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30 P&O Cruises Arcadia Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

We wanted an adult only cruise in the peak summer period. This was our first P and O cruise for a few years and boy have they joined the race for the bottom. Prepare to pay for anything and everything that makes the cruise a little ... Read More
We wanted an adult only cruise in the peak summer period. This was our first P and O cruise for a few years and boy have they joined the race for the bottom. Prepare to pay for anything and everything that makes the cruise a little special. When did they start charging for room sevice?? Drinks prices on the rise to encourage the packages? Postives- Large cabin with decent size shower. White company products. Ports of call very pleasant. Shore excursions enjoyable. Tea and coffee in room. Costa coffee available. Pricing in GBP and not $ or EURO. Buffet food not too bad. Meeting shore excursion on the pier much better than sitting in a theatre. However We arrived at Southampton and the embarkation was delayed and chaotic due to a faulty gangway. No cruise staff to be seen, no water available and no chairs in the part of the building we were stuck in. The dock staff told us the equipment breaks down all the time as if this was meant to make us feel any better. Arcadia is really looking tired. Rusty and unkempt. It really needs radical work or selling on. Our balcony cabin was tatty with broken binoculars and filthy furniture. It just feels like they have given up on it. The carpets were curling up and should have been replaced. Our steward looked weary and now the tips are included did little to go the extra mile. The clientele was very old, very white and it had the ambience of the local Royal British Legion. Service was pretty dire we had the laughable 'freedom dining' which means share a table or always wait 45 minutes. Not once did a waiter introduce themselves. They just plonked the food down and rushed off to the next table. If you got a wine waiter once you were doing well. No point in having a drinks package as you would struggle to get a refill. The captain was miserable and avoided all contact with the customers. I guess that attitude works it way down the crew ladder. The smell of sewage/drains was ever present around deck three. How can they leave that situation unchecked? The casino slots were museum worthy. How tricky is it to replace the slot machines once every decade? This will be our final cruise with P & O. Princess and Celebrity give a better service even If they also have some older ships. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This cruise was a disater,stuck in Malaga for 3 days to carry out repairs that were known of in southampton.if booking a cruise beware,they reserve the right to change the schedule at a moment's notice.cabin staff were grumpy,we ... Read More
This cruise was a disater,stuck in Malaga for 3 days to carry out repairs that were known of in southampton.if booking a cruise beware,they reserve the right to change the schedule at a moment's notice.cabin staff were grumpy,we couldn't see out of the window it was filthy,first job on board for us was to clean the cabin,hairs in the bath and the bed from previous guests.food was at best average,ocean grill was very good as was the spa.the habit of reserving Sun beds is rife and out of control not managed..the crew were constantly working on the lifeboats with the prom deck blocked off for most of the cruise,the noise was horrendous.if this is p&o standard it falls well short.Water on board is as expensive as beer,there was an outbreak of norro virus. My tip for going on this ship pack a bottle of anti bacterial spray.I asked for some hand gel but was refused.on a positive note the entertainment was first class.but wouldn't book with them again.loyalty is all very well but value for money is sadly lacking,a tired looking ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Arcadia is an Adult only ship which suits me. Took my mum and a friend and we shared an inside cabin which was larger than many inside ones. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, very little queuing. This was our 1st time on ... Read More
Arcadia is an Adult only ship which suits me. Took my mum and a friend and we shared an inside cabin which was larger than many inside ones. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, very little queuing. This was our 1st time on Arcadia and I was very pleasantly surprised. She is a lovely mid sized ship and easy to navigate round. I was worried initially after reading some of the reviews but I can honestly say that this was the nicest ship I have sailed on with P&O. We had no problems which affected us. If I wanted to be really picky, then some of the lifts were out of use and some of the ladies toilets were also out of order, but there were plenty others around the ship to use. The food was plentiful and tastefully served in the Meridian restaurant, our waiters were very good and attentive. Arcadia has a wonderful 3 tier theatre with comfortable seating and the Headliners entertainment team were the best I have seen on any P&O ship yet. We have another cruise booked on this ship in December and can't wait. Oh and also went through the Bay of Biscay which I always dread and for the 1st time EVER, never felt any movement and didn't have to wear my sea bands. One very happy passenger! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our 2nd cruise on P&O after sailing on Britannia last year which we had immensely enjoyed. The reason we chose this cruise was because the dates suited us well, the itinerary was interesting with new ports of call like La ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise on P&O after sailing on Britannia last year which we had immensely enjoyed. The reason we chose this cruise was because the dates suited us well, the itinerary was interesting with new ports of call like La Verdon and Cherbourg in France which we hadn't been to before and the price was great with free parking at Southampton and £45pp on board credit. Moreover P&O removed gratuities from May this year. We drove to Southampton from NW London which took only about 1hr 20mins. We drove straight to mayflower terminal, took the luggage off the car which was swiftly taken away by the porters, handed the keys of the car to an attendant who took the car and parked it in a secure car park. We made our way inside the terminal and were given a boarding card and asked to wait. Although our boarding time was 3pm on boarding paperwork, we were inside the terminal by 12pm. After a short wait, we were asked to go and check in and once that was complete, we boarded the ship by 12.45pm and were asked to go for lunch to the buffet. Whilst waiting for the lift, an announcement was made that cabins were ready. So we headed straight to the cabin to drop off our hand luggage. Our cabin was on deck 8 in forward part of the ship. Lovely cabin with a large balcony, good size of cabin with huge flat screen tv, lots of storage space and a bathroom with a bath rather than a shower cubicle. This was unusual as we hadn't had a balcony cabin with a bath since our cruise on Zuiderdam ( Holland & America line) back in 2003. The cabin was always kept clean by our room attendant, Ariel, who we saw daily. Couldn't fault with the cleanliness of the cabin. Luggage had arrived before we got to our cabins which was really very quick. We then proceeded for lunch to the buffet restaurant on deck 9. Lunch was simple with not many vegetarian choices however was adequate. We then explored rest of the ship which was very elegant with 2 lovely pools ( one of which had a retractable roof), lots of deck space, plenty of indoor and outdoor bars, 2 speciality restaurants (Atul Kochhar's Indian restaurant Sindhu and Marco Pierres seafood restaurant), lovely 2 tier theatre, English style pub, casino, show room for music events, screening room for films, library, spa, gym and of course the main dining rooms. Everything looked great with new carpets and decor. Seemed the ship had a makeover recently. However what the ship lacked was a grand atrium like what Britannia had. The reception was on deck one which had a seating area and shore excursion and loyalty desks nearby but no coffee bar or anything. Hence most of the indoor activities occurred on decks 2 and 3. Despite the inside of the ship being very elegant, the outside of the ship didn't seem to be very well maintained. Lots of rust marks everywhere. The ship needed to be painted through out on the outside. We rarely find this a problem on other ships as there are always crew members painting away but on this ship we never saw anyone maintaining the outside areas of the ship. However indoors was very well looked after which mattered more to us as passengers. The mandatory safety drill occurred around 5.30pm and due to location of our cabin, we had to go to theatre for our drill. It took about 20mins or so and once that was complete we put the life jackets back in our cabins and headed for the sail away party on the open bar located on the aft of the ship. Since drinks are not included in the price of your cruise fare, you had to purchase all the soft and alcoholic drinks ( except coffee and tea unless you wanted costa coffee). The drink prices were reasonable with a pint of beer costing between£4 and £4.80. Small glass of wine was around £4 and large around £6. Bottles of wine started from around £17. You could choose to have all your drinks included at a cost of £40pp per day. As this was pricy, I guess not many would have chosen that. The good thing about P&O unlike many other cruise lines is that you could bring in 1L of wine or spirit per person when you board. Hence we took advantage of that and brought 1L of gin and wine. You could only drink these in the cabins though. However despite paying for beers, wines and some cocktails, we ended up with a surprisingly small bar bill. We had chosen anytime dining so were allocated dining room on deck 3. Unfortunately there was always a wait to get seated in the dining room if you didn't want to share a table. Hence were given a buzzer and the waits were generally from 15 to 45mins on some evenings. This was the biggest disappointment for us as in most other cruise lines which offer freedom dining, this is not the case. I think P&O need to look at having more tables for 2s and 4s. However once we got our table, the service was great and the vegetarian food options were very good with a seperate vegetarian food menu on offer. Hence you didn't have to order meals in advance for following evening which was great. Loved there starters and mains and I don't think we had a single meal which we didn't like. Desserts were good too but less choice compared to some other cruise lines. However their cheese plate was excellent with different types of cheese on offer daily. Very pleased with that. Show times in main theatre were at 8.45pm and 10.30pm daily. Due to the long waiting times to get a dinner table, we rarely could make to the 8.45pm show in time and found 10.30pm show very late. However managed to see most of the production shows which were all very good. Loved their circus (featuring music from Greatest showman) and Queen (featuring music by rock group Queen) shows. We were disappointed by the guest entertainers especially a guy called Grumblewood who somehow featured in 3 shows. Not sure why P&O can't get some good show performers. The 2 girl band Harmony had good voices but Motown music is not something we really like. Again they performed in 2 shows. Surely P&O could have got some other guest performers rather than repeating shows from same artists. There were quizzes, karaoke, bingo, music performances, etc. happening in other bars and lounges of the ship every evening. So plenty to do in the ship and no chance of getting bored. Casino was not very big and only had 2 working poker machines. Films were shown daily in screening room but as it was a smaller venue, needed to get tickets in advance from library or reception. Never got a chance to go there as there was plenty of other things to do. Buffet breakfasts and lunches were disappointing especially if you are a vegetarian. Not much choice compared to buffet meals in other ships we have been on. This is where P&O needs to significantly improve. Also on sea days, it was difficult to find seating in the buffet. Seems seating is a big issue on this ship, whether it's buffet or in main dining rooms. Didn't find that being a big issue on Britannia last year. The speciality restaurant Sindhu was excellent and definitely worth £20pp. Highly recommend anyone who likes Indian food to go there for a meal. Service was good and unlike main dining room, your table was reserved and you were seated as soon as you got there. We didn't get a chance to go to Marco Pierres restaurant but menu