But there was no need to worried and the negative reviews seem completely unfair and/or overly critical. There was no sign of the "Arcadia cough" mentioned in other reviews.
Our cabin was lovely, nice and roomy with plenty of storage. The bed was massive and very comfy. Little touches like a pre-threaded sewing kit and airer in the bathroom were great. Comfy chairs on the balcony. Our only complaint was that the shower was a bit lackluster. Our steward made up our room twice a day and it was so nice to come back to a tidy room with the bed turned down and chocolates on the pillow following the chaos of getting ready for the black tie nights - which we did love.
The cabin was very quiet and we couldn't hear either of our neighbours so sleeping was a breeze.
The dress code was perhaps a bit stuffy for us, we enjoyed the black tie nights but on the formal/smart nights the men in particular did not seem sure what to wear. We both felt that it would be easier if the ship stuck More
with just casual and black tie nights but that was just our view. Having said that we learned a lot on this cruise so next time we will be a bit clearer on what to wear.
All the ports we visited were interesting, disembarkation at the ports pretty easy without too much waiting. The excursions were interesting and well organised. On the 3 days we chose to explore on our own getting to the main areas was easy and the crew gave good advice on this. For example in Oporto a free bus was provided to the centre.
Entertainment was varied and even though we were younger than the average passenger we still found things we enjoyed including a Beatles tribute act, John Virgo, a bit comedy, quizzes and movies. There are a lot of musical themed shows which are not to our taste but clearly appreciated by many.
We were pleasantly surprised by the varied age of passengers, there were certainly many young adults although the majority were over 50. It was nice to see that so many gay couples felt comfortable in a cruise environment.
The food was of an excellent quality. The fine dining restaurant starters were a bit pompous and therefore not very interesting. The main courses were more varied although portion sizes are small - for example "roast potatoes" is actually one roast potato, extra vegetables and potatoes were brought out though. I also found that the gravy portions were small but had not trouble in being given extra when I asked. On several nights we did fill up on cheese and biscuits following our dessert an option that did not seem to be frowned upon.
The buffet restaurant served good quality food and quite varied, as many have said before the curries are good. The buffet can get busy and frustrating with many passengers, particularly the older ones, feeling the need to carefully study the food before choosing. On one occasion I had to wait for a man to put down a pair of tongs which took him 4 attempts before he was happy with their position! We found it easier to just eat at less busy times like brunch and afternoon tea.
We did not try the specialist restaurants but heard good things about them so probably would do next time.
We enjoyed the spa although felt it was a bit expensive to use the hydropool which was often quite busy. We did enjoy it but I'm not sure we'd both another time.
Prices for drinks etc were ok, not too dear. The shop was a bit expensive but with all the free food on board I'm not sure why you would need to buy chocolate too. The jewellery seemed overpriced, personally if you fancy a nice piece or jewellery and you are going to Gibraltar I'd get it there.
Overall we had a great time. I've included in this review a few niggles as I wanted to be honest but they really were just niggles and in no way detracted from our enjoyment. We loved it so much that when we came into the first port we were really tempted just to stay on the ship! Less