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Cruise Ratings
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I have just returned from 4 nights on Arcadia, Auckland, Bay of Islands, Sydney, part of her round-the-Pacific-and the Americas jaunt from the UK. I had a balcony cabin A13 - on Australia Deck. Very nice. Spacious, light, tea and ... Read More
I have just returned from 4 nights on Arcadia, Auckland, Bay of Islands, Sydney, part of her round-the-Pacific-and the Americas jaunt from the UK. I had a balcony cabin A13 - on Australia Deck. Very nice. Spacious, light, tea and coffee making facilities, comfy bed, wonderful room attendant, could not fault it - or perhaps one thing, the print in the picture frame on the wall had slipped in the frame. Nice print - alas badly framed. Irritating. The crew were all very friendly and seemed to be relaxed and enjoying their jobs. Kid free ship with mainly older passengers so nothing was a hassle. I even used the pool. The public rooms were sedate, quiet and very relaxing. I never heard one whinge the whole time I was on board. I thoroughly enjoyed the food and drinks and the drip coffee in the Belvedere was probably the best coffee I have had on any cruise ship. I did not try the specialty restaurants The weather was mostly good. The TV had a great range of programmes and the pool areas were not be blasted with loud offensive music all day. After a recent disaster cruise with P&O Australia this four days of bliss with P&O UK was just what I needed to reaffirm my commitment to holidays at sea with that wonderful old company. What a difference a dark blue funnel can make eh ? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Background: • Aurora was on a world cruise and we took up an offer made by P & O for this sector. • It was our first experience cruising with P & O Cruises (UK) • In the last five years we have cruised with Cunard ... Read More
Background: • Aurora was on a world cruise and we took up an offer made by P & O for this sector. • It was our first experience cruising with P & O Cruises (UK) • In the last five years we have cruised with Cunard (Queen Victoria – twice - and Queen Elizabeth, once); NCL (Pride of America); Oceania Cruises (Regatta); and Princess Cruises (Ocean Princess) Our commentary represents our honest assessment of the cruise based on our past experiences and expectations. __________________________________________________ Boarding Once we reached the check-in desk the process was prompt and efficient. However, progress through the queue was slow, taking over half an hour. Safety briefing This is potentially the most serious issue – we were not advised by any means (ie printed notice, pa announcement etc) of any safety briefing prior to the ship leaving Auckland. We do not know whether or not one was held, and if it was there was no follow-up as to why we did not attend. Our cabin • We had requested twin-bed configuration and this was confirmed by P & O in our travel personaliser on the website. However the cabin was configured as a Queen. It was (eventually) remade by the attendant. The room was somewhat smaller than we had expected. • There were no wine glasses provided (despite P & O making it very clear that passengers were welcome to take a modest quantity of their own wine on board) We did get glasses on request. • There were no cards for ordering room service breakfast (provided later after we asked for them) • No bath robes provided – we were advised by the attendant that they never are. This was the first time we have ever experienced this across several cruise lines. • We were disappointed with the small size of the balcony and the fact it was partially enclosed. Of more serious concern was the poor state of the paintwork around parts of the balcony which showed extensive rust staining. It seems hard to believe the ship recently had a £22 million “makeover”. • A tray of sweets provided was clearly quite old – some of the wrappers had come undone and a number of the sweets were stuck together. The tray itself appeared not to have been cleaned for a considerable time. On a positive note we did appreciate the facility of an electric jug and supplies for making tea and coffee. Housekeeping was generally of an adequate standard, though on one occasion the evening room servicing was missed. Bathroom toiletries were not replaced as we used them. The balcony did not appear to have been cleaned at all during the cruise – small pieces of rubbish that were there when we embarked were still there nine days later when we left. Dining We opted for freedom dining. Regrettably we were disappointed with the standard of food and service in the Medina restaurant. The waiters generally seemed to be going through the motions, with little or no interaction with the customers. Talking among themselves in their own language appeared to have higher priority. We found the menu offerings in this restaurant to be less than memorable. Of particular disappointment was the “New Zealand lamb” which was tough, poorly cooked and poorly carved – in a word inedible – and a poor advertisement for New Zealand produce. In general we found on a number of occasions that menu descriptions of some dishes did not always match the food that was presented – usually in terms of the accompaniments. Horizons Restaurant. The desserts apart, we could find little to recommend this restaurant for either lunch or dinner. We think the lack of