We joined Arcadia on Sunday 4th July at Southampton, to sail to the Canaries.
The embarkation process was very good and we where on board and having lunch by 1pm in the buffet restaurant. Just after 2pm we had access to our cabin. This was internal on Canada(C)deck. The cabin was a good size with plenty of storage. Our cabin stewardess(Merlin)was friendly and kept the cabin clean and tidy and well stocked with tea and coffee. The ship is clean and constantly being maintained (could find maintenance staff with a paint brush at some point of the day - this is not a complaint, it is good that the ship is kept in good order). General decor is also good with the various areas having their own colour scheme. Breakfast / lunch in the Meridian was good if you got there on time, we missed it for breakfast on two occasions to to clock changes. The Belvedere was so so - TIP FIND A SEAT FIRST THEN GET YOUR MEAL. Evening meal at table 29 was very good in the Meridian, the waiters and wine steward were all very attentive. (could not always say the same for the Breakfast & lunch service at other tables, it was a bit hit and miss. Probably because at the end of the cruise, you are tipping your evening table).
We tried the Rhodes restaurant, although we had been told it can take 2 hr, when the restaurant is less than half full you do not expect it to take over 2 hrs and still not have your coffee. I felt the meals in the Meridian were tastier if not presented on the plate to the same level. The head waiter was very apologetic and rectified the situation to our satisfaction. We also tried the Orchid Restaurant and bar - both are outstanding for service and food.
The age range of passengers was from 18 to 90 many in the fifty plus bracket. Due to the ship not allowing children(a reason we selected Arcadia)there are some areas that were under utilised on this cruise (sports area / Electra disco / Card & Computer rooms)could they be used for other pursuits?. The entertainment staff could also come up with some more time fillers for passengers other that Bingo / Quiz / loose women type talk every day.
The weather we had was very unsettled with warm sunny days every second day. On the dull days it was a book or a movie, (TV films are very repetitive) or Bingo etc.
We have booked trips in the past but find that you do not always have time to see the local area. So we opted to do our own thing, however some of the ports did not have enough (other than shops) to keep us going all day.
This was our sixth cruise, our first with P&O and we would use Arcadia again.
Weather Sunny - Hot
Nice place, again enough to keep you going for 4 hrs or so. Worth seeing
Weather overcast We used the Site seeing bus to go to the Cathedral and Museum as they are located about 2-3 km from the port. Jumped on and off the bus at several areas. Seen it don't think we will be back.
Weather Sunny - Hot Our third time here. This time we jumped on a No 28 tram and took a ride round the back streets to the Cathedral and wandered back past the Assembly. The tram ride is worthwhile (1.45 euros each). The tram passes very close to some of the buildings and also bounces, so hold tight. The main shopping area around black horse square is well laid out and there are plenty of places to eat. Worth seeing - some good trips along the water front.
Weather Bright and Sunny First time in Madeira. After a stroll along the front and back streets, we travelled on the cable car. This was worth while intended to walk back but it was far to far. The toboggan rides are extortionate and only take you part way down. Get the return ticket on the cable car its cheaper. Had a lunch on the front area, a huge plate full. We would like to see more of Madeira.
Weather Bright - Hot Shops at the port area. Seen it don't think we will be back.
Weather Sun / Rain but pleasant.
Very long shopping street, also a large mall at the dock. TIP - use the escallators in the mall to get to the higher levels in VIGO, otherwise it is a bit of a climb. Nice shell fish restaurants on the first level up of the town. Also a nice walk along from the dock to the commercial area with some nice bars. Worth seeing.