1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. P&O Cruises
  4. Arcadia Review
  5. Arcadia Cruise Reviews

23 P&O Cruises Arcadia Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

The last time we went on Arcadia was before her refit so was pleasantly surprised when we saw her again and saw how sympathetically P&O had done the refurbishment. The ship always flowed naturally and even with the insertion of new ... Read More
The last time we went on Arcadia was before her refit so was pleasantly surprised when we saw her again and saw how sympathetically P&O had done the refurbishment. The ship always flowed naturally and even with the insertion of new rooms and a longer Rising Sun Pub which was always packaged. We had a deluxe balcony cabin which had also been refurbished and was nice. The only fault we have is the air conditioning which you can only switch higher or lower and not turn off completely. We had second seating for dining and a table for two which we prefer and had lovely waiters who couldn't do enough for you and there was always something on the menu you could have. The Headliners shows were the best on this ship to any that we have seen before. And this troop was superb. The other entertainment brought on where really hit & miss and only the Basetones and Bruce Parker were to my liking. There's was always something going on throughout the day and if you wanted something to do, there was always something there. Our ports of call were good and a couple we had not been to before. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
was our 50th wedding anniversary, decided on this one to celebrate, we had a lovely time made some lovely friends in table sharing, crew were great and friendly, our cabin crew and table waiters were really great people who could ... Read More
was our 50th wedding anniversary, decided on this one to celebrate, we had a lovely time made some lovely friends in table sharing, crew were great and friendly, our cabin crew and table waiters were really great people who could never do enough for us. we enjoyed the evening entertainments, especially the "headliners" who were very professional. but indeed all the entertainment were first class in our view, the weather in the Canaries was really nice, 25 c and blue skies, we had nice days out during our own thing, and then went back onto the sundeck, lovely relaxing days, sad to miss out on the Azores, but the captain explained it was due to bad weather and he was taking into account the welfare of all on board, which -everyone we spoke to agreed, it was just one of those things, we went instead to Cadiz and the Vigo in Spain. still enjoyable. we thought the dining experience was nice, the Meridian dining at night, with a nice and a relaxed buffet style at any time if you wanted it toward top deck, all in all great experience. embarkation and disembarkation was so easy, so much easier than flying. thanks guys Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise as we had been on this ship last year so we were familiar with the layout. We had been recommended to do the cruise around the Baltics by several people who were on last years cruise, The embarkation for the ship was ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had been on this ship last year so we were familiar with the layout. We had been recommended to do the cruise around the Baltics by several people who were on last years cruise, The embarkation for the ship was fantastic, within half an hour of us arriving at the port we were on the ship. The only thing that held us up was trying to find a porter with a trolley to take the luggage away. We found our cabin easily but had to wait for our suitcases as they were all being scanned. Better safe than sorry! The cabin had a balcony and was well kept, clean and tidy. Our cabin steward was great as she was always ready with a smile and a greeting. We had a timed dining slot and were served by the same waiters throughout the cruise, they were brilliant. We built up a rapport with them as they came from India and the tests were being played. The food was very good and nothing was too much trouble for our waiters. Every meal we were asked if everything was ok, which we liked. We did try the restaurant for breakfast at the start of the cruise but ended up using the buffet instead as I wanted to choose what I wanted rather than get things off the set menu. The entertainment on the ship was fantastic. All the shows that we saw were West End standard. The entertainment team on the cruise were also very good. Plenty of different activities to take part in if you wanted to. We opted out of the service charge as the tips we gave were to the people who looked after us. As I was travelling with 2 less able walkers I booked the shore excursions online before we went. Oslo was expensive but beautiful, Gotland was full of history, Tallinn was wonderful and easily accessible on foot, Helsinki was amazing as we did the harbour cruise, St Petersburg was breath taking, the buildings were so grand that we couldn't understand how they survived the revolution, Warnemunde was the