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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in ... Read More
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in Belverede (Buffet) was like Boarding School - small display and not very appertising Food in Main Dining Room was either great or average. Staff everywhere onboard I found very pleasant. There are some nice Public spaces on board being 'Adults only' it made the Swimming Pools and Buffet areas a lot more civilized. Shops were a non event. Embarkation was the fastest ever Disembarkation was a bit slow, due to different messages from P&O Staff and Border Security. The Fishermans Grain Wharf at Brisbane is around a 25min cab ride to the Airport and cost $63 - we did not pull in at Hamilton which is about 10mins from the airport. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
A family group of 6 booked 5 cabins for a quick getaway. Embarkation at Sydney was so quick due to a wonderful staff member giving us priority boarding. That is when our troubles with passengers started. A very angry man tried to accuse ... Read More
A family group of 6 booked 5 cabins for a quick getaway. Embarkation at Sydney was so quick due to a wonderful staff member giving us priority boarding. That is when our troubles with passengers started. A very angry man tried to accuse the younger ones of cutting in but thanks to lovely staff we tried to ignore them. The ship was nice but I was not impressed with such low ceilings and missed having a central atrium where it was nice to sit and relax with a great coffee. I found the rooms were a decent size but my carpets were very badly stained. We had fantastic dinner companions but I was quite upset by the stares from other passengers constantly. I know some had originally thought we were entertainers (due to the young girls having very bright coloured hair). Most meals were wonderful, my family's only wish was for crispy bacon of course being British they only served boiled bacon. I did enjoy the shows but found no real entertainment during the day, probably due to it only being the short sector. Our biggest concerns were the rudeness of the British passengers and comments that were made to the girls even though they were dressed quite appropriately. Most staff were excellent the only problems were the usual with new staff starting as the same day as us. Bar staff fantastic, reception staff need to be made more aware of Australian rules and regulations( in regards to immigration) as we kept being given different info in regards to our disembarkation in Brisbane. Coming from Brisbane myself I felt embarrassed about where we had to dock but the staff there were amazing. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem ... Read More
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem to spend most if not all the year cruising. Pricewise, the cruise is good value. Perhaps because of that, the ports of call were not particularly interesting and nor was the entertainment on board but if you want a relaxing time at sea, this ship will satisfy. Incidentally, I found Alotau one of the more interesting stops but I didn’t take any of the package shore excursions – I booked my own in advance through the local travel agent, Villink, located in the Alotau International Hotel. It was less touristy, the car was air-conditioned and I believe I learned more; and it was at a lower cost that the similar on-board shore excursion on offer. Don’t expect decent WiFi even if you are willing to pay the extortionate price charged for WiFi use on board – speeds are very slow, so at 50p a minute, best to wait to the next port of call to log-in. There were two safety alerts (a fire in an elevator; smoke from the incinerator) during the cruise. They were efficiently dealt with though I don’t understand why passengers were woken at 3.00 AM to tell them of the first alert (without further instructions or directions being given). Unless passengers are instructed to do something or to act in a particular manner (even it is only to stay in the cabin), I can’t see the purpose of ruining their sleep, causing panic (some passengers commented that they were concerned), or create unnecessary interest that might obstruct the crew (some passengers wanted to see what was happening). If this is an established safety procedure, it is a bad one and needs to be rethought. There is Sunday Christian worship and regular Christian Fellowship meetings take place. No other faiths are generally catered for though Jews do get to meet for the Jewish Sabbath. Observant Jews and Muslims need not apply (see ‘food’ below). The ship is generally well run, though I did get a sense of complacency, especially as regards the kitchens/restaurants. Overall, the ship is of the quality of a 3-star hotel but occasionally rises a notch higher. It needs to be said that most passengers were happy with the ship. Pros Friendly, efficient cabin stewards. Most staff are friendly and helpful. Dining options are adequate and cuisine quality acceptable, though not exceptional. Complaints do get actioned and rectified. P&O has been in the business a long time so knows what to expect – embarkation and disembarkation at ports of call are generally efficiently handled.. Good value for money overall (though some shore excursions are over-priced). Self-service laundry facilities are available on board (though cramped and insufficient for overall demand – be ready for some frayed tempers if you have not cleared your machine immediately after it has completed its cycle). There some nice, comfortable places to sit and while away the time looking out to sea, in particular the Crow’s Nest at the front of the ship. Cons Entertainment is basic and not generally high quality though there were some acts that were so good (e.g. Fogwell Flax) that the Palladium Theatre could not accommodate all demand. The films screened are basically DVDs (not in HD) and start times do not always accord with the printed schedule. The programme of talks is adequate and one or two even interesting but overall, worthy rather than stimulating. The scheduling was also not ideal as the talks frequently clashed with teatime etc. (see below). The talks had no relationship to the places being visited –e.g. on the history of Australia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Hong Kong etc.. Of course, there is a Port Talk