looked good and even had a few items for vegetarians. Booking for that restaurant was £17.50pp with certain items like lobsters having a supplement. There were 2 formal black tie nights where we had to wear suits for dinner. This was compulsory in Main dining rooms, speciality restaurants and most bars and lounges. I think P&O should make this optional like most cruise lines are doing these days. Not many want to bring suits whilst on vacation. Generally we enjoy captains night but this time the timing was odd at 8pm. Hence we missed most of it and got there at the tail end as we were late in finishing dinner thanks to long wait in getting a table despite getting to dining room early. Moreover as this ship doesn't have an atrium as such, the captains speech was in the retractable pool area which doesn't give the feel of a proper captains gala event of everyone being gathered around the atrium as we had done in Britannia last year. All the ports of call were excellent and we were lucky to have no rain on any of the days. In fact in Guernsey and Santander, we had completely clear sunny days. In La Verdon and Cherbourg, it was partly cloudy but sunny and warm especially in Bordeaux where temperatures hit 26c. Both the sea days were dry too. The first sea day was very sunny and warm whilst second was bit cooler and partly cloudy. We had shore excursions booked with P&O at every port. In Guernsey (the only tender port), we did an excursion to Isle of Sark. This was the best excursion we did. Took a 45min scenic ferry ride from Guernsey to Sark. Lovely car free island. First we did a walking coastal route tour for 2 hours and then had free time. So much to see and do on this pretty island. Would love to go back there again one day. In Santander we did a trip to Bilbao and visited Guggenheim museum. Another lovely excursion however we felt we needed another couple of hours in Bilbao which is a lovely city. So will need to go back there again some day. In La Verdon, we did a trip to Bordeaux. Passed through the vineyards and chateaus on our way there. Had few hours to explore this beautiful city on our own before going to a wine museum which was excellent. In our last port of call, Cherbourg, we did an excursion to Mont St Michel which was an amazing experience. The only downside was that it was nearly 2.25 hours drive from Cherbourg each way through scenic countryside. However once we got there, we were mesmerised with the beauty and setting of this historic religious place. Spent 4 hours there (half with guide and rest free time) and time went fairly quickly before our drive back to ship. Highly recommend everyone to visit this place once in their lifetime. The week went very quickly and enjoyed every moment of it. Plenty of activities to do on sea days and hence no time to get bored. Also the great weather helped to take advantage of the outdoors. The only issue we had was there was no hot water in cabins on our side of ship due to boiler breakdown for nearly 1.5 days. I had to report it several times before it got fixed. However they offered us to have hot showers in spa if we wanted to. Other than that, we encounters no problems. The service was very good in most areas of the ship and generally most staff greeted and smiled away. However staff in buffet areas were not very friendly and lacked knowledge of food on offer eg. on one sea day they had burgers in pool area but no chips or French fries. I asked around 3 members of staff about location of chips and was sent on a goose chase around the whole buffet area but never managed to find any. Disembarkation was the best we had seen on any ship. We were asked to leave main baggage outside cabin on previous night which is a norm on most ships. On day of departure we were asked to vacate cabins by 8am after breakfast and wait in lounges. No sooner we got there, we were told we could leave ship if we wanted to (despite normal disembarkation time not scheduled till after 9am). We disembarked straight away and after collecting our luggage, proceeded to collect our car and were on the road soon after 8.30am and home before 10am. I highly recommend this cruise for anyone wanting a stress free cruise without any hassle of flights and wanting to visit interesting ports in Spain, France and Channel Islands. We are already planning one for next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Don't believe anyone who tells you that it is a big ship so it won't be affected by the weather. We set off in a force nine gale. Spent the night being sea sick in the cabin, only to be told that we couldn't berth in ... Read More
Don't believe anyone who tells you that it is a big ship so it won't be affected by the weather. We set off in a force nine gale. Spent the night being sea sick in the cabin, only to be told that we couldn't berth in Zebrugge next morning due to the weather and were heading back out to sea. All day the wind howled, for 12 hours the boat rocked and rolled, went round and round in circles and we were unable to leave the cabin or the toilet due to sea sickness. Missed out on all the meals as so unwell. There followed another awful night sailing back to Southampton in gale force winds. I have never felt so sea sick in my life. This was my first cruise which I was so looking forward to, but NEVER again ! Total waste of money and no compensation for not berthing at destination. So please think before you go. On the plus side Embarkation and Disembarkation was quick and efficient. Cabin was clean, warm and comfortable. Ship was in good condition. Can't comment on entertainment and activities as was unable to do anything. Can't comment on dining experience. Service from staff was good Can't comment on shore excursions as ship didn't berth in destination. Did not travel with children Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Love this ship, itinerary took us to a couple of new places. The ship was full but never felt crowded. Food was lovely... I put on 4lbs. I had to make a choice every night...and the strawberry sundae was delicious! We had the best cabin ... Read More
Love this ship, itinerary took us to a couple of new places. The ship was full but never felt crowded. Food was lovely... I put on 4lbs. I had to make a choice every night...and the strawberry sundae was delicious! We had the best cabin steward ever, Shiva, he was so efficient and helpful. Mum uses a wheelchair and all the staff went out of their way to help her. The doors to the Prom deck were not electric so quite a challenge to get her out there, although there always seemed to be a helpful person to hold doors open. Leaving the Belvedere and going out onto deck 9 by the Aquarius pool there were 2 sets of doors to go through, one set automatic and the other not... I came home with a few bruises as I struggled to hold a door open and push mum through at the same time. Mum has a food allergy and was given the next days menu each evening. She could choose anything and they would make it specially for her. The new menus had lots of choices, I struggled every night to decide what to eat. The daily roast and grill really suited mum, I feel she ate the best on this cruise than any other. Assisted embarkation and disembarkation worked really well, luggage was outside our cabin when we got to it. We had a lovely cruise and we are looking forward to our next one, back on Arcadia next year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Having sailed on our first cruise on Britannia last year in the Caribbean, thought we’d try a mini cruise as a weekend break and an opportunity to see what the experience of departing on a cruise from Southampton is like. So, our choice ... Read More
Having sailed on our first cruise on Britannia last year in the Caribbean, thought we’d try a mini cruise as a weekend break and an opportunity to see what the experience of departing on a cruise from Southampton is like. So, our choice of vessel was basically made for us but I was looking forward to trying another ship in the P&O fleet… The boarding process was a breeze, I think it took us 40 minutes from self-parking the car at the Mayflower terminal to getting in our cabin. We even got fast tracked to check in, which was a nice touch. Not sure why though as we’re not on any loyalty tier yet having only been on the one P&O cruise previously. Luggage arrived only about 15 mins after we got to the cabin, which allowed us to unpack and get right up to the Aquarius bar to find a spot and have a few drinks in the lovely (but unexpected!) Southampton sunshine. It was very busy in that bar but never difficult to flag down one of the waiting staff and the wait for drinks was not long at all. Given the duration of the cruise there were lots of hen / 50th / 40th birthday parties and a fair number of stag parties on board; as a result the age group was broad, not dissimilar to our cruise in the Carribbean, with fewer elderly passengers and more of our age, 40s & 50s. Now it’s fair to say that there was a party atmosphere in the Aquarius bar / sun deck and it wasn’t peaceful and quiet – I’m sure it would have been a bit loud for some but we loved the party vibe. It never got out of hand, though. Now I know it’s not to everyone’s taste, but we also enjoyed the Great British Sailaway on the Saturday up there (although having a few beers definitely helps!) We were Freedom dining and apart from not reading on the card that you should go to the desk on Deck 3, and as a result queuing on Deck 2 for no reason, we didn’t have to wait at all on the first night when we shared. On the second night, we asked for a table for two and only waited about 20 mins with a pager whilst having a drink. Food was great, the same standard as we remembered from Britannia, including the cooked breakfast in the MDR. I’ve read that Arcadia is looking tired in the public areas; well, we didn’t see any evidence of that, even though our previous experience was a ship only 18 months old. The only bars other than the one on the sun deck that we tried were the Intermezzo and the Crow’s Nest which we always enjoy. We didn’t get the chance to see any entertainment on this occasion given the brevity of the cruise, plus the main act on Friday, Killer Queen, we’d seen before only last year. Our cabin steward was good and all the other staff we interacted with were just fine. We loved the port call at St Peter Port, despite the fact that a tender was needed; there’s no doubt that a port visit where the ship is alongside is by far the best option, but the crew handled the tendering process efficiently and we waited no longer than 15 mins for our number to be called. We waited on the quayside for about 20-30 mins to get the tender back, which was fine and there was water on hand in case it got too warm for anyone. We didn’t pay for any excursions and did our own thing. St Peter Port is a lovely small town, narrow streets with shops both well-known UK brands and more boutique style. We found a great craft beer bar the Golden Lion, and then wandered over to Castle Cornet where the views were excellent over the town and the bay towards where the ship was docked. To have done it justice though we should have devoted more than the hour we had available, given it costs £10.50 each to get in. Disembarkation was even easier than embarkation, as soon as we had breakfast we went straight out (they were early calling from the Meridian), and we were in the car by 9:15am. Overall this was a really fun trip and a great way to spend a weekend away, and sample what Arcadia has to offer. I wouldn’t choose to sail on here for a longer cruise if I’m honest but that’s just down to the fewer select dining choices versus Britannia. The promenade deck is plus, but unlike some other diehard cruisers I’m not about to use this as a primary selection criteria! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Wife treated me to this cruise as a birthday present St.Peterport and Bruges being two places we'd never visited before. Couldn't fault embarkation at Southampton and luggage was already in cabin when we got there but we ... Read More