only place that it rained but it didn't detract us from walking around. Again it was easily accessible on foot. there were plenty of shops and cafes. Copenhagen was our last stop but the trip we took coincided with the visit of Mr Macron to the Queen. We managed to see the palaces but then got stuck in the traffic around the city as streets were closed and there were police everywhere. We did get to see the little mermaid. After that coach trip we were glad to be back on board. The tour guide was very apologetic but she did change the itinerary so that we could see the palaces before the police locked it down. We do like the Arcadia as it is an adults only ship and if we take another cruise it will probably be on that ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Our 15th cruise with P&O and our first on Arcadia, which means that we have now been on all ships in the P&O fleet at least once, so can make direct comparisons between them all. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see the Fjords ... Read More
Our 15th cruise with P&O and our first on Arcadia, which means that we have now been on all ships in the P&O fleet at least once, so can make direct comparisons between them all. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see the Fjords to Flaam and Olden, as our previous attempt (on Britannia) failed as P&O cancelled both ports a few months before (this has happened at least 6 times that I know of with Britannia). The itinerary certainly didn't disappoint. Both places were lovely and the cruises down the very long fjords were spectacular, especially as we had an aft corner wrap suite, which enabled us to enjoy some evening meals on the huge balcony whilst soaking in the views. Stavanger was pleasant (but we have been twice before) and Haugesund was interesting but like a ghost town - even though we were there Friday lunchtime! Although we very much liked our suite and we particularly enjoyed the Ocean Grill (Marco Pierre White restaurant), we found the main dining room (Meridian) to be the first poor one that we have experienced with P&O. The food was fine, but the layout is very poor. Tables for four were too small and a large proportion were alongside the main thoroughfare around the restaurant, so were not relaxing at all. We are used to having to take a pager for evening meals at peak times (Freedom dining) but have never had to stand around waiting for a table to become available at lunchtime before - yet we had to do this several times. I was told by a staff member that the waiters don't like this particular restaurant either and, frankly, you could tell. We are great fans of the main dining rooms elsewhere in the fleet (especially Aurora, which is superb) but not this one. P&O had just introduced new lunchtime menus on this ship, which are downright confusing. Rather than just list starters, main courses and desserts, you now have all sorts of random headings and now don't know whether what you have ordered is a starter or main course size - or whether it's hot or cold! This was catching a lot of people out, not just us. Given how poor the main dining room was, we really missed not having a Glasshouse (which we enjoy for a late lunch after a morning ashore, or when the main dining room menu doesn't appeal) or a Beach House (for when you are after something more casual). We avoid the buffet like the plague, but our adult daughters used it and said that the food areas were too small and had limited choice. We very much enjoyed the ability for suite passengers to have breakfast in Sindhu and the staff there were fantastic. It also saved us 7 further visits to the poor main dining room. We had one evening meal there and, again, the table was too small for four (tables for two were the same size). Even though curry is my absolute favourite food, I do not like Sindhu's take on it (same on all the other ships) but the three ladies all loved it (as they always do), so do not be deterred. The Headliners troupe on this cruise were all very good (that's not always the case) but none of the other entertainment appealed and, as has become the norm, daytime entertainment was dire. Embarkation was a little delayed due to a problem with the air bridge at the QE2 terminal. This still hadn't been fixed by our return, so we disembarked at City Cruise Terminal so, as well as now having travelled on all P&O ships, we have now used all Southampton cruise terminals! So, overall, it was the itinerary and the fact that we were very relieved to have booked a suite that made the cruise acceptable, but we wouldn't rush to return to Arcadia as it is now our least favourite P&O ship. By contrast, Aurora is our favourite, although the absence of an Epicurean restaurant (the one on Britannia is our favourite restauarant at sea) means that no ship is perfect. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were a party of four (aged 59, 60 & 70). We've tried to list the many highlights (of which they were lots) and to give a balanced review some things we think could be different (not many I can assure you). So here's ... Read More
We were a party of four (aