ever obliging crew always made a sharing plate available for one.
The other issue we had was that P&O now require their Entertainment Managers to move the time of activities on a daily basis - 'to be fair to everyone'. But no-one has ever been able to do everything they want aboard and changing the times around merely frustrated everyone wanting to get into a pattern of speakers, deck games, choir and quizzes. However full marks to EM Alex Percival (also on his first cruise 'in command') - when I commented on the 'How are Doing?' survey early in the cruise, he called me up and we met for a talk about it. The changes were 'Company policy' again.
But these are minor gripes about the constant change that is inevitable in any business and the positives far outweighed the negatives. The Headliners were just finishing their time aboard and were one of the best we've seen. Their new show 'Mr Tinkerton's Clockwork Circus' was a triumph. P&O are really moving their show offering up a gear. And good to see the team helping out with activities round the ship on a daily basis. The weather may have been poor in the North Atlantic but the benefit of Carnival's central control system really helped. Yes, by having to take a northerly track across the Pond to avoid the weather we didn't get much sun but it was very much the lesser of two evils. The weather in the Caribbean was a bit damp at times (it was the tail end of the hurricane season after all) but the Captain invariably got his daily forecast right so it helped in planning the day. He did get it wrong once, in St Maarten when we met him walking ashore just before a tropical shower hit the ship - lucky he wasn't in uniform! Luckily we avoided a storm on the way home and had to substitute La Coruna for Praia Da Vitoria in the Azores - a much better option in our opinion.
The popularity of this type of longer cruise inevitably attracts an older crowd. We were told that the average age was 71 (hopefully not including the crew!) and it was a sad fact that we had an unusually large number of medical issues requiring the Captain to divert and alter the schedule to meet these urgent issues. Some good decisions, which incidentally showed that Arcadia can still lift her coat tails and exceed 24 knots when required - to the detriment of the Chief Engineer's credit card no doubt!
On a personal basis we enjoyed the Scenic Sailaway from St Lucia. Thankfully these are not widely advertised aboard nowadays as they are so popular - and excellent value at the price. A group of about 40 enjoyed excellent canapés and unlimited drinks in East Bar as we sailed out on a lovely evening. We made friends in our quiz team with a couple whose daughter was getting married aboard and we were delighted to be involved. A lovely family. One grouse we've had in the past was that the higher levels of the Peninsular Club have their lunches very early in the cruise. We were invited three days out! However it was no problem changing to join those later in the cruise and the ship is also always happy to accommodate requests for particular table hosts which makes the event even more memorable. By then we had got to know most of the wine waiters through the excellent wine tastings and getting a little extra to drink at all the events was a bonus!
So a leisurely and entertaining cruise when ticked all the boxes for us.
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