Wife treated me to this cruise as a birthday present St.Peterport and Bruges being two places we'd never visited before. Couldn't fault embarkation at Southampton and luggage was already in cabin when we got there but we immediately noticed the air conditioning wasn't working although the steward was straight on the case and it was fixed within a few hours. The cabin itself looked tired and not as clean as some of the other ships we've been on indeed the whole ship seemed to look a bit tired and jaded as did some of the staff in the buffet restaurant who didn't seem very happy . I seem to recall reading that she's due for a refit in October and I could see why. Our toilet stopped working after 3 days as did several others in the public areas and several leaks became evident in various areas with buckets strategically placed. We dined in both the Meridian and Belvedere restaurants, the service in the Meridian was great, even when my wife on the formal night couldn't find anything that tempted her the head waiter arranged an alternative menu for her whilst I tried the Marco Pierre White menu which I have to say was delicious. Whether it's because the Arcadia is a smaller ship I found the food didn't measure up in the buffet restaurant to other ships we've been on e.g Celebrity, Ncl, or even Thomson. Our main disappointment with the cruise was being unable to be tendered ashore at Guernsey due to the winds being too strong and then leaving nearly 3 hours early on the Thursday and having a very slow cruise up the channel to anchor up off the coast of Belgium at 5pm on Friday ready to dock at Zeebruge Saturday, begs the question why couldn't a plan B be put into effect when the Captain knows the weather is too severe when he first arrives at a port that requires a tender ashore rather than waste a whole day hanging around. When we did arrive in Zeebruge we had booked a See Bruge in a day excursion which I have to say ,due to the excellent guide we had we both really enjoyed. We're booked on the Britannia in October around the Med and hope it will restore our faith in P&O because we're also booked on th Azura next June for Iceland , but having done the Balltic on Azura can't envisige any problem. As regards on board entertainment nothing really tempted us to see any shows in the main theatre although on other cruises we always have , we did catch a duo in one bar called Lyrical Flame and remember remarking to my wife on finishing our drink come on let's leave the crime scene, nuff said. My wife used the spa and had a pedicure and manicure which she enjoyed but she did point out to me her nails had started to chip within 2 days. It's fair to say we've had much better cruises the highlight of this one being the Bruge experience rather than the ship experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Chose this cruise for a bit of nostalgia as once worked for this cruise line years ago, we have done many cruise lines for holidays over the years, RCIL, Princess, Holland, P&O Australia , MSC and Marco Polo etc, we thought we'd ... Read More
Chose this cruise for a bit of nostalgia as once worked for this cruise line years ago, we have done many cruise lines for holidays over the years, RCIL, Princess, Holland, P&O Australia , MSC and Marco Polo etc, we thought we'd take my parents on this one for a short Jaunt over the channel, Food was very average, and absolutely no quality control with the deserts, puds were dry and sauces tasteless, but what really left a bad taste in our minds during and after the cruise was the so called "Black Tie Night" now we are both used to formals (which is what we expected) and in todays terms has always meant smart, trousers, shirt and tie as minimum, needless to say , not on this one, we were told , no jacket ,no entry (with the words "ENFORCED" used, but we can use the Buffet or speciality restaurant, (how nice of them) unfortunately the buffet on the night was dismal , limited and appalling, and i was virtually fuming, now i normally carry a waist coat and jacket but overseas travel weight limits us, what is most annoying is the feeling of being penalised for not being a traditionalist, don't get me wrong i like tradition and silver service along with fine food, but this is a ship that does neither, its a slap the plate on the table and whos next. certainly wont be rushing back, and its sad to see such an iconic cruise line go down hill and not keep up with the times Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Arcadia is looking dated. We have cruised with P&O for a few years now, but each time we do so, we spot ever more "cut-backs" in service, standards and facilities. Too few staff for the sort of personal attention P&O ... Read More
Arcadia is looking dated. We have cruised with P&O for a few years now, but each time we do so, we spot ever more "cut-backs" in service, standards and facilities. Too few staff for the sort of personal attention P&O promise - clearly an area where cut-backs have been made in recent years. Despite these cut-backs, prices have increased by considerably more than inflation would justify! Whoever designed the current cabin layout should have been sacked - weak reading lights and light switches directly where one rests one's head when sitting up in bed; a bath only big enough for a child; a TV mounted on the stained wall which clearly shows signs where something has previously been removed from the wall! A distinct lack of seating on sea days throughout the ship. Breakfast and Lunch in the Self service Restaurant were poor with a limited selection; items often ran out but took some time to be replenished. Evening entertainment was a mixed bag; one of the planned shows, we had seen twice before! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have spent several Christmas holidays on cruises and have loved them! However, this was our first time with P and O and we were sadly disappointed with the whole ship. The Baltic itinerary was enjoyable and we were well prepared for ... Read More
We have spent several Christmas holidays on cruises and have loved them! However, this was our first time with P and O and we were sadly disappointed with the whole ship. The Baltic itinerary was enjoyable and we were well prepared for bad weather which was surprisingly pleasant except for a serious storm which meant we could not get to Amsterdam. We didn't mind the enforced change of plan ( visited Le Havre instead - not too exciting!!) as this can happen on sea cruises. BUT - the ship was a total disappointment in so many ways. We paid extra to ensure our choice of dinner sitting but found ourselves on "Freedom" which we did not want and joined a queue of many others wishing to change their dining arrangement. We accepted a table on 1st sitting which proved FREEZING COLD - unbearably so as it was right by the back wall of the dining room. After several nights we were placed on a table with a delightful welcoming couple and at last we could dine without wearing our outdoor fleece jackets! The food offering was of very poor quality with few vegetables and strange menu options often not properly described ( 3 chocolate desserts on one night / a salad starter with no mention on the menu of the cold poached egg on the top).The Christmas dinner was a disgrace - 2 overcooked sprouts and a shrivelled sausage and stuffing garnish accompanied the turkey. The buffet restaurant was also poor and breakfast was equally disappointing. I had to ask for a banana and hunt for a natural yogurt . The only bread was off a cheap and nasty sliced loaf. I felt the ship had little festive atmosphere with little in the way of Christmas decorations in many public areas including bars. I was concerned about the staff, many of whom had a poor command of spoken English and seemed to have had little training for their roles. Our cabin steward did a very good job but some of the bar and buffet staff seemed demoralised and lacked any enthusiasm for their jobs which impacted on customer service and the general atmosphere. The evening entertainment options were OK,but the most fun we had on the entire cruise was the crew pantomime. There was no real party atmosphere and the late night dancing spot fell very flat. We have cruised with other companies but sadly. will probably not be going with P and O again unless there is a real change in attitude and evidence of an improvement in standards to match their competitors in a similar price range. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This was a wonderfully exciting itinerary taking in Belfast, Stornoway in the Western Isles of Scotland, 3 ports in Iceland, Shetland and Orkney. A rare chance to turn right out of Southampton and head for the Celtic Sea, lovely views of ... Read More
This was a wonderfully exciting itinerary taking in Belfast, Stornoway in the Western Isles of Scotland, 3 ports in Iceland, Shetland and Orkney. A rare chance to turn right out of Southampton and head for the Celtic Sea, lovely views of the Cornish coast bathed in sunlight. Embarkation was amazing we arrived at our allotted time (please see your e ticket and take careful note) we went straight to check in , from there to security and we were onboard within 30 mins with our cases outside our rooms. P and O prioritises those who arrive at the time on their ticket - so no waiting around. We left our car with the capable and friendly staff at CPS. Our Cabin C10 was an inside double on Canada deck, ample storage space etc - perfectly adequate for the price paid, the extra added advantage is the forward balcony accessed 10 steps away at the end of the corridor - down side is excessive movement in heavy seas being at the front of the vessel, if prone to seasickness bring Kwells or reception have prescription strength sea sickness pills. Arcadia is an Adults only ship - there was a good mix of ages - we are under 40 and this was our 15th cruise. Our dinner table was amazing - we were a table of 6 - we had requested a 2 but I am so happy we had our dinner companions and new friends -two of whom were solo travellers ( how P and O successfully match table companions is amazing) . We were allocated a window table at the aft end of the Meridian restaurant lower and we as usual requested first sitting - we prefer to eat at 6.30 its usually around 8pm when we leave the restaurant. KK and Chris our waiters were as ever amazing ! I am a difficult eater and KK selected great choices when I couldn't make up my mind. Most days there were three "P and O Favourites" on the menu most evenings - prawn cocktail, sirloin steak with béarnaise sauce and bread and butter pudding. Food is modern british classics generally geared for the UK market. The weather was not the greatest but this was northern Europe at the end of the season - still long days but choppy seas and fairly inclement weather - tender operations had to be stopped at the call at Stornoway. Iceland is an amazing destination - my advice would be use Grayline Iceland for your Golden Circle tours or similar - so be aware Iceland is VERY expensive - pre book all your activities to make your budget and your time ashore go further. Eat well at the ship before going ashore- a Panini and water at one of the waterfalls was over £12.00 - the Icelandic knitted jumpers etc were over £100.00 Whales are in abundance to watch from the ship on the Fjord leading toe Akeuri, we saw over 14 whales on the approach in the early morning - make the effort to hit the open decks. The Myvatn Mineral baths is a great alternative to the Blue Lagoon - we went on and P and O excursion - we didn't really have enough time to enjoy it long enough but it was the only way to get there - being about 2 hours from the Berth. Shetland was beautiful - the sun shone for us and we went on an excursion to see Carole's Ponies (as seen on the Island Parish) then ate fish and chips in the sun - again it was a tender port but p and o laid on hot drinks etc on the quayside (was this because the Noble Caledonian Vessel was tied up alongside??? ) Do make an effort and get out on an excursion on these Scottish islands its well worth it and the local guides are amazing - our guide at Kirkwall on Orkney had been asleep in her bed when HMS Royal Oak was torpedoed in world war 2! The ladies craft stalls in the terminal building at Kirkwall are a great place to do your gift shopping. Highland Park Distillery worth a visit. we were also treated to a pipe band as we sailed away from Orkney. P and O's own entertainment is becoming somewhat samey for regular customers - we had Roy Walker of catchphrase fame, The Opera Boys and Electra - some of the Headiners singing left pitch to be desired!! Guest speakers were not really relevant to the cruise - well I suppose one of the royal yachtsman talking about royal yacht brittania was a tenuous connection as the royal family took an annual western isles cruise. Arcadia cough was audible in the crows nest on the last see day but on the whole a good standard of health and hygiene was maintained. The buffet was not too inspiring but neptunes grill made a great lunch alternative. our last sea day was so rough that the headliners show had to be cancelled. The Screeening Room showed a great range of up to date movies. On the whole a great cruise on Arcadia which all ran to plan. Many many repeat customers who are loyal to P and O and the Arcadia. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our first taste of a cruise and 6 nights appeared to be an ideal duration. We really enjoyed our time on her. The food was of an excellent standard in the restaurants and for a small fee we tried the upmarket Shindu Indian ... Read More