a made-to-order sandwich bar and similarly made-to-order pizza & pasta to be a real shortcoming, as was the lack of ice cream machines. On the final night of the cruise, 6 March, we looked in at this restaurant at 8.15pm to find there were very few hot dishes on offer and most of the staff clearing away. Advertised dining for this restaurant was 6.30pm to 9pm. Lido Grill. Very small menu options which did not change at any stage during the cruise. Less than adequate. Sindhu Restaurant. An excellent experience with attentive and knowledgeable staff and quite wonderful Indian food. The Glass House. This became our favourite after Medina had produced such poor showings … once again excellent and friendly staff and although the menu was relatively small we could not fault the quality, taste or enjoyment of the offerings. So the question has to be asked – if the kitchens can do so well for Sindhu and the Glass House – why is the Medina such a disappointment? Entertainment We only saw two performances in the Curzon Theatre – Russell Harrison and the Headliners Theatre Company (“Blame it on the Boogie”). Both were excellent. It was a disappointment to us that a “Captain’s Cocktail Reception”, which we have enjoyed on other ships – including several within the Carnival Group – was not held on this cruise. Internet and library The two ladies operating this service were knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Well done. Tendering Due to lack of immediate berthage in Sydney, the ship anchored for the first day and passengers were transferred by tender to a landing near the Opera House. In general we had no problems with that … EXCEPT … that when returning to the ship conditions boarding the tender were such that they could be considered dangerous due to the violent movement of the tender alongside the jetty. (As an aside - I do have very significant small-boat handling experience, so feel well qualified to make this observation) Conclusions Do we regret having taken this cruise? Well, no. It all adds to our cruising experience. Would we cruise again with P & O Cruises, UK? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Arcadia world cruise 2014 Auckland to Southampton We returned to UK from a month touring in NZ by 51 days on Arcadia. This was our first time on P and O and we chose this cruise because of the port calls which seemed to us a wish list of ... Read More
Arcadia world cruise 2014 Auckland to Southampton We returned to UK from a month touring in NZ by 51 days on Arcadia. This was our first time on P and O and we chose this cruise because of the port calls which seemed to us a wish list of many places in the world we wanted to see and we were not disappointed. Sadly, the planned calls to Egypt could not take place because of the security situation; P and O substituted Sallalah in Muscat which was a waste of time as the majority of passengers did not get off the ship, and also Aqaba, which gave us an excursion to Petra and was the high point of the trip. We liked: our cabin (E deck next to midships gangway), the promenade deck, some of the lectures and entertainment, the art tutor, the Captain who is outstandingly good, reception staff, the port presentations, the excursions we took. The entertainments staff worked hard but there is a great reliance on quizzes. Headliners theatre company are very good, but on a long trip you eventually get repeats of the same show. The ship is modern and comfortable but not glitzy. Disembarkation was rapid and efficient. We disliked: the food, quality was very variable. In particular, preparation and cooking of vegetables and selection was poor (‘not peas again’). For vegetarians it was difficult. Meridian restaurant menus became somewhat predictable. Belvedere self service was often over busy and with bizarre choices, some days lots of curries, other days none at all, some days plenty of non meat choices, other days none at all. The beauty salon is over priced and not very good, I had a poor experience myself and heard many unhappy stories from other women passengers. We would have liked: better lecture choices, (there was rather a lot of history of the second world war), an experienced choir leader and I was surprised that the ship does not carry a chaplain. A lot of passengers seemed to be ill towards the end of the cruise. While P and O do have some hygiene procedures in place, they do not enforce rigorously, nor remind people as often as they need to. I think there is specific problem on a world cruise, where new groups of passengers, up to 600 at a time, are embarking for a particular sector, and bring with them a lovely selection of winter infections which they then fail to keep to themselves. Those of us who had been away from the UK since January did not stand a chance. Overall this was a successful cruise which met our expectations but we would probably not travel with P and O again, as we now know that we prefer smaller ships with fewer passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We'd heard a lot of good things about P&O (including here), and were looking forward to our first cruise with them. While not BAD, it certainly didn't live up to it's reputation. Food was mediocre at best, service ... Read More
We'd heard a lot of good things about P&O (including here), and were looking forward to our first cruise with them. While not BAD, it certainly didn't live up to it's reputation. Food was mediocre at best, service inconsistent, entertainment was a mixed bag with some pretty good stuff and some amateur hour quality, special interest lectures were consistently poor except for those given by the cruise director himself. Aurora herself is beautiful, but seemed very cluttered, with shops stuck in the hallways. The mattress sagged and was lumpy, should have been replaced last year. Noisiest ship we've ever been on, we could hear both adjacent cabins plus our neighbors on the floor above. No WiFi in the cabins, I had to go to the computer room itself to log on.Orangery cafeteria was very disorganized, often not set up for lunch by noon. They usually ran short of glasses, and when I asked for more was often greeted by a blank stare.The pool is fresh water, which means it is very expensive to fill. So after draining it due to rough weather, they declined to refill until our next main port.Tender service at the smaller ports was extremely inefficient compared with other ships we've been on. At one port they only put 2 boats in the water - this for 1800 passengers and a 30 minute ride to shore. Only about half the passengers that wanted even got ashore before it was time to get back aboard.I could go on, but you get the idea. As I said, it was not so bad that we'd absolutely refuse to go again, but we'll take any other option first.The only excellent item was the bridge classes and tournament. We're big bridge fans (not all that good, just love it), and that ended up being the only highlight of each sea day. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
P&O UK Arcadia Auckland to Sydney This ship is midway through her annual World Cruise A most enjoyable experience What we did not like Our cabin steward's housekeeping standard was a little dubious The main ... Read More
P&O UK Arcadia Auckland to Sydney This ship is midway through her annual World Cruise A most enjoyable experience What we did not like Our cabin steward's housekeeping standard was a little dubious The main dishes and sometimes deserts in the main restaurant were swimming in their respective gravy or sauces (serve it on the side!) The food service staff in both the main restaurant and Arcadian Rhodes ( the onboard pay 15 pounds for dinner specialty restaurant operated by Gary Rhodes )need work.They were ok but not polished The sofa in our cabin - unless you sat with a very stiff back it was very uncomfortable and needs two cushions Tipping is still the old fashioned "money in envelope and hand to your waiting staff" its messy and uncomfortable charging your onboard account is so much easier What we liked The ship itself The colour schemes on board, the feel onboard, very comfortable and elegant. Lots of browns and golds, lovely pieces of art and beautifully appointed public lounges Everywhere you sat you were near windows that connected you with the sea There is also a large very popular english pub Our cabin A very comfortable DD grade outside cabin with a huge balcony and nice bathroom with a tub The passengers Being a world cruise and a very British ship we were expecting a lot of elderly British passengers Although we were probably the youngest onboard there were many people around our age and everyone we spoke to was delightful Mainly middle class average Brits (and a lot of aussies as well) and a sprinkling of Americans There were a number of Aussies onboard who sailed from Sydney on Oriana 4 months ago then had two weeks in the UK for Christmas then have sailed all the way back onboard Arcadia The Aussies all preferred Oriana as the ships decor is more elegant in soft greens and there is a wonderful 4 story atrium Something missing on Arcadia is a wonderful atrium What we loved The onboard prices The bar and wine prices are simply amazing! Martinis and cocktails were all under 3 pounds We had a delicious french chablis with dinner that cost 32 pounds The average wine prices between 12 to 17 pounds a bottle and there is no 15% gratuity automatically added to the bar bill like most other cruise lines Recognition The ship was near full the wine waitress who served us in a full restaurant the first night and remembered our names the next day that was impressive The bar staff who likewise remembered our drinks and our names and who all seemed genuinely pleased to see us each evening A table for two for each meal nothing was a problem for the restaurant manager We would have no hesitation in recommending P&O UK Please note that P&O UK ships are vastly different and superior from P&O Australia There were a small few niggles which we have mentioned but overall the short cruise was a relaxing and restful way to cross the tasman and we would both feel very comfortable onboard Arcadia for a much longer sector Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
A short cruise Auckland to Sydney on " Arcadia " February 2011.We took this short cruise as a very pleasant way to get to Sydney instead of sitting in a metal tube and hanging around airports.Embarkation; at Auckland was ... Read More
