We returned this morning from our 3 night break on the Arcadia. What a lovely ship and our cabin and balcony were good too. Jimmy James from Jimmy James and the Vagabonds who was around during the Motown years was the cabaret. What a fantastic performer, really showed us how a professional should sing and perform even at the age of 71. He received a standing ovation from the entire audience together with whistles and cheers. It was marvellous.
Now the negatives. The food was dreadful, we tried two different soups and both tasted like the cheapest packet soups, if they were not packet soup I have no idea how they managed to make soup so horrible. We also objected to being served up what seemed like frozen croquet potato, roast potato and chips. You will note I said potato and not potatoes because P&O don't like you to have more than one. The meat was very second rate and the fish was so overcooked it tasted like it had been cooked the day before and re-heated. The descriptions on the menu looked rather nice so it was a great disappointment when we tasted the bland concoction we were served. There was only one option for vegetarians and on all three days there was nothing very interesting or inspiring for them to eat. The buffet restaurant was very badly laid out so not only was there not very nice food, but you had to walk the entire length of the restaurant before you could decide what you wanted to eat, and then have the same walk back again to actually take something. No-one comes around with tea or coffee at breakfast like they do on Princess.
Now the service. Well this was appalling to say the very least. The majority of staff walk around looking so miserable. You smile at them and they don't smile back, of course there are exceptions. Our waiter was so surly and miserable, not giving us a chance to read the menu before expecting us to decide on choice, then slapping the meal down in front of us. Taking the plates away as you were still chewing the food and others still eating. We felt like all he wanted to do was get us out as quickly as possible. I particularly appreciated the loud sniffing snort he made whilst standing right behind me. This action really added to the enjoyment of our meal.
I feel it would be churlish of me not to mention the cheese platter which I ordered for dessert thinking that they could not possibly go wrong with that. The menu said cheese platter with crackers and dried fruit and nuts. A plate the size of a saucer was placed in front of me and a lovely platter of cheese presented. At last I thought, at last something to eat which would be delicious. 'Which piece of cheese would you like'? I just looked at him and requested a small piece of each please. A look of horror followed. I was given tiny pieces of cheese on the tiny plate but no fruit from the tiny dish. I asked for some of the dried fruit and nuts please. Another look of horror, one walnut and two dates stuck together was my quota. Now the crackers. 'Which cracker madam'? An assortment please. Another look of horror as three crackers were piled on top of the cheese on the tiny plate. Please could I have a larger plate. Oh my goodness, how awful of me to make such a request.
One more thing. In the bars you are pestered continuously to buy drink. They come up to you the minute you sit down just as you pick up the drink menu. Then when you say you are just reading the menu and not quite ready yet they return in another couple of minutes and so it goes on. It feels like there is no area you can sit without being pestered to buy drink.
I apologise for such a long review. I did try and speak to the food manager but unfortunately he did not get back to me even though reception asked him to contact me. We went on this cruise to see if we liked it before booking a longer cruise. No way would we cruise P&O now.