This was our first taste of a cruise and 6 nights appeared to be an ideal duration. We really enjoyed our time on her. The food was of an excellent standard in the restaurants and for a small fee we tried the upmarket Shindu Indian Restaurant and the Ocean Grill restaurant (twice). Both were excellent, but the Ocean Grill particularly outstanding. Our cabin was what we expected, comfortable and of a good standard. I'm pleased to say that we were never bored as there was plenty to do on board. The service, in my opinion was excellent. The staff were all very attentive and couldn't do enough to help and always had a smile on their faces. Our favourite place to relax was The Crows Nest, with great views to the front and the price of the drinks no more than you would pay in your local pub. We also tried the gym and hydrotherapy pool which we would definately use more if we returned to her. We chose not to go on any excursions as we preferred to explore La Rochelle, Bilbao and St Peter's Port ourselves. Free shuttle buses to the towns were provided as were regular return trips back to the ship. The ship appeared to be in very good condition and after several days was very easy to navigate around. Our excursion on Arcadia was very positive and left us with some great memories. So much so we are now looking forward to another cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was my first cruise and I was travelling alone, I wanted to try cruising without committing to a) too much time on board or b) a really expensive, lengthy cruise just in case cruising wasn't for me. Admittedly my expectations ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I was travelling alone, I wanted to try cruising without committing to a) too much time on board or b) a really expensive, lengthy cruise just in case cruising wasn't for me. Admittedly my expectations were mixed having heard good and bad reports about both P&O and Arcadia herself. I now think that some reviews were maybe a little harsh, or some people got very unlucky! I took the Intercruises/Cruise Connect coach service advised by P&O from Nottingham to Southampton on embarkation day. The bonus of using this service meant that embarkation cards were given to us on the coach. By the time I had perched on a seat and filled in my health declaration our embarkation card colour and letter was being called. I felt a bit bad for the people who had clearly watched me walk in, sit down and almost immediately get called up for check-in! Check-in was fast and efficient. The lady at the desk was friendly but got the job done quickly and I progressed through security with no issues and straight on the ship. Having managed to avoid the photographer I found my way to my cabin. It would be helpful to have a sign as you embark telling you which deck you are embarking onto but this was a minor niggle, and would really only be necessary at the start of the cruise as the ship is easy to navigate once you have got your orientation. The cabin was larger than I expected, and within minutes of my arrival my cabin steward came to introduce himself with a card confirming my dining arrangements. I will agree with previous reviews at this point that my cabin was very tired. There were some historic marks on the sheets (looked like ink), the sofa/sofa bed sank a little when I sat on it, and the bathroom was very tired with cracks in the floor and towels that had lost their fluffiness. I looked past this as much as possible, after all I was really only sleeping in there. It was an inside cabin, so there was no need to spend time in there to look at the view! There was a sailaway party on the first evening, but with it being a Winter cruise it lacked some of the care free sunshine qualities that I imagine would be a real excitement on summer cruises. The roof was over the pool which would be open in better conditions and the warmth of the people had condensated the windows so it wasn't really possible to see that we were moving! The entertainment team did their best to extract some enthusiasm, as did the photographers, but I think these parties work better on longer, sunnier cruises! After a wander around the ship, a quick shower and a change of clothes I headed to dinner at the Meridian Restaurant. I was on freedom dining and had heard horror stories of people waiting for hours to be seated, so I went a little earlier than I would normally eat. I was seated immediately, completing a table of 8 that was a mix of couples and other solo travellers who were all very friendly. As I was the last to be seated the food order was promptly taken and although I wasn't blown away by the choice of food, it was very tasty and very nicely presented. The wait staff were attentive but not instrusive and it never took long to get 8 plates for each course to the table. Day 1 was a sea day so I took the opportunity of walking the three laps of the prom deck to get a mile under my belt, and got to witness some lovely rainbows disappearing into the sea. After this it was time to warm up with a coffee in the crows nest while perusing the daily Horizon and planning the rest of the day. After heading up to the Belvedere for a small salad for lunch I attended a session in the Casino where one of the casino staff talked us through all of the tables as an introduction to the games on board. I particularly enjoyed a taster of the 3 card poker. Then I sat in the Piano Bar with a drink and a book for a couple of hours. As I had planned excursions for all three port days I decided that today would be my best opportunity for afternoon tea. While I was impressed with the quality of what I was served, the staff seemed underprepared for the numbers of people that turned up. Some tables were already set with cakes while others weren't, some tables got sandwiches and tea first while we started with crumpets and teacakes, which seemed a little out of sequence, but I was sharing a table with people who were light hearted and we laughed about it all eventually. A little disappointing though. Another lovely dinner for black tie night, and I made it to the show tonight too. Enjoyable, but nothing to write home about. Day 2 and I was up early for a buffet breakfast after watching the ship dock in Amsterdam. In the morning I walked into Amsterdam centre which was a mere ten minutes from the ship, after blasting around the main sites of interest I headed back to the ship for a quick bite to eat before my afternoon excursion to see some windmills and cheesemaking in the Dutch countryside. It was nice to be away from the hustle and bustle for a few hours, and the tour guide was really knowledgeable and informative. Tonight I decided to dine alone for a bit of peace and quiet after a busy day and was touched that the drinks waitress took a few minutes to chat to me during a busy shift. The show tonight was a comedian, and after hearing a fellow passenger complaining most of the afternoon about cruise comedians, I was impressed by him (all of the 'usual' cruise jokes that the grumpy lady predicted were none existent!). Day 3 and I woke to watch us docking in Zeebrugge. I made the most of a dry morning by looking at the view from the sun deck and had a leisurely breakfast in the Meridian before taking another trip to Damme, a small but pretty village, a bus trip around the edge of Bruges taking in the windmills and a chocolate shop, and Loppem castle, a small but beautiful castle on the outskirts of Bruges. Back to the ship for a chill, shower and change before dinner and by far the best show of the cruise, a four piece male harmony group called Troubadour. They were so good in fact that I went to both shows, and was duly impressed both times. At the second show I met a group of fun-loving girls who found out that I was cruising alone and kindly asked if I wanted to join them for the rest of the evening, however I politely declined as I needed a good nights sleep before... Day 4 and again another early dock into Le Havre. Today I had to be off the ship as soon as possible to take a full day trip to Paris. It was a long coach trip but this allowed most of us to sleep! The tour guide was friendly again and pointed out some local sights as we left Le Havre and then left us to sleep! On arriving in Paris, our amazing coach driver negotiated his way around the sights for us, including driving through the very narrow arches at the Louvre. Around 1.30 we stopped at Notre Dame and we had a couple of hours of time to wander round and get something to eat. I don't think I made the most of the time in Paris, but that is entirely my fault! After boarding the coach again we made a quick stop at the Eiffel Tower for some last minute pictures as the light began to fade. On the way out of Paris we again passed some more impressive sights, and a smooth, speedy coach trip back to the ship. Due to the nature of the excursion I knew we would be some of the last on board but in fact our coach was THE last one to return, so almost as soon as we got back on board it was time to set sail again. As I had had a long day and it was getting late, I decided to eat in the Belvedere for the first time in the evening. It was an Asian themed night which I was looking forward to but the queue seemed to move slowly so even though the food looked good and tasted good, by the time I got to it, most of the food was cold. I decided to skip the show tonight and pack so that I was ready for disembarkation in the morning. Overnight there was a smooth crossing back to Southampton, and disembarkation went without a hitch. I would recommend to anyone to get to your disembarkation lounge early. My lounge time was 9am but I was there from around 8.15 as I had an early breakfast and couldn't return to my cabin after 8am. By 8.30 the officer in charge of our lounge was disembarking me and the other early birds. By 9am I had found my luggage and was on my coach. The coach trip back was smooth and fast as I was the second stop. I would highly recommend the coach connections if you don't fancy driving to Southampton. It was convenient, the drivers were friendly, and everything ran to time. All of the staff that I came across in passing were very friendly, the bar staff in particular. I would cruise with P&O again, but maybe on a bigger, newer ship. My parents have always spoken highly of their Caribbean cruise on Azura a couple of years ago. If P&O want to keep Arcadia in commission, I would highly recommend spending money renovating the cabins, and it would be nice to have a more impressive atrium area - this was a little underwhelming. I'm already booked to cruise again next Summer on the Celebrity Reflection, so it will be interesting to compare the two - even though I know Reflection is a much newer ship. On the whole this was a good introduction to cruising, but I don't think I could have survived more than 7 nights on this ship, there just wasn't enough to do. Maybe in Summer when the weather is good and the outdoor pool and sun decks are more useable it would be more bearable, but in Winter there just isn't enough to do on this 'mid-sized' ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We thought of checking out the Arcadia, as she sails around the world at seemingly reasonable fares, in order to have a base to judge her appeal for some months. Good that we did, as we did not like the overall impression. It started with ... Read More