before each port of call but that is more about sights, shopping and shore excursions, with modest historic background. The food is generally unexceptional. The ship does not cater well (at all?) for people with special dietary needs For example, it was not uncommon for 50% of the eight main course dishes on offer to contain pig products in some form (of the 4 main course choices during one lunchtime, 3 had pig products in them); and no effort was made to keep such products separate either in preparation or presentation from other dishes. There was usually one vegetarian option (out of 8) for dinner in the Meridian dining room. It is easy enough to keep pig products separate from others, to use a different griddle for grilling pork from other meats etc. but no such effort is made. Although most of the clientele might be reliving the 1960s and 70s, there is no reason for P&O not to make an effort to accommodate the 21st century (see also comments on electrical sockets and wifi). Also there doesn’t seem to be any great effort to give a taste of the cuisine of the ports to be/just visited (other than Australia). For instance, Papua New Guinea produces cocoa, coffee, bananas, fish, sago, cassava, yams – none of these appeared on the menu. Of the two main restaurants, the Meridian provides a silver service dining experience. The food can be good but too often is below par (e.g. sometimes microwaved and, consequently, dry and unappetising dishes often served lukewarm). There is also an element of complacency evident in the preparation – e.g. a mass-produced tart base is used for too many dishes. One particularly egregious example was a ‘macaroon tart’ which was the offending tart base filled with something that tasted like ‘Angel Delight’ with half a macaroon biscuit shell on top. The same tart base (a typical mass-produced casing used for quiches, tarts and anything else that comes to mind) was used two days later for a rhubarb and apple crumble ‘tart’. Cooking for large throughput is not easy and complacency has to be guarded against. One thing about the Meridian – it opens very late for breakfast (07.30 when in port, 08.00 on other days). Bearing in mind the age of the ship’s clientele, elderly folk who have difficulty sleeping, this is far too late. Also, on port days one wants to disembark as early as possible. A start one hour earlier would be better. The Belvedere is self-service and gives too much the impression of a staff canteen, in choice of dishes, layout and even smell. The quality varies from mediocre to passable. Access to the food is also not always easy – try pouring the soup without spilling it! A few design and style changes could easily make it a lot more appealing. The smoothies on offer are far too sweet (like most things on board, at least for my taste) – not really smoothies as I know them. With so many elderly passengers, diabetes might be a problem that needs to be more widely addressed (it’s not just sufficient to offer the occasional diabetic pastry). The specialty restaurants (Ocean Grill, Sindhu) are both good but the menus are fixed for the duration of the voyage so a couple of visits will mean you’ve exhausted the dishes you want to eat (or that don’t appear elsewhere on the ship). I was a little surprised to find that the Sindhu did not use tablecloths. Tea time was very short, lasting 45 min so if you arrive late, expect to be rushed out. Scones were usually acceptable, though sometimes stale. Clotted cream was served, so full marks (in the Meridian only) for this. It was impossible to find a decent cup of coffee on board. There were 3 establishments claiming to serve Costa Coffee (admittedly, not the best of the international chains) but if they were representative of Costa Coffee generally, then it’s time for a change. Why can one not get a decent espresso or cappuccino elsewhere? The attempts at cappuccino in the main restaurant were more like coffee dregs soaked in warm water and then swamped with milk. The baristas need some proper training. I also object to the misleading WiFi sign appearing at these 3 establishments – there is no free WiFi on board and the WiFi in the Costa Coffee places is the same as that for the ship as a whole (and available only at great cost). Drinks – the price of on-board drinks is comparable to what can be found in the UK (outside central London). The duty and tax savings are, therefore, not passed on to the passengers. Although good hygiene is important, the anti-bacterial gel that was not only offered at the door but almost forced on diners entering the restaurants, made one feel rather like being at school or hospital ward (doubly unwelcome when one takes into account the average age of the passengers). More effective would be issuing facemasks to people with coughs and sneezes! It was all a bit too much. And the injunction to wipe down machines after use in the gym was usually obeyed by the passengers but often ignored by the staff themselves. The gym is an adequate size/ well-equipped considering the age of the passengers, but might become inadequate if the average age fell by say 10 years. Incidentally, the gym is open between 08.00-20.00 only. As there is little or no supervision in the gym, I don’t understand why opening hours are not extended (to, say, 07.00-21.00). The Library has a reasonable stock of classic and modern fiction but not much in the way of good non-fiction (a lot of books on birds and a big collection on, often outdated, travel guides. In some ways this is understandable in view of the cost of books these days). There is comfortable seating in the library itself but there could be more of it. Although the Arcadia’s ‘Helpful Information’ claims that cabins are equipped with British style electrical sockets, in fact there is only one such socket in the cabin and generally the ship has US-style sockets throughout. Adapters were supplied by Reception (after the deficiency was raised as a concern). The ship lacks also an adequate number of power points in public areas to meet the needs of the modern age, for charging phones, computers, tablets, cameras etc.. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only we had done the research first! Our cruise from Sydney to Southampton started with a very long queue, despite having "priority" boarding as suite passengers. There was no ... Read More
