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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Our Voyage took us from Istanbul to Cape Town - 93 days of exploring exotic ports. The ports were very good but the ship was a zero !! Very noisy in every location; especially on the outside decks as the engine noise is not muffled. It is ... Read More
Our Voyage took us from Istanbul to Cape Town - 93 days of exploring exotic ports. The ports were very good but the ship was a zero !! Very noisy in every location; especially on the outside decks as the engine noise is not muffled. It is very difficult to have a conversation on the top deck or by the pool. The ship has a LOT of movement and doesn't handle the ocean very well. It is an OLD SHIP to begin with, and should not be sold as a luxury cruise ship at the current prices.It was built in 1989, and definitely shows its age. The ship has been "modernized", but the flow is very difficult as one has to walk through the main lounge to get to other venues; the ship is built like a railroad car, so you have to navigate through each room to get to the next. And if one room has a lecture or is occupied, one has to walk through the audience to get the next room.The room phone will not take messages .... you have to walk through the corridor to to your selected room and leave a note on the door to get a call back.The WiFi is not only SLOW, it is almost useless. Very difficult if not impossible to connect ones computer to the system ..... and then it drops off as you type an email.I have talked to the TI staff, and was told he has asked the UK office to upgrade this system for the past two years and nothing has been done; it must be a money thing ..... but they are not embarrassed to up the prices on shore excursions or anything the ship sells, including the price to book. The food is not outstanding .... more standard coffee shop variety ( Woolworth in the UK or Denny's in the USA). Service and the staff are excellent ... no complaints; however, their mantra when you order an menu item is "excellent choice" .... one get a little tired of hearing that three or four meals a day.The library books are from 1998 to 2008 .... must have been transferred from the MV Discovery ... get real... this is 2015. The life vests are dated 1999 and were last inspected at that time ..... does this seem correct for a cruise in 2015 ?? There is NO specialty dining room; that space has been converted to normal dining room service. The lunch at the Veranda buffet is the same as the dining room, and the variety doesn't change from day to day ... ditto for dinner. The ice cream that is served in the afternoon, after lunch, is always runny ... not hard ... as they do not have proper refrigeration on the outside deck where the ice cream is served. There is NO food service after they close the dining room or Veranda (buffet) areas. Once it is closed, you have to wait until the next regular meal time for snacks or any food ( except room service... which is limited). If you are an INDEPENDENT passenger, and do not purchase any shore excursions from the ship, you will be "stuck", and they make no attempt to assist independent passengers ..... you are entirely on your own .... even in port ..... when you are in a closed port, with no transportation, good luck trying to get to town !! The Brits love this ship as they enjoy being away from the UK ( weather). BUT, if you enjoy social activities, and want good shows, good entertainment, good stimulating lectures, etc .... look else where. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
A message was sent by email the day before we were to embark on our cruise. We were already in Vancouver and did not receive this email until after the cruise. Even if we had received this message, it would have been expensive and ... Read More
A message was sent by email the day before we were to embark on our cruise. We were already in Vancouver and did not receive this email until after the cruise. Even if we had received this message, it would have been expensive and stressful to change our flights. Holland America did not offer any refunds or assistance in making alternate plans. IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION: Please be advised that we have been experiencing a heightened level of Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) on the ms Volendam. Therefore, the ship will follow a special cleaning and sanitizing protocol developed in conjunction with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prior to our departure from Vancouver, Canada, on September 17, 2014. Consequently, embarkation will begin at approximately 1:00pm for a 4:00pm departure. Our guests are encouraged to delay their arrival at the pier until 1:00pm, as there is limited seating at the Vancouver facility. We regret any inconvenience this may cause. Holland America's Volendam cruise ship is obsolete, dirty and diseased. Check on the age of the ship before you book a cruise. Take a cab to and from the airport. The cab would have been cheaper and faster than the big bus with passengers coughing and sneezing during the long slow ride from the ship to the airport. I rarely get sick but I came home with a painful deep cough and sore