We thought of checking out the Arcadia, as she sails around the world at seemingly reasonable fares, in order to have a base to judge her appeal for some months. Good that we did, as we did not like the overall impression. It started with the check-in, which was slow and ‘massive’. When on board, we were recommended to go to the Lido deck, the ‘Belvedere’ to have lunch or a snack. Not only did we struggle to find some seats, as all the deck in- and outside was packed. Then we found a seat and after some 10 minutes a waiter came to ask: “any drinks?” … not welcome on board, may I help you, or some other niceties, yes you were calibrated to the tone and style of the Belvedere. The ‘waiters’ with the white uniforms and one to 3 stripes did nothing but to check out their staff and were talking with each other – all the cruise long. No welcome words to the passengers with notable exceptions. … The waiter then took our order, after delivering the drinks menu and served, after some ten minutes again, the bottle of chardonnay, with plastic glasses. We refused to drink out of these and the waiter then took another 5 minutes to bring some real glasses. The wine was good but for some 18 pound St.+ you would expect a decent drop. The food, all self service of course, note: the waiters were only there to clear the tables and ask for drinks, possibly. The waiters clearing tables, had to wear blue most unappealing rubber gloves. Large buffet style servings reminding us more of mass university style food halls, all ok but not presented with any finesse nor ‘love’. Roasts, English style, potatoes, chips, some rice dishes and stews and a few other servings, every day, lunch and evening the same loveless concoctions. The desert glass cabinet had some small fruit tartlets, vanilla- and chocolate puddings and boring cream tarts, far away from any great Austrian cakes or deserts. We only checked it out once more and passed by a few other times to confirm the lack of variety. All very, very ordinary. The coffee out of theses huge machines, one type of mug only, tasted as expected, watery, flavourless and sad. Real milk was unavailable, only the skim type. Juices and tap-water again out of plastic coming from big dispensing machines. Not correct to say that all food was substandard, the dining room offerings were very good whilst no high quality gourmet style, but enjoyable. The waiters, mostly all Indian, did quite a good job and after our complaint of being seated where we did not like, we ignored the seating saga and were looked after by Pio the head waiter, experienced and gentle. Once we got to know the waiters, we enjoyed the service. When arriving at our cabin, we noticed that the deck was not cleaned, the next day it was better, however, it was not that nice to sit there at discoloured and unclean planks. Otherwise the room was in good order and at A1xx ‘deluxe balcony’, we would have liked some bathrobes and slippers, no luck in this grade it seamed. Bathroom amenities were also ordinary being in sink with the overall impression of the P&O motto of British mass appeal. Leaking ceilings for a few days in the hall close to the piano bar, permanent dryers in the charming Crows Nest were not that confidence building but things can happen. Service at the Crows Nest was also poor and long waits were normal. We did not like the drinks being measured too small and after bringing this to the notice of the waiter we received half a nimble more. The bar tender, we saw from the side, was unhappy and re-measured again, but the second time it was better and more adequate, considering the high prices on board, not commensurate with the service. The gym was reasonably big, but 3 out of the four exercise bikes were not functioning. The ladies in the spa, as there was nobody in the gym, did not know and promised to pass the message on to the gym boys, it was not fixed. Gym-cleanliness borderline. Service in general in the bars after the show was always slow, what reason is there complaining on holidays, we just mention it as this was unexpected. The shows in the Palladium Theatre were good, taste-wise not necessarily for the majority of the cruise participants. The stand up comedian was for the UK clientele only, other English speaking persons would likely not understand. The other music offerings, with the exception of the superb pianist who was also the mini orchestra chief, were nice, but just about that. All in all, P&O UK’s Arcadia was for us a big ship with a very ordinary appeal, we would give it 3 stars in most categories, the Belvedere would not deserve more than one. Perhaps our mistake was to cruise with Oceania and Crystal beforehand. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Having just completed a mini trip to brussels & le havre on Arcadia . We were looking forward to a relaxed trip having paid the extra to upgrade to a suite. We duly arrived at 12.45 after problems with entry to the port gate ( Not P ... Read More
Having just completed a mini trip to brussels & le havre on Arcadia . We were looking forward to a relaxed trip having paid the extra to upgrade to a suite. We duly arrived at 12.45 after problems with entry to the port gate ( Not P & O but an accident on route to Aurora cruise terminal). Having arrived and suitcases off loaded,the first batch of people at the entry were a group of hen party with offensive sweatshirts joining the cruise , check in was good but again we had to ask for were we go for priority check in ,the room was as promised and all suite facilities in place . Having our walk around, we lunched on a cold burger up on the upper deck and upon walking around ship as you do, we noticed the Meridian open,upon enquiry this was open for Suite guests ( Not the best of P & O communication as never advised at check in) Having been on many cruises with P & O and having myself been refused entry to a bar without a jacket expected standards to be maintained . Having complied with dress code only to find the hen party tables dressed in sailor outfits with large blow up members doing games with whistles etc is not what you expect and feel sorry for passengers sampling a first cruise. Overall P & O need raise the standards on these mini cruises ,think about what they want to gain ,as for us this will be a last short cruise due to the drop in standards expected and received on all other P & O cruises lets hope they get better as we are booked on Brittania in December Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
On the positive side we enjoyed nearly all of the ports of call. Our main disappointment was with P&O and its declining levels of service. The Carnival corporation is making changes each time we travel with P&O, which is most ... Read More
On the positive side we enjoyed nearly all of the ports of call. Our main disappointment was with P&O and its declining levels of service. The Carnival corporation is making changes each time we travel with P&O, which is most years. These changes were originally minor, but the cut backs are now affecting the quality of service in noticeable ways. In particular the "silver service" is gone, no more choice of vegetables as plates arrive with all the food on the plate. Not too bad if you are used to small amounts of vegetables but a problem if you , like myself enjoy the vegetables more than the meat. Secondly the choice of vegetables was terrible, we ended up saying "if we see another carrot or piece of broccoli we will jump ship'. The other problem is that the turnover of passengers who have booked last minute deals is spoiling the world cruise experience. Most short hop passengers have been able to get very low cost deals which they enjoy sharing with those world cruisers that have paid full price. The number of so called cocktail parties have been greatly cut back as well, we only attended two in nearly nine weeks of travel, yet short hop passengers enjoyed just the same number. We were also unhappy with the pillows as there were no feather pillows available when we boarded in Sydney. Only when we complained and said we would be buying our own at the first port of call did two feather pillows appear. The bedding and towels were well worn and marked ,although it was stains rather than not being washed that was the problem. The cabin was a bit cramped and in need of a refurbishment. The staff are good but are terrified of getting bad feedback as it affects their tips. Without wishing to gone too long about other problems let's leave it here and say finally we will not be travelling P&O for a long time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Meridian Dining Room We thought the dining room was very noisy, the noise might be made worse because of the large open area in the floor between the upper and lower levels The Grill Excellent food and staff, and a very relaxing ... Read More
Meridian Dining Room We thought the dining room was very noisy, the noise might be made worse because of the large open area in the floor between the upper and lower levels The Grill Excellent food and staff, and a very relaxing atmosphere East We thought the lighting was a little bright but the food and staff were excellent Shore Excursions Most of the excursions went smoothly apart from Oslo; we had pre-booked and paid for two excursions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. At the time of booking there was two hours between the return of the first excursion and the start of the second. We boarded the ship our tickets had been already delivered to our cabin, we immediately noticed the timing of the Oslo excursions had changed; the second excursion was now starting well before the return time of the first. When we queried this with the shore excursions team we were informed that it was Christmas Eve and everything would close early so the timings had been changed. Perhaps when the excursions were organised Christmas Eve should have been taken into consideration; however we did receive a full refund for the second excursion very quickly Cabin B171 Is located at the back of the ship in a quiet position with a very spacious balcony, was very clean and well maintained However one night there was a problem with the plumbing, just as we were going to dinner we noticed that the toilet would not flush so we reported the problem, we were informed that there was problem with the entire rear section of the deck as a pipe had become disconnected and they were working on it. Just after Midnight we returned to our cabin, went in the bathroom and were greeted with an appalling smell, the toilet was overflowing with sewerage; it had been flowing across the floor and going down the floor drain. I immediately pressed the flush, the toilet bowl emptied and the problem stopped. We phoned Housekeeping; they sent two members of their team to sanitise the bathroom. The next day we went down to the Reception and spoke with the Head of Housekeeping and asked him why nobody went round the affected cabins to check if there had been any blow-back problems? We were informed that because the incident happened at night they did not check the cabins because it would disturb the guests. We thought this was a very poorly conceived and flawed policy Conclusion A very likeable and friendly ship   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We joined the Arcadia at Southampton for our very first cruise. Embarkation was fairly swift, despite the long queues. Everyone was then directed to the Belvedere Restaurant for a buffet lunch, prior to the cabins being ready at 2pm. ... Read More
We joined the Arcadia at Southampton for our very first cruise. Embarkation was fairly swift, despite the long queues. Everyone was then directed to the Belvedere Restaurant for a buffet lunch, prior to the cabins being ready at 2pm. Plenty of time to explore Arcadia before we went to the cabin to unpack. The first night was a Black Tie evening and we eat in the Ocean Grill (Marco Pierre White) which was absolutely wonderful. The service was excellent despite one waiter saying it was an exceptionally busy evening doing almost 50% more covers than usual. The first night's entertainment was a Badness (Madness) tribute which although we weren't too keen on, others seemed to love. We had breakfast in the buffet Belvedere the next morning where there was a good choice of food, but we much preferred the service and quality of food in the Meredian Restaurant, where we had breakfast on the second morning. The day we arrived in Guernsey (St Peter Port) the weather was lovely and there was a tender to the Port. We managed to get on an early one and were in St Peter Port by 08:30 am. The tenders dock very centrally and right on the edge of town. We didn't book any excursions, but visited Candie Gardens first which were lovely and very tranquil. There was a lovely restaurant/cafe up some steps near the Town Church with lovely views over the bay. Following a walk around the town (very pretty), we visited Hauteville House - the home of Victor Hugo during his exile. We had booked in advance for our one hour tour. If you don't book ahead there's every chance you won't get onto a group of 10 for each tour. Afterwards we strolled around the shops before heading back to the tender. A bit of a queue so best not to cut things too fine. The second evening was casual and we had a drinks in the Crows Nest which we loved, followed by a superb meal in the East Restaurant. Highly recommend both the speciality restaurants! We didn't book until we were onboard, but I believe there is a definite financial advantage to pre-booking as the cover charge is cheaper. The evening went far too quickly and before we knew it it was time to pack, sleep, early breakfast and vacate our cabins. We've now booked a cruise on Oriana in November to Portugal and Spain! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Atlantic Coast Cruise, 30th Apr 2014 J403 We live about 80 miles away and the journey involves both M25 and M3. Traffic was busy but kept moving. The last few minutes near Dock Gate 4 were a bit fraught with the roadworks but the Marshall ... Read More
