Arcadia Cruise Review by Navsteve: Excellent Baltics Cruise by P&O - supported by great weather!
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Excellent Baltics Cruise by P&O - supported by great weather!
We embarked from Southampton on the Arcadia. It's a great ship - not huge and also no children - although as a result probably an "army" of disability scooters - not really a big problem. Arcadia has recently been refitted - and mostly the ship seemed in very good order. The wooden balcony rails need re-varnishing but other than that all pretty good.
The cruise itself was excellent -the ports of call: Zeebrugge, Gdynia /Gdansk, Klaepida, St.Petersburg, Tallinn, Copenhagen. A very good mixed bag with of course the Jewel in the Crown being St. Petersburg (2 full days in port).
We used P&O for the tours in Gdynia /Gdansk and Tallinn - both well organised. The Tallinn one was rather short but as my wife is mobility impaired it was termed a "simple" tour - which it was. Also, I would say Tallinn is overrun by cruise-ships and there's very little peace and quiet from the souvenir shops and stalls in the small and quaint old-town. St. Petersburg was brilliant. We had More arranged tours ourselves through Allah Tours - a local Russian company. They were superb - no worries about Visas or anything the organisation and the programme for the 2 days was 5-Star including cooked lunches in local restaurants.
The ship's progress apart from one short period after Tallinn was marked by superb weather and millpond conditions. Even when the weather was stormy for a few hours only, there was minimal discomfort to passengers.
Staff on PO&O are very customer-service focused and we had a superb Butler, and Cabin Stewardess who were well up to standard. Dining in the main Restaurant was good - the menu choices left a little to be desired - I felt maybe P&O were cutting some corners to save cost here. The Head Waiter and Table Waitiers were all excellent and bent over backwards to satisfy my wife's vegetarian needs. The wine-waiter was attentive and well-briefed and provided great personal service.
Entertainment. The shows by the Headliners in the Palladium Theatre were excellent, although the staging with far too numerous and disturbing lighting effects (flashing lights, strobes and pyrotechnics) were well over the top and purely for showing off the expensive equipment - they added nothing to the singing and dancing on stage - and in fact detracted from the overall enjoyment (other cruisers agreed).
We enjoyed 5 lectures by Pete Finlay on Concorde with a lot of good background information well-researched, humerous and interesting.
As usual an overkill of activities by the hard-working Entertainments Director and her staff kept us fully if not over-occupied.
One last point. Our Suite on D deck was perfect. Well-equipped and large enough to relax inside and out on our large balcony recliners and armchairs. The daily cleaning and servicing was 5 star, although I must point out the dust on the outside of the ventilator in the bathroom should be cleaned and sanitised every day to prevent germs spreading...P&O should know this.
We will be back on P&O and may try a newer ship next time. All in all a great experience..... Less
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