throat. We were handed a piece of paper while boarding informing us of an intestinal virus onboard. Too late to cancel. They had been having this problem for weeks. We would return from shore excursions to see people with rubber suits and what looked like gas masks working to sanitize a stateroom as we walked down the passageway. Not exactly reassuring. We were led to believe that this was a temporary problem but it persisted for the whole cruise. The ship desperately needed repairs and upgrades including: newer TVs (ours had a blurry picture), gym equipment (parts were missing). Age appropriate music in the gym would have been nice (this was not the hip hop or rap demographic). The fitness staff was uneducated staff. There were rude employees everywhere. They were broken toilets in the common areas. Older passengers who move slower were having trouble finding a working restroom. We were not allowed to borrow DVDs and books or serve ourselves at the buffet because of the virus. The servers at the buffet did not understand English very well so it was impossible to get your food the way you wanted it. They dumped buckets of dressing on the salads. Everything was over cooked. Most of the time the food was not hot enough, vegetables were limp and fish was dry.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2013
Assuredly a very damning summary - but we disembarked from Arcadia on the completion of this voyage very disappointed at what we had endured for so long. We are not new to cruising, nor are we new to Grand Voyages - but this was our first ... Read More
Assuredly a very damning summary - but we disembarked from Arcadia on the completion of this voyage very disappointed at what we had endured for so long. We are not new to cruising, nor are we new to Grand Voyages - but this was our first experience of Arcadia and of P&O -and it will certainly be our last. Anyone who has booked, or is contemplating booking a 'Grand Voyage' cruise on P&O's Arcadia should very seriously think again. The Cruise : The first half of the cruise from Southampton to Sydney was a nightmare - by the time the ship reached Sydney the morale of the passengers was such that as well as the 600 plus Australian passengers who were desperately glad to be disembarking, the vast majority of those remaining on board would have joined them if they possibly could. Particular details of all that went wrong can be gleaned from the vast number of adverse reviews and comments already on the Internet relating to how passengers on the Arcadia were treated on this voyage. In short, no-one likes feeling that they have been duped, cheated, short changed, commercially exploited and are being treated with dismissive contempt. Moreover, the dismissive contempt continued once back on dry land. Communications with P&O regarding their gross negligence in NOT complying with their own 'Booking Conditions' were replied to 'cut and paste' responses consisting of sequences of platitudes and gibberish totally unrelated to the issues raised IF P&O had fulfilled its contractual obligations and the ship's management had treated passengers as if they were on a Cruise Liner rather than as interlopers on a Cargo Vessel - would we have enjoyed the cruise ? - Definitely not - and here are some of the reasons why : The 'Grand Voyage' : The Arcadia carries well over 2000 passengers - and at any one time 75-80% are on board for only one or occasionally two sectors of the 'Grand Voyage' Arcadia is one of the newer breed of 'Vegas' resort ships designed to provide the mass market with relatively short 'fun' cruises with lots of alcohol,gambling, mindless loud music and very dim lighting in all public areas from 1800hrs onwards, holiday camp/end of pier quality entertainment and singalongs coupled with the provision to gorge for 24hrs a day on mass produced,low quality meals typical of a works canteen or supermarket cafeteria. The so called 'Grand Voyage' was nothing more than four such 'fun' cruises (sectors) strung together. When the first sector was complete everything (menus, entertainment, lecture topics, films etc - even the errors and mis-spellings in the daily entertainment guide were for the most part repeated on each following sector. The 'Ship' ; Consistent with the 'resort ship' model large areas of Arcadia are devoted to revenue generating activities in contrast to the minimal space afforded to non-revenue services addressing the interests and comfort of passengers. eg: the small library with cramped seating for 10, the 30 seat 'cinema' and the ridiculous laundries are 'not fit for purpose'. In contrast the casino,totally unoccupied for most of the day has an enormous floor area housing four card tables, two roulette tables and 65 slot machines and boasts a seating capacity for 112 passengers. Public toilets are small in both space and number, are often 'out of order' and very basically equipped. The buffet restaurant has the ambiance of a motorway cafe with formica topped tables,unset for breakfast and lunch - pick up a tray,plate and cutlery, join the long queue to choose your food and then search for a seat !! Again consistent with the 'resort ship' model all vestiges of past elegance and refinement associated with cruising - particularly on