Atlantic Coast Cruise, 30th Apr 2014 J403 We live about 80 miles away and the journey involves both M25 and M3. Traffic was busy but kept moving. The last few minutes near Dock Gate 4 were a bit fraught with the roadworks but the Marshall were doing a great job and CPS as efficient as always. As we were lucky enough to be in a mini suite we had priority boarding. So at the top of the escalator we were directed to a check in desk, the formalities quickly sorted and we walked straight onto the ship. Onboard by 12-15pm. Once on the ship we had lunch in the main restaurant, champagne and snacks, very nice. Our cabin was ready by 1-30pm and our luggage was there. We unpacked and went to the muster at 4pm. The cabin is great, large and roomy, big bathroom with jacuzzi bath and separate shower and 2 sinks. The balcony is very roomy with large table with 2 chairs and 2 recliners. The welcome champagne and chocolates are a nice touch as is the fruit basket. Canapés every evening were delicious and nice to nibble as we got ready for dinner. We changed for dinner, we were 8 second sitting, our choice every time. We went to Intermezzo for 7pm to meet up with a couple I had been chatting too on line , lovely to meet and get to know them. Then into the dining room, table 44 near the back with a great view of the wake. Lovely people on our table of 8, mum and I and 3 other couples. It was a really lovely table. Went to the theatre, Headliners, very good, then to bed. If you were on this cruise you probably saw us around the ship as mum uses a bright red rollator. This does mean we are very careful about going off the ship and using a tender is not a good idea. So we sat and watched others bobbing up and down as they entered the harbour at St Peters Port. The evening entertainment was Roger Wright, we have seen him before and I like him very much. Then a lovely sea day, my favourite kind of day! We found a spot on the Prom deck out of the wind to sit and watch the ocean, had afternoon tea in the restaurant and just lazed the day away. Black tie night and Captain's Gala Party, held by the Neptune Pool. After dinner the theatre was the Headliners, very good. I was up early on our balcony to watch the spectacular sail into Lisbon. We went ashore but were disappointed by the lack of cafés near the ship. Had a lovely sail away by the Aquarius pool. Next day was Cadiz, we were pleased to find a shuttle bus was put on by the port to take you to the gates, much better than the long walk along the quayside. We walked to the main square and found a cafe for a drink and some gorgeous churros. Back to the ship and sat on our balcony for a while. Headliners in the theatre. Most nights we had a cocktail in The Spinnikers bar and listened to the lovely music and singing from Stuart Anderson. Then a sea day, restful and relaxing. Peninsula Cocktail party, held by the Neptune Pool. Next port wad Oporto, we stayed on the ship as it was too long a shuttle for mum to manage. La Coruna was a pretty place, the ship docked right in and we walked to the main square. It is called the Crystal City due to all the glass on the front of the buildings. Tonight there was a very good saxophone player, Julian Smith, excellent show. A sea day, packing, last minute shopping! We docked in Southampton by 5am.. off the ship just after 8 am and in the car and away before 9am. A lovely cruise, our first not going to the Mediterranean. We love Arcadia and are already looking forward to going back on her. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We had never travelled with this line before but as this cruise from Sydney to Southampton through the Suez was on our bucket list, we packed our formal wear and headed off to Sydney to join our ship Arcadia. Embarkation We had an easy ... Read More
We had never travelled with this line before but as this cruise from Sydney to Southampton through the Suez was on our bucket list, we packed our formal wear and headed off to Sydney to join our ship Arcadia. Embarkation We had an easy boarding as we arrived mid afternoon and were on board and into our cabin C129 by 3pm. Our Cabin It was called a midships Deluxe Balcony with Bath/Shower and was clean, muted colours with good size balcony, a very comfortable bed, with a sofa and chair and desk with fridge. The bathroom was small but had a bath. We had plenty of hanging room but few drawers for storage and a safe, the tiniest one we have ever seen. Very narrow passage between bathroom and wardrobes made passing each other difficult if the doors were both open. Good wide screen TV on the wall but as we learnt the rotation of shows was abysmal and repetetive. Plenty of storage room for cases under the beds, poor lighting for reading in bed and for donning makeup at the desk, but better in the bathroom. We had problems with our shower, with no really hot water for the first few days, but this was resolved when we spoke to our cabin attendant. We also had problems with the aircon being too warm and this again was resolved by the ships engineers after reporting it. Our first cabin attendant was rude and unfriendly and only interested in tips (they were his first words to us, how to take the tips off and then just give it to him and when we said we wouldnt virtually ignored the rest of the cruise). However, he kept the cabin clean. Our new Cabin Attendant from Mumbai onwards was fantastic. The Ship Arcadia has a very different layout to other ships we have been on and so this made finding things a little difficult at first, but we found it very well set out with lots of lovely quiet places to sit and read, or chat especially when the weather was cooler. The only complaint was the pool decks that had limited shade and no sun beds in a shady spot for those who dont like being in the sun. Both pools were well used and the Solarium pool with the closing roof was lovely. Unfortunately, the area where pool lounges are on most ships, along the shady sides under cover are taken up on Arcadia with tables and chairs. However, as we are not sun bunnies we didnt find hard to endure as it was lovely to sit outside and eat breakfast and lunch. Sea Day Activities This is an area where this ship absolutely excels. We both thought the range and types of activites wonderfully varied and interesting. We could line, tap or ballroom dance our way across the world, play bingo, go to many varieties of quizzes, (music, geography, progressive, sport, Battle of the Sexes) table tennis, golf putting, tennis, deck quoits, interactive bowling, bridge classes and playing, whist, Spanish classes, knit and natter groups, art and craft lessons, ipad and digital camera classes, pilates, yoga, walk a mile, stretch classes, port talks, spa and fitness classes and talks,classical concerts, Arcadia vocalists and lots of music from various groups throughout the ship in the evening as well as Radio Arcadia run by DJ Martin, who ran music comps and played requests from late afternoon till late. Guest Speakers We had wonderful guest speakers on board. Terry Brown an ex-detective who gave some very interesting and entertaining talks on interviewing techniques, as a prelude for running a 3 say Murder Mystery where there were 12 suspects and the audience was divided into 20 or so groups as the detectives and they had to work out the who, how and whys. Dale Templar, from Human Planet, was a fabulous speaker giving insights into the filming and the photographers for this wonderful series, using film clips and amusing anecdotes. Tony Davies, a retired Squadron Leader in the RAF also provided some very interesting insights into the Vulcans and the Red Arrows acrobatic flying team. John Lyons, who played George from Taste of Frost, was a fantastic speaker giving 3 wonderful talks on his life and then about the series and the pranks that were played over the 17 years of the series with footage and out takes making it very funny. Nick Slope spoke of Ships and Captains, Bligh and Nelson, Nelsons women, then the Battles of the Somme, Jutland, and Gallipolli, all very interesting. Paul from the Amethyst duo also did some wonderful talks and guitar playing in his talks on the History of the Guitar. Entertainment Again, we thought this ship excelled in this area. We had a new Cruise Director, Dom Hones on board from Auckland, and everyone said how the ship had a different feel. We was a magnificent CD excuding energy and inspiring his wonderful Entertainment Team, all of whom were friendly, relaxed, chatty and personable and some of the best Entertainment crew we have ever had at sea. The Headliners theatre group, especially the dancers, were excellent and their Destination Dance and Killer Queen shows were magnificent. The Singers were great some nights and not so great others. But they energetically danced and sang their way through 12 productions as we saw about 3 shows a week, including Reel to Reel, Night of a Thousand Stars, and Another Show, Another Opening. Other night time entertainment included Matthew McGurk a wonderful magician, Brian Conley, a celebrity entertainer and comedian, who was very funny, David Kidd, a Tom Jones impersonator, Kenny Martyn, a multi intrumentalist, Zoe Tyler, a fabulous vocalist, Gareth Oliver, ventriloquist extraordinaire, Eliot Pace, a great pianist and singer, Tim O'Connor a celebrity comedian, Pam Ayers,and Marti Webb, a West End vocalist. The bands on board were mixed, and there was no music between 5.30 -6.30 for those of us on Freedom dining, only Radio Arcadia, so we tended to have a pre dinner drink in our rooms instead of visiting a bar!! Our favourite band was Inspiration, but the Sunshine Band we thought was boring. Amethyst Duo were good, but the piano playing by Clare Saunders was excruciating. The Passenger Talent and Crew Talent shows were also very good. Sailaway Parties and Deck Parties Having never experienced these before we didnt know what to expect. Well, we certainly never missed one after our first, as they were so much fun. We sang and danced and enjoyed a good variety of music led by Dom and his crew, and we experienced the GREAT BRITISH SAILAWAY only once, in Lisbon when the traditional English songs were on show. We just loved these and from Melbourne onwards these were the joyous farewells to some wonderful ports and set the scene for a happy and relaxed cruise. Restaurants Meridian- Freedom Dining. We had never done this before and really enjoyed the experience of meeting new people every night and being able to dine when we wanted. We would ask Rajeev for a 2/4/6 and he would seat us accordingly to what he had available. We only had to wait for 10 minutes one night to be seated at a table for 2, but we were more than happy with that. It seems the most popular times for eating were 6pm so if you avoided that time, you could easily get a good table. We found service was mostly excellent with some off nights, but that happens everywhere. Dinner menus were repeated but there was enough choice that you did not have to eat the same thing. Thought lack of ice cream other than at dinner poor and dessert choices bland. Breakfasts in Meridian were terriific, with the daily specials of Kedgeree on Wednesdays and Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon on Sundays very much looked forward to by us and many others. It was a nice change to have a quiet table for 2 at breakfast without any problems. Otherwise we had room service breakfasts, but these got very monotonous and we would resort to going up to the Belvedere Buffet restaurant and getting our choices and bringing them down to the cabin to eat. We did have breakfast in the Belvedere when we wanted hot breakfast and on port days and choices were good. We found the set up of the Belvedere compared to other buffets at sea rather old fashioned and slow. Their Indian and Thai buffets were excellent and well attended. Deck BBQ's and Pool Deck BBQ had a great choice of food and we enjoyed these very much. Ocean Grill, we enjoyed several times and apart from one long wait for starters one night, was always delicious, with a good choice of mains, starters and desserts (though the size of desserts made wastage a big problem) and service impeccable. East, the Asian fusion restaurant was our favourite and we also visited here several nights. Views over the sea were lovely, the food absolutely delicious and spicey if you wanted it, and the service very good. We noticed sometimes the sauces were overly salted and for our no added salt palates, very hard to like. We thought this was better priced as it was all inclusive for food, whereas, Ocean Grill charges for extras, ie for a prawn with your surf and turf 6 pound!! Shore Excursions We mainly arrange these ourselves, but as our ports in Egypt were cancelled and we had Salalah, Oman and Aqaba, Jordan added, we signed up for ships tours. These ports were excellent and we enjoyed both tours, especially the tour to Petra which included a fabulous lunch. The other port where we had a ships tour was Lisbon, where we opted for the tour to Obidos, which was a gem and we thought the prices were about what other cruise lines ask, so were happy with the pricing. In Malta, after the port talk, we went to the Excursions Desk to talk to Dan, who comes from Malta and he was able to set us up with a private driver and for 8 hours for 4 people at a very reasonable cost, and we had a fantastic day there, seeing many things lots of others couldnt using the Hop On Hop Off buses. The crossing of the Suez Canal was a real highlight for us and we had the experience of the Excursion Team leader pointing out things of interest along the way. This also happened in Lisbon as we sailed up the river. Oasis Spa Several offers were made during our voyage, some better than others, but a haircut was 20 pound plus tip and a session in the hydrotherapy pool and sauna was was 10 pounds per session, but a special of 150 pound for the whole cruise was offered at the beginning of each sector and lots of people used this offer. Other offers included Lime and Ginger body scrub 79 pd save 30 pd and 3 in one offers at varying prices. Dress Codes There are 3, formal, jacket required and casual. We had anticipated this and enjoyed dressing up but it began to pall by the end of 6 1/2 weeks. You were not allowed to wear shorts even into the buffet at night, with several men being informed it was not appropriate dress. Even in the bars, you could not enter unless you followed the dress code of the day. We could see that this is to maintain a standard of dress, but thought it was a bit over the top in the buffet. Overall Impressions We honestly loved this ship, from her Captain, Aseem Hashmi, with his informative and amusing midday talks and updates, to the wonderful crew who looked after us so well, the Entertainment team who made it such fun, the wonderful people who joined us on tours, for drinks, dinners and quizzes, and our wonderful ports of call, it was an amazing voyage, one we will never forget and one we will repeat in the future. Thank you Arcadia for making the whole experience so delightful.