Wife and I were celebrating our 25th anniversary - so this was a special cruise. We selected this cruise based on the ports of call. We knew most of the passengers would be retired folks. We first cruised with P&O in the late 1980's and upto this cruise our favorite cruise line was Princess. So for folks reading this here is a brief summary:
Ports of call fantastic Cabin stewards/bar staff/restaurant staff fantastic Evening entertainment was good Cabin faultless
Given we have done so many Princess cruises it is very hard not to make comparisons between Princess and P&O - during the course of this cruise wife and I developed a saying BOP (better on Princess) So here is the list
Drinks - on Princess you can buy an unlimited soft drink package approx $35 per 7 day cruise - not possible on P&O. Variety of drinks much better and also cheaper on Princess.
Food - Princess is miles ahead. On Arcadia the food variety was incredibly boring and unimaginative. In fact we gave up eating in the main restaurants and paid supplements to eat in the specialty restaurants (the Orchid is fantastic).
Excursions - Arcadia, expensive and not imaginative with many admin errors/mistakes leading to almost arrogance. My wife and I called it the 'Excuses Desk' as opposed to Excursion Desk.
Open & below deck facilities - Arcadia isn't bad - but Princess is just better.
In summary I cannot stress how bad the food was - boring, boring and more boring. I've eaten better in Tesco cafeteria. I think it is very possible P&O are deeply cutting costs and it is in the food and beverage area where this is most evident. I'd rather pay more for my ticket then eat what was served up - actually I did pay more by eating in the specialty restaurants.
So next cruise back to Princess...