Cunard - and to a lesser extent on P&O - have disappeared from Arcadia and been replaced with pretentious nonsense which fools but few. The most glaring examples relate to evening dining in the main restaurant: To gain access one must adhere to the ship's 'dress codes' - Problems occur when the dress code is 'Smart' - interpreted by P&O as meaning 'gentlemen must wear a jacket' - Hence, males wandering around the decks in trainers, baggy trousers and T-shirts can grab a jacket and gain access unchallenged whilst gentlemen elegantly dressed for dinner in tailored trousers,smart shirt and tie are refused entry! Upon gaining entry you will be presented with a menu adorned with dishes described in mouth-watering language with lots of 'juz' and 'drizzles' which bear little relation to what eventually appears from the kitchen. Set plates are augmented by 'silver service' - consisting of never more than potatoes cooked in a different style from those already on the set plate plus one other,usually overcooked and tepid vegetable. On the topic of food, apart from the general low quality of what is provided in the 'set menu' restaurant, prospective passengers should be aware that many items- particularly fruit, salads and cold meats and seafood - displayed in the 'buffet restaurant' are often well past their 'sell by' date - photographs of heaps of sweating, rotten bananas, pears etc are available on request. Also on view in the buffet from 3.00am onward would be tray after tray of pre-cooked fried eggs left to rubberise until being reheated when the restaurant opens!!! I could go on and on but .....!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
Findings from the 2011 World Tour maiden voyage of the Queen ElizabethFood and drink: Did not eat a piece of fruit that was ripe and ready when it looked like it was rotting. Vegetables were never done and very little so ask for more was ... Read More
Findings from the 2011 World Tour maiden voyage of the Queen ElizabethFood and drink: Did not eat a piece of fruit that was ripe and ready when it looked like it was rotting. Vegetables were never done and very little so ask for more was not an option if it is not done. Lots of lamb and poultry like duck and guinea fowl. Tasty meat was a few times. Coffee was one day too weak and too strong the other day. Really good but a few times. And endive salad was just lettuce with very few ingredients. Potatoes were not cooked and was therefore mostly rice. Quality food absolutely no 5 *. Only the Veranda restaurant, met the 5 * (super).Operation: Waiters fought a lot among themselves and were only controlled by their superiors. Mostly lazy and uninterested staff and often to clear the table mid-meal. In short, they do not know their stuff.Entertainment: In a world cruise repetitions and often shows for kids like morons, or a juggler or magician. There were beautiful costumes but we have seen them only 2 times. The theater was seldom full and people rarely walked quickly away. The sound of the orchestra was often more important and thus harder than the performing artist as a harpist and singer. Shortly, quality was very poor.Accommodation: The air conditioning was sometimes off and sometimes in some places it was 15 degrees and often in the restaurant almost 30 degrees. The coffee machines have been broken for days and a cup of cappuccino could not be donated. The TV has two British and two American stations but only one sports channel in the air for three weeks. Furthermore you missed all the sport.Dress Code: Lots formally a malfunctioning air conditioning does not contribute to a nice meal. Always one to suit what's wrong with a nice shirt or a polo.Passengers: On board Russians and Muslims in their own way travel experience. This is very different from the other passengers. Many children on board which is not helping to create a pleasant cruise.Information: Every day there will be a newspaper (daily program) that cut and paste is put together and full of errors. Furthermore, we did not enter Aruba and Bali but it is canceled for some unknown reason why we never communicated. This seems to be normal. Daily also published a newspaper in your own language, but you have to ask 4 times before this is settled. Furthermore, also in English (especially the cruise director) is not known that other countries in the world than England.Disembark: Upon arrival at Southampton, I had to first pick up the car. Asked when leaving the ship on 3 persons of security or should I return after the car was retrieved. No problem if you show the boarding pass but there is no problem. After all, you paid for these days and this date is also mentioned. Showing you never come back on board and after information from four individuals showed that this was impossible. So the telephone to call the ship and asked if anyone wanted to empty my cabin (there were 3 bags) it lasted a whole 2.5 hours and the result that the train to France that was made was not reached. It costs nearly 100 euros over again.Summary: The Queen Elizabeth is a 5 star ship and the whole earn less than 4 stars it was also evident in the evenings where a retirement home just after eleven which was 95% in bed Read Less

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