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We embarked Arcadia on 9 March, 2012 in Sydney, enroute to Southampton on 27 April. Embarkation was easy, staff receptive. NOTE: 10 of my previous cruises have been on Princess ships. We got a very good deal from our agent $100 per day ... Read More
We embarked Arcadia on 9 March, 2012 in Sydney, enroute to Southampton on 27 April. Embarkation was easy, staff receptive. NOTE: 10 of my previous cruises have been on Princess ships. We got a very good deal from our agent $100 per day pp. Our cabin was NA grade, obstructed view on E deck, what we paid for and what we got, nothing special about he cabin, lifeboat outside window. Bed a little hard, good shower and bath, small TV, but no real complaints about cabin. Steward very good. I am a Coeliac - Gluten Free and on most occasions I got the correct advice from staff re GF food. The food on board was adequate in both Food Court and in MDR. We took second sitting. Food service was very good. Food Court layout very good, not much congestion due to seperate areas for different food. The mainly Indian staff on board were very good. Entertainment reasonable, Headliners singers/dancers very good. Bands on board good. Sophistication Duo in particular, we became their fans, even buying a CD. Drinks on board very reasonable prices and you could buy liquor from ship's shop and consume it in your cabin, plus no restriction on what you brought on board. Excellent ! Condition of furnishings on ship a little tardy, overdue for refurbish. Now the VIRUS and HYGEINE, like many others on board I contracted the dreaded Arcadia Virus after leaving Singapore, various symptoms, coughing, high temperature, just felt like dying. etc. Went to Ships Doctor, confined to cabin for 4 days. Even the Doctor remarked the hygeine standards of many pax on board were not good, leading to spread of the virus. I noted also lack of cleaning in toilets and handrails, which you see a lot of on Princess. Ports were good, missed Seychelles due to Pirates and St Helena because of seas, such is life. We did ships shorex not private tours. We did a walk off in Southampton, off the ship at 0745. Would I travel on P&O UK again? probably not due to HYGEINE standards. Also TOO MANY Formal nights for me ! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Car park/Meet and Greet Arrived early at around 10.50am and the CPS car park person gave us a card in exchange for the key. The baggage handlers were also very efficient and took our luggage from the car. Embarkation: Arrived in ... Read More
Car park/Meet and Greet Arrived early at around 10.50am and the CPS car park person gave us a card in exchange for the key. The baggage handlers were also very efficient and took our luggage from the car. Embarkation: Arrived in the waiting hall and was given a card with the letter C on which was to be used when we started to board to ensure everyone boarded in the right order. They started to call people from 11.20am. What annoyed me was why they felt it necessary to have half a dozen people keep checking our cruise cards. Once or twice, Ok, but it was a bit over the top. Also the people on the x-ray machines for the hand luggage were painfully slow. As the queue got bigger and bigger and people got impatient, they opened up some more! Went straight up to the Belvedere self service restaurant for lunch which was packed full by 12.30. Top tip -- go next door to the Neptune grill for a burger, fish & chips or a jacket potato instead. Cabins The cabin stewardess was the friendliest person we saw on the boat the whole trip although I nearly got very cross when she tried to tell me the damp smell in the bathroom was the rubber mat in the bath or indeed damp towels! Cabins were opened around 2pm. Luggage was abandoned by the lifts and it seems the people delivering them to cabins cannot read left or right. Most people went looking for their own luggage. We found one case which was then moved to another cabin as I turned my back! I found the other case on the end of the corridor where anyone could have taken it. Not impressed! Flat screen TV's in the cabins -- although tiny. On the positive, I did notice the carpets and sofa were the cleanest that I have seen on a cruise ship. Nice toiletries which were actually usable! The air con in the cabin was however very loud which could annoy some people. The electric socket in the cabin was not high enough up off the table to allow my mobile phone charger to be plugged in so we ended up going to the computer room (Horizon) on deck 3 next to Caffe Vivo (a very nice little coffee shop tucked away with nice cakes) to charge the phones. Beware the Ship switches to its own mobile network when at sea which is between 99p and £1.99 per minute on our trip so avoid using. Also avoid balcony cabin A38 on Australia deck. The funny thing is we booked 2 Ocean View cabins but were upgraded to balconies after the Oriana cruise was delayed and then cancelled. It smelt of damp and mould in the bathroom and after a good sniff, I decided it was coming from the bath. I then spent the next 3 days trying to get it sorted and asking to move cabin. I was told it was the drains, then the pipe under the bath, then the drains again. Saturday evening they finally conceded it was a leak under the bath which they cleared out and mopped up. Now I had to smell the chlorine and bleach they used. Sunday morning I asked to be moved yet again and only after I said I would also put in a complaint when I go back, at 2pm I was told by the deck supervisor that I could move but I had to pack up everything and unpack just to re pack later that evening as it was the last night. They would not allow me to just take a few items I needed and just pack the once. I was told the cabin may be needed for an emergency. This did prompt me to ask what they deem an emergency as clearly a leak is not! I refused the move as I had no intention of packing twice the last evening. When I complained at reception again, he said they always tell people they are full or they would have everyone wanting to move for little reasons! He then went on to say they always have some cabins free for emergencies even when they are 'full'. So, basically if this happens to you, shout and scream at reception and the deck supervisor (make them come to reception) and refuse to move from reception until they move you to another cabin! Dining: Sadly, not very good. We had a table for 2 in the main Meridian restaurant but not by the window but this didn't matter as we had plenty of space around us but the window tables were crammed together. The best of British theme night in the Belvedere on the 1st night was not up to much. The stuffing and gravy never did appear as advertised on the menu. The Belvedere was empty with only a handful of people which is ideal if you want quiet. It opened for dinner at 6.30pm but they never got any food out until 6.45pm yet we noticed they soon closed on time when sessions were finished! Every time we sat down for dinner, or at any of the bars or tables on the boat, we were asked if we wanted drinks. I saw another review which said the same -- they were a little pushy. I said just water please one night when asked as they had jugs of water in the Belvedere at night. She looked horrified and got the man who clears the plates away to pour it. She would not lower herself to such a request it seemed -- clearly not her job! It is also true that it is quite a trek up and down the very long room to look at the different counters of food, all served in tiny dishes barely a few inches wide. The food was not great by any means. In fact we nearly resorted to room service baguettes like on Ventura in May (they were very nice by the way). The plates were always cold and I had to continually ask for a hot plate and carefully selected some clean cutlery after rejecting several each time we dined. The Neptune grill was great. Nice jacket potatoes and a few other snacks. Saturday's daily guide said Indian theme night in the Belvedere but nothing materialised. Sunday said the same and it was and it was the busiest night in there. Afternoon snacks were not up to much either. Can they not make a proper sandwich! Cream cheese and cucumber really! We tried the posh waiter restaurant 1 day and it was the same as the self service restaurant but we were forced to sit on a table with 6 other people and nobody was very friendly. Breakfast was by far the best meal. Staff: Although not the happiest of people, the cabin stewardess was very smiley but the rest of the staff never really spoke but they did clear plates away which was a great improvement than when we went on Ventura in May. Shops Shops were closed during the day apart from the sweet counter which really is not necessary with all the food available. Then again, we nearly resorted to sweets as the food in the restaurants was not great. No alcohol or cigarettes onboard due to HMRC rules and not visiting an international port. I thought that was a joke at first but then when I realised it wasn't we suddenly panicked as to what we would spend all the onboard credit we had on. The last night was advertised as plenty of Christmas gift ideas and complimentary gift wrapping. Well, there was no sign of anything Christmassy except 1 children's toy nor any gift wrapping! Most things were overpriced even the fudge on offer at 3 for 2 was expensive at £3.49 per tiny box! I collect magnets and postcards but they only had the ship and none of where we had been. Ports Zeebrugge for Bruges Clocks went forward overnight and we docked at 9am. Weather was sunny but very windy and bitter cold with the windchill. We opted to stay on board as didn't have any tours booked and it really was very cold. There was nothing in the port area but there was a courtesy bus which was a 15 minute ride to the drop off point, close to the train station in Blakenburg. Local immigration insists you take your passport off the Ship. This always worries me in case any muggers get wind of this as in Russia but that's another story (see July's cruise review for that story)! Must be a muggers paradise knowing 2000 people carrying passports around. The Ship was empty all day which made it very relaxing but was warm enough to sit by the pool at Neptune's grill due to the roof being closed. Le Havre, France Early breakfast at 8am, nobody around. We took the complimentary 'bendy' bus to the town which took around 30 minutes. It also stops at a very large shopping centre called Les Docks before it gets to the main town. There was also a Christmas market. On the way back a roundabout was closed off by police and we saw a parade of floats go past. I got lots of pictures from the bus. We were told to take photo ID -- either driving licence or passport. We took out driving licence but nobody asked for it. Just for info, there were no hop on or hop off buses at either port. We did see some taxis on the pier at Le Havre. Disembarkation: As it was just a 3 night stay we had the option to have the luggage collected the night before and taken off the Ship or take it ourselves. We opted for the latter as we had no confidence that it would appear the other side after the fiasco of getting the luggage on. They asked everyone to be out of the cabins by 8.30am and said disembarkation would be between then and 10am. We walked to the exit just before 8.30am and they had just started to let people with their own luggage off. They had not announced this over the speakers yet. Only a short walk to the car park and handed the card in to get our keys back. There was a good 5 minute queue and considering not many people were off yet, it could have been much busier soon after. I have to say a few more signs to get out of the docks would have been useful as we got a little lost and then nearly had an 'argument' with a train or something crossing. In the end we waited for someone else then followed them, they looked equally as lost as us. Overall Nice little weekend away to relax before Christmas ruined due to cabin issues but would not go in December again due to the weather and then Christmas becomes a rush! If it wasn't for the cabin problem and constant battle with them over this, I would have had a much better time. Sorry to say I still think Royal C are far better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Cruised with P & O on previous occasions and have always been very satisfied, but not so on this disastrous mini-cruise. We only had two ports of call on the itinary but Zeebrugge was pulled from the programme before we got on board, ... Read More
