This was cruise 29 and we watched Arcadia steam on time into her berth at Circular Quay Sydney from our apartment across the water. Boarding was efficiently handled and we were on-board and settled by midday.
Arcadia is exactly as we remembered from this time last year (except see below about passengers) with elegant decor, mostly good public rooms and on the whole good staff. Many of the Indian Staff including those on the Pursers desk did seem to struggle with understanding english and the main restaurant staff need better supervision to tighten up service delivery.
We had taken two cushions from home as we remembered from last year that the sofa in the cabin is not designed for comfort (if you have a ramrod straight back you would be fine). With our cushions in place it perfect. Our balcony cabin was fine and well fitted out. We both loved the tea and coffee tray with a kettle and mugs. A great idea as we could make a cup of tea first thing in the More
morning without having to wait for room service.
There have been lots of reviews about the "kettle and tea tray" taking up a lot of space - 2 simple solutions - either get your room steward to remove said tray from cabin or stick it in the cupboard under the desk it is on where there is plenty of room.
Sadly the flat screen TV is very small and made watching TV somewhat hard on the eyes - P & O - spend some dollars and trade in the TVs for larger ones!
The cabin interior was spotless but the floor of the balcony was not and remained very dirty until we grumbled after the fifth day. Apparently the cabin steward is only responsible for cleaning inside and not out on the balcony?
We both enjoyed the ship, the decor, the bars and the service however being midway through her annual three month world cruise both of us felt we were the youngest on-board (our ages 50 and 56!). Also most of the elderly passengers did not want to speak. One of the joys of cruising is the way (usually) people start to chat to you - this was not very evident last week.
Maybe it was a combination of the age ( in some cases great age) and very British reserve of many passengers but this did make this 7 day sector a lot less enjoyable for the two of us.
Last year from Auckland to Sydney the age difference was not so obvious however neither of us will consider a P&O UK World Cruise sector again for at least 10 years! We are quite sure that the ship would be fabulous if you are sailing out of Southampton on a 10 night med jaunt with a much younger crowd on board.
To Finish - the food was good in the dining room. The pay a surcharge Specialty restaurant was ok but did not dazzle. The Buffet is very limited although they do try at night with different themed dinners. The drinks menu is squarely aimed at the British passenger (Gin and Tonics, Pimms NO1 etc) although we loved the bar and wine list prices! Amazingly cheap and no 15% added gratuity