A short cruise Auckland to Sydney on " Arcadia " February 2011.We took this short cruise as a very pleasant way to get to Sydney instead of sitting in a metal tube and hanging around airports.Embarkation; at Auckland was OK, but there were 3 cruise ships in port and we embarked via tin shed 10 on Queens Wharf. It was alright for the 150 getting on in Auckland but would have been stretched for too many more.On boarding we were "greeted" by the standard photographer and a girl who asked" do you know where you are going ? " Not exactly the best way to present your ship ! Accommodation; we had booked an Outside but had an upgrade to a DB Balcony; the cabin was really nice and was a decent size. Bathroom was also of a reasonable size although we felt the mini tub was unnecessary and would prefer a shower cubicle. The cabin had an excellent verandah, spacious and furnished with traditional cushioned steamer chairs, ideal for a long cruise. Nice little touches like electric jug and tea/coffee making facilities; air con.was easy and reliable to control. Cabin steward was excellent and nothing too much for him.Public rooms; a mixture of really nice and very ordinary; it didn't seem to have any " flow" with various spaces here and there. DEcor was low key but quite nice but we did think the lack of an atrium as the centre point of most ships was lacking and let down the overall impression. Lovely theatre but back up , The Globe, was miniscule and did nothing for us. So pleased they didn't appear to have the crappy "art auctions" that most other ships have, but a very pleasant art gallery with really original works on display. The ship could really do with a secondary theatre of a decent size for smaller shows .Dining; Main Meridian restaurant appeared quite pleasant on 2 levels and didn't seem to be as noisy as many we have struck. Food here was generally good and a decent choice.The Belvedere Buffet was disappointing; breakfast was your standard English breakfast offerings with little in the way of "extras" to tempt one; and why have the cereals and fruit at the stern end when 80% of passengers enter from the centre of the ship ! Lunch was very poor; a standard choice daily with no attempts at variance; and have you ever seen beverage dispensers with notices "Fruit Juices only available from 6 a.m to 12 noon ?? " It is a big area and plenty of seating, but service was almost non-existent with few attempts to clear and clean tables; could do with a brush up all round ; perhaps the largely British passengers preferred the dining room ?We also tried the alternative venues; Arcadian Rhodes was very nice and the food excellent; but service again almost non- existent, had to ask for wine list, and appalled when staff were clearing tables around us before we had finished, and locking away the liqueur trolley offerings in a cupboard as if to say "let's get out of here ". ( and it was only 9 p.m. ) The Orchid ( up top on deck 11 ) was a different matter; with an Asian influence, excellent staff and altogether an extremely pleasant evening, the 10 GBP cover charge being well worth it. Would go back there in a flash.Drinks policy ; we applaud P&O for what was a lesson to be learned by a lot of other cruise lines; prices everywhere., bars and restaurants were extremely reasonable and one could also purchase spirits to "take away" to your room at duty free prices and drink at your leisure ; so no need to "smuggle" bottles on board like some ships and a policy that should be seriously looked at by other operators; people will always buy ships stock if its properly priced , have a very pleasant experience, and not feel ripped off or under suspicion of having something in your bag you shouldn't have.Entertainment; in our short time on board we came to the conclusion that shows were very good; we had the funniest man on one night and again being interviewed the next afternoon, Tom O'Connor, who had everyone in stitches without a single smutty reference of swear word; well done. Production show on the last sea night was excellent; but the so-called Australian Cultural show on the in-port Sydney night was an embarrassment, and the company should know better. The cruise staff were so-so, seemed to be there because they had to be. We liked the idea of the big main pool up top with the opening roof ( that actually opened ! ) and the slightly smaller one outside on the after deck; and also very much liked the fact that all the outside decks were teak planked and not plastic covered. There was no space in the ship that would accommodate the numbers of people for trivia or bingo that are so popular on "Princess" ships, but once again its horses for courses and probably not the same type of crowd.A small note, full marks to P&O for the daily newsletter "Horizon" ;very professionally produced and knocks spots off the "Princesss Patter "Itinerary; we obviously did not experience the full offering but we did feel that the World Cruise itinerary was sparse to say the least in ports visited., would have wanted more ports to see on the way. It was a pity for the 850 round trippers on board that the weather in Auckland and the 2 days in Sydney was poor but one can't control that. That said, what a superb location the Passenger Terminal has at Circular QuayDisembarkation; we stayed on board overnight in Sydney and disembarked on Sunday morning; a lot of people wanted to get off on Saturday but were not allowed, presumably because it would have needed extra Customs and MAF attendance but did seem rather officious and unnecessary.Overall. A very pleasant experience, and as we said a great way to cross the Tasman; we would use the ship again given the right itinerary and the right price, but like everything in life there were pluses and minuses and all these come into account when making the final choice. Read Less
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