Really enjoyed the cruise to the Black Sea on Arcadia though nigglying irritations could so easily have limited that pleasure.
The vessel, wisely, is about to go in for a refit. It's a little tired and there are some improvements needed.
Our cabin was most acceptable, B150. Being right at the back of the boat we enjoyed a larger than usual balcony which became a protected sun trap for much of the voyage. Within the cabin there were fewer shelves than on other P&O vessels causing a clutter of personal items on what was available. I was a little stunned to note the length of the bath! On an "all adult" boat it was ironic that the bath was obviously designed for a child. Why advertise baths when they are unfit for adults?
The food, as always on P&O was fine, but the Meridian Restuarant was quite the noisiest ship restaurant I have dined in. Hard rather than soft surfaces abounded throughout the dining area and sounds reverberated making conversation difficult. There was also a sense that the number of waiters had declined and those serving we're always under constant pressure. Having arrived on time for dinner we twice waited 35 minutes for our first course - some passengers moving already onto deserts at that time!
I do get a little peeved at the cost of alcohol on cruises. I purchased a "wine offer" and when it concluded bought further individual bottles. On checking my account on home arrival it appeared that they had double charged me. Charging for the "offer" and then proceeding to charge for the same bottles again. Do check your accounts carefully.
We did enjoy several of the visiting artistes, though disliked the rather egocentric bass baritone. As a couple who rarely go to performances we were particularly impressed by the Headliner Company who always performed with vitality and professionalism. Unfortunately, unless one rushed to end one's dinner finding a seat in the theatre could be difficult
Surprisingly, we always seemed to be leaving port earlier than in the past. Guess the Company were saving money for the vessel rarely sailed above 17 knots an hour. Visits at such ports always then seemed rushed. At Istanbul we docked late, not the Captain's fault, and significant excursions were done at a "gallop" . Passengers were certainly "short changed" at this port. And why must every excursion end with a shopping visit? Even in Istanbul they found the required time to visit the Grand Bazaar when I sensed that at least 80% of passengers thought it a waste of time. If passengers want to shop why do the Company not provide shopping focused tours and leave others to view relevant sites.
The staff were, as always, warm, friendly and most helpful. Was a little annoyed with the Captain who, 6
days into the voyage suggested someone had brought the norvovirus on board when, both staff and passengers doing back to back cruises stated it was already on board. At least it appeared to have been cleared as we progressed through the cruise.
On the return from the Black Sea we left Athens and experienced 4 sea days............ too many in the Mediterranean. There should have been an additional port of call.
I've written on the more prominent irritations, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are grateful to P&O.