Embarkation was quick and easy. This was a big plus point. We sailed the Norwegian Fjords and the weather was great apart from one rainy day in Bergen. The ship is overdue for a refit, with the deck furniture looking shabby. However it was not as bad as we had been expected, with most of the ship still in a nice shape. Arcadia coped very well with the few rough seas we had. The inside stateroom was bigger than we expected, but there was a poor use of the space. Shower was bigger than on Princess, but this led to a very narrow corridor between the bathroom and wardrobes. It was a real log jam when my wife and I were getting ready. Lighting at the dressing table and outside some of the wardrobes was inadequate. Overall the cabin was comfortable though.
The food was OK, but the buffet was disappointing for both choice and quality. In the main dining room the steak was poor and small compared to Princess. The biggest disappointment was the lack of freedom dining. We were stuck on a table of people who all wanted to be on their own and the silences were excruciating. That coupled with the set dining time was something we could have done without. Service was good but the wine waiter gave us a more expensive wine than we ordered because our choice was not chilled. He never told us and we only found out when we got our statement. It took more than a little effort to get a refund. Also a phantom £20 appeared on our bill that we had to get removed. We got a sorry, but no explanation. The thing that let the cruise down more than anything was the level of service. On Princess, nothing is too much trouble. On Arcadia we were refused twice by waiters when we asked them to get us coffee from the Costa outlet on board. Both said it was too far. We complained and were told staff had now been instructed not to refuse. The next waiter also refused but relented when we told him we had been told staff should not refuse. It took him 30 mins to get our coffee though. In conclusion, ship nice, weather fantastic, scenery awesome, food OK (apart from the Orchid Restaurant, which was fantastic), service poor in places. Would we choose P&O again? Probably, but not before Princess and only for a last minute discounted deal.
Ports were as follows:
Stavanger - Lovely place with a really pretty old town area. Weather was fantastic and we almost got sunburn.
Olden - Nothing much here and nowhere really to go. Scenery is great though and we were lucky with the weather again. Don't expect much of the free wifi at the dockside cafe. Very slow and unreliable.
Andalsnes - The train was fully booked so we did the walking route provided by the tourist office. Nice one and a half hour walk including a hike half was up a small mountain. Take walking boots if you want to do it justice. Lovely scenery and weather yet again.
Bergen - Our luck ran out and it rained all day. Went back to the ship after 20 mins and relaxed and read our books.