Cruised with P & O on previous occasions and have always been very satisfied, but not so on this disastrous mini-cruise. We only had two ports of call on the itinary but Zeebrugge was pulled from the programme before we got on board, leaving us with basically a ferry trip to Le Havre. Worse still - no apology or even a mention from the captain or officers of this change. From our first lunch it was clear that the quality of food and service had plumetted. This continued throughout the 'cruise' with overcooked or warm dishes, food that had not been fully thawed and even tinned peaches for dessert served by disinterested and unfriendly waiters. Together with other passengers it seemed clear to us that we had been abandoned as a '3 day' crowd who were not worth the effort. Many thought the captain had in fact remained in Southampton until the second time when he deemed to 'broadcast' prior to our leaving Le Havre. P&O continued to astound with their total lack of organisation relating to Russell Watson concerts, where ticketing arrangements had not been organised and general chaos ensued, crowds of very angry people battling to get into the theatre. Following pressure from passengers P&O finally relented and produced some sort of system for the last night. Overall a pathetic performance from P&O further exacerbated by the fact that four weeks after writing to the Managing Director not even an acknowledgement has been received. Disgusting!!!!!!!!! 1. On embarkation (3 December) we were handed a letter from Nick Burrows, Head of Customer Services , which informed passengers that 'severe winds are forecast for our call to Zeebrugge' and that this was being 'pulled' from the programme. Some passengers were not even handed this letter, and we later found out that Zeebrugge was not on the schedule already printed in Horizon and given to passengers who had taken a back-to-back cruise from the Canaries, but that Le Havre was. 2. From our first lunch (12.30 hours) it was clearly obvious that your cuisine as displayed in The Belvedere was lacking in quality and presentation. The hot salmon dish was very overcooked, dry and served warm; the noodles with prawns were not hot enough and neither was the curry dish. Waiters were not welcoming, were unfriendly and few in number; tables were not being cleared quickly enough. Anyone who had not cruised before must have been very unimpressed. 3. The Captain, Ian Walters, addressed passengers via. tannoy to explain the emergency drill but failed to apologise or even mention the fact that Zeebrugge had been pulled from the schedule. If as Nick Burrows suggests Zeebrugge was shelved due to bad weather then obviously we all accept and welcome such a change, but surely any reputable Captain should have the manners and courtesy to apologise. In fact none of Captain Walters' officers apologised or mentioned Zeebrugge in any form. Obviously most passengers were very disappointed to miss out on their visit to Bruges. 4. Our first dinner in Meridian (table no. 48 for eight guests ) was extremely disappointing. The dishes we had which were supposed to be hot were barely warm, the quality of the food and the presentation were far below the cuisine we have enjoyed on past cruises. Our waiters were totally disinterested and did not introduce themselves -- the service we endured was unfriendly, surly and slow. On past cruises the section waiter, wine waiter and our table waiters have introduced themselves and were only too happy to be of service. The wine waiter even pulled a face when those at the far end of the table could not hear what he was saying. He then made no attempt to come over to repeat himself but just stood in the same spot cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted. On a number of occasions waiters and other staff pushed in front of passengers showing no courtesy whatsoever. It seems that P & O should be training their staff in manners and how to treat their guests. 5. Breakfast in The Belevedere on Sunday morning was a complete fiasco and more like a cattle market than a renowned cruise ship dining venue. People were struggling to find a table and the queues at each serving station were very long. Waiting time to reach the serving area was approx. 10-15 minutes and again the food was barely warm. As previously the waiters could not cope with clearing the tables quickly enough. Whilst waiting in the queue we were told by a couple who had never cruised before that although they had reserved a table for two for dinner they were forced to dine alone on their first night -- one dining in the upper level of Meridian and the other in the lower level!!! Unbelievable. 6. Sunday dinner was much the same as the previous evening. With the exception of Chicken Caesar Terrine which was quite frozen and had to be sent back, plus Poached FRESH Peaches in Champagne and Vanilla, which actually turned out to be TINNED SLICED PEACHES IN A BOWL WITH A SIDE PORTION OF HALF MELTED ICE CREAM. The waiter actually admitted the fresh peaches had "run out" and therefore the peaches being served were tinned!!!! So much for P & O's Food Philosophy statement on the cover page of each dinner menu:-"..............silver-service waiters who become friends, .......................we offer a wealth of unique dining experiences created for the British palate using, wherever possible, the finest local and sustainable ingredients such as ................., we are dedicated to the continuing development of our ingredients, menus, venues and service, ..............all our dishes are thoughtfully and freshly prepared to ensure the most exceptional dining experience with every meal." Needless to say you can see from the above comments and complaints that a lot of the claims in your Philosophy Statement do not bear any resemblance to the food you actually serve or the service your staff are giving. 7. Arcadia's staff and officers really excelled themselves over the disorganisation of the Russell Watson concert. Despite having known for months about the 3-day mini cruise it was obviously impossible for P & O to consider well in advance how to efficiently organise the seating arrangements for both 8.45pm and 10.45pm concerts. Following hundreds and hundreds of passenger complaints regarding the viewing arrangements, Arcadia's staff eventually came to their senses and realised that some organisation was required. They came up with the idea that passengers would present their table card at the theatre entrance which would be marked. However after rushing our dinner and missing coffee, we were amongst a couple of hundred passengers who missed out on Sunday's performance. Needless to say the mood was disappointment, frustration and anger. Staff were confronted by irate passengers wanting complete reassurance that they would be guaranteed good front row seats for a further performance on Monday night. Because of complaints we had already submitted on board, we had a meeting with an Assistant Food and Beverage Manager, Craig, who was polite and courteous. He assured us that we would be served quickly at dinner that evening so that we could get to the performance in plenty of time. Luckily we had excellent seats and thoroughly enjoyed the performance. 8. Captain Walters finally deemed to address passengers for the second time since embarkation at approximately 8.15 p.m. on the Monday evening to inform us that we would be leaving Le Havre at 9.00 p.m. Once again no mention of Zeebrugge and inconsiderately no mention of the Russell Watson seating fiasco or 'thank you for sailing with P & O' or 'hope you have enjoyed your cruise'. We have not been at all impressed by his captaincy as regards passenger relations. Most passengers were of the opinion that he had either stayed in Southampton or had enjoyed a two day four hour vacation at our expense. We have not spoken to any passenger who actually saw Captain Walters wandering around his ship. No other officer has deputised on his behalf to make announcements on the PR side. All in all we are extremely disappointed and disillusioned with the whole P & O experience on board Arcadia. The mood among fellow passengers appeared to be the same as ourselves and many considered the fact that it was because it was a 3-day mini cruise which didn't require standards to be as good as longer cruises. Is this the case? From our previous P & O cruises experiences, we consider that your standards have dropped dramatically. Although we complained about much of the above on board, we have felt compelled to write to you for your comments. Yours faithfully Sandra and Ian Hampton Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
How excited were we on our last cruise on Arcadia on 9th December 2011.....well that's what I was hoping. I expected a letter or a call from the Portunus rep congratulating us on being so loyal with P&O over the years and ... Read More
How excited were we on our last cruise on Arcadia on 9th December 2011.....well that's what I was hoping. I expected a letter or a call from the Portunus rep congratulating us on being so loyal with P&O over the years and reaching the dizzy heights of Gold Members.....well after no phone calls or letters in our post rack on the cabin door I decided to pick up the courage and speak to the Portunus Rep. On arriving at the Portunus desk we were greeted by a not so pleasant smiling face but hey she might have had a bad day.... hello I said... yes she replied....I said...could you tell me when we get a letter and our Gold gift please , her reply was not on this cruise but when you book another cruise you will have to ask for your gift on board that ship.... ask for a gift I thought !!! ........I left the Portunus lair and then it hit me P&O don't give a......... Changing subject the ship was great the staff were very friendly and the food in the Belvedere was really good and had a great selection. We also liked the Ocean grill but thought the covered pool area would look nice with some more plants and greenery. The restaurant menu was not that impressive and I had to send a meal back as it was cold and on the following night I asked for tomatoes with my dinner and my waiter said he would speak to the chef.... unfortunately they did not arrive despite them being on the menu for other meals it appeared that the waiters had too many tables to attend. The wine waiter was very attentive. There was an issue with how often the cabins are cleaned properly like a spring clean as I found other passengers medicine in the cabin and other items which I will speak to P&O direct or they can write to me as I am sure they have my details. ( P&O REMOVED THE DATES OF THE ITEMS WHICH WERE 2006 ) After about 17 cruises I feel that P&O need to pull their socks up and take a closer look at the customer service they offer and also they need to look at how they can make all their passengers feel special. Sorry for any spelling mistakes and unacceptable grammar.... UPDATE: The above was posted on the P&O website and had been edited by P&O but they have contacted me regarding going from Saphire to Gold. Unfortunately they have not contacted me with regards to the medicine found in the cabin and the other items with previous passengers details on ..names dates etc..... Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Arcadia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.6
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 1.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.7

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