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only we had done the research first! Our cruise from Sydney to Southampton started with a very long queue, despite having "priority" boarding as suite passengers. There was no "priority", we were queued up with everybody else, and was surprised at how many people had turned up earlier than their advised embarkation time. Not a huge problem and certainly not anything to spoil our cruise. When we finally arrived at our suite, we were welcomed by our very courteous and professional butler, and we were delighted with the Champagne, chocolates and bottled water in the fridge, not to mention the full set of White Company products in the bathroom. If we had found this website previously, we may not have been surprised at the size of the suite. As other passengers have already commented, it is not as big as expected and with the table and chairs being at the bottom of the bed, it can feel a little cramped. However, the balcony is huge, complete with sun loungers and a table and chairs. On our first night we met people who were doing the world cruise, and we heard many entertaining comments about the first half of the cruise. Tales of arguments and fights in the laundry, complete with people being "put off" due to their behaviour, was very amusing. During the cruise to Brisbane and Cairns we were very happy with our suite, however, we became aware that the engine noise during the evening did spoil the conversation with our fellow passengers at dinner, due to the noise of the engines. This turned out to be even worse during future the longer days at sea. More about this later in the cabin review. Positives about the cruise included the pre booked shore excursions, which we found reasonably priced and well organised; the gym was very well equipped; the staff were very polite and hard working, and the entertainment was overall very good. The negatives, we would have to include the disappointment with the tiredness of the suite, and arriving back from a shore excursion to find men moving equipment on our balcony prior to sailing through the Panama Canal. Lucky the previous forum passenger who was informed 2 days earlier and received complementary wine!! We didn't even get a phone call. However, we don't want this review to be a list of negative comments, because our only real gripe was the noise in the suite and the subsequent handling of the unresolved problem. Other passengers had been moved to different cabins, but apparently "there were no other cabins" for us. We were not asking for compensation of any sort, hence we refused the meal and wine, but we are left feeling very let down by P&O cruises, despite us spending a small fortune on a half world cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
On the positive side we enjoyed nearly all of the ports of call. Our main disappointment was with P&O and its declining levels of service. The Carnival corporation is making changes each time we travel with P&O, which is most ... Read More
On the positive side we enjoyed nearly all of the ports of call. Our main disappointment was with P&O and its declining levels of service. The Carnival corporation is making changes each time we travel with P&O, which is most years. These changes were originally minor, but the cut backs are now affecting the quality of service in noticeable ways. In particular the "silver service" is gone, no more choice of vegetables as plates arrive with all the food on the plate. Not too bad if you are used to small amounts of vegetables but a problem if you , like myself enjoy the vegetables more than the meat. Secondly the choice of vegetables was terrible, we ended up saying "if we see another carrot or piece of broccoli we will jump ship'. The other problem is that the turnover of passengers who have booked last minute deals is spoiling the world cruise experience. Most short hop passengers have been able to get very low cost deals which they enjoy sharing with those world cruisers that have paid full price. The number of so called cocktail parties have been greatly cut back as well, we only attended two in nearly nine weeks of travel, yet short hop passengers enjoyed just the same number. We were also unhappy with the pillows as there were no feather pillows available when we boarded in Sydney. Only when we complained and said we would be buying our own at the first port of call did two feather pillows appear. The bedding and towels were well worn and marked ,although it was stains rather than not being washed that was the problem. The cabin was a bit cramped and in need of a refurbishment. The staff are good but are terrified of getting bad feedback as it affects their tips. Without wishing to gone too long about other problems let's leave it here and say finally we will not be travelling P&O for a long time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
My wife and myself recently travelled on a sector of the world cruise on Arcadia. We joined the ship in Sydney on 21 February 2015 and disembarked in Hong Kong on 16 March 2015. When joining the ship in Sydney we were required to fill ... Read More
My wife and myself recently travelled on a sector of the world cruise on Arcadia. We joined the ship in Sydney on 21 February 2015 and disembarked in Hong Kong on 16 March 2015. When joining the ship in Sydney we were required to fill in a form stating our health was in good condition. How come we were required to do this when a fair few of the passengers already on the ship were suffering from chest infections and a persistent cough?. Naturally after a week or so at sea we also caught the bug. Actually one of the crew members advised that the only way to overcome this is to take plenty of vitamin C tablets. Maybe P & O should advise forthcoming passengers of this tip. It has taken us 2 weeks at home to get healthy again and that is after visits to our local Doctor. Apart from that the cruise was fairly good. The cabin was excellent as was the food. The Headliners were excellent and most of the other performers were good to average. The service from the crew was very good. We felt the Shore excursions were overpriced and definitely not value for money. Read Less
Arcadia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.6
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 1.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.7

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