I would like to start with embarkation. Parking was very organised and we got into the terminal within 20 minutes of arriving. It was another 20 minutes before we got our boarding cards. This could be improved in two ways. Have a TV showing which colour cards should queue, and numbers over the desks, such as you get the post office. This is minor detail but I believe it would speed things up.
Once aboard the ship it took three crew members to tell me which deck I should go to for my room. To avoid confusion for future clients, the letter of you room, i.e. D53 in my case, the first letter shows the deck you are on. In the lift “D” stands for Dominica desk 5. This should save you some hassle.
We had a “Deluxe balcony cabin”. The room was fine. It was large, and plenty of shelving and hangers to meet our needs. The beds where high in that you could put all of you bangs under it, and not loose storage space in the wardrobe. It was a family room, so there was a sofa bed, regular queen sized bed, and a drop down bed in the ceiling. We only used the queen sized bed but we did find a design error in the room. As the ceiling bed was over our bed there were no ceiling lights present, nor were there any end table lights. There were lights present but they were hiding behind the pillows. The headboard was only about 1 foot high with a light on top of it. It was a cylinder with the light in the middle. The only way to use it, was if you read your book with your head on the mattress. Not very comfortable.
When I pay for a “Deluxe Balcony” I would expect a 180 degree view from it. If this is not the case I would expect it to state “partially obstructed” which would reduce the price of the cabin. This not the case with P&O. It is only if a life boat is in front of your stateroom would it be classed as obstructed or partially obstructed. For those booking with P&O on Arcadia please be aware of the following on Deck 5/Dominica deck mid ship. The first and last cabins on Desk 5 are obstructed in my opinion. On “Arcadia” the “Mid ship section goes in about 20 feet from the front/aft cabins due to its design. Where it goes in the first balcony is at 45 degrees to the other cabins on deck 5. My cabin balcony looked at the balcony on my left not out to sea (on the left). I can see straight ahead, but when coming into Venice you cannot see what is coming from the right until it is upon you. Looking down was a cabin with a 15 foot balcony, and following that was the life boats. I do not know why but the length of the cabin from with glass door to the railing is about 2 feet shorter that the cabins above, i.e. light blocked from above. We also found the 2nd design fault. The balcony furniture could only go face to face, as there was no way to have the chairs face outwards. The entrance to the balcony was not a sliding door, but an actual door that opened outwards. Due to the balcony furniture it was very difficult to open the door to the balcony due to the furniture being in the way. On most other lines you get a bathrobe in your room. You how have to pay 19.95 for a bathrobe.
There was too ways of booking this cruise. Full fare of saver fare. You do lose out on dining options if you book, saver fare. We like fixed dining times, and as we were with the in-laws we linked the dining. Unfortunately there was no fixed dining for people on saver fares. You had to go to freedom dining. We were on early sitting and you had to get to the restaurant at 6 o’clock to get in to have your meal and get out for the show. We went at 6:45 and asked for a table for two, so we could get out early for the show. There was always a 30 minute wait for these tables. We went in at 6:45 and had a table for 6 or 8. Because of the large size of the table, we could never have dessert or coffee, or we would miss the show. We ended up in the buffet most nights. The food in general was great, but not as good as the main dining room.
The staff in general were very nice and helpful where required.. The room steward was great and meet our every need. The entertainment about the ship i.e. night time shows as 9 out of 10. During the day they had a proper screening room (cinema). It sat only 25 people. It showed the latest block buster movies i.e. Gravity, 12 years a slave etc. This is now by ticket only. You had to book your tickets 24 hours in advance in the Library. It was almost a fixed length movie i.e. 2 hours. If you could not get in the screening room, sometimes the moving were shown in one of the lounges.
My wife likes crafts i.e. card making, beading etc. there nothing like this aboard the ship. They did have knit and natter, but when you went to this lounge, loads of people were knitting but nobody nattered with the other knitters.
We did find the poolside “Neptune” grill to be very good. It had Burgers (meat, chicken and vigil), hotdogs, fish and best of all Chicken Tika wraps. There was a very extensive choice of other food, but the only drawback was that it closed at 5pm
There was a Costa coffee lounge aboard. What I do not understand is that this ship is duty free, so why pay the same price if not more for your coffees? The coffees and most import of all the selection of cakes was fantastic. I was told if you ate them slowly, you did not gain much weight. I think they lied.
They did have one lecturer aboard. His main topic was drugs. It include the history of drug taking, its affects on the people who took them, and the local community. It also included money laundering etc. I would have liked a more diverse band of lecturers aboard.
The places we visited was great, and the embarkation/disembarkation at these ports was well organised.
The final days disembarkation was a bit of a shambles. You were assigned a lounge to wait in, until you were told when to embark. Unfortunately this was not addressed over the tannoy, but someone would shout out that this lounge could depart. If you did not hear them, you figured it out when the majority of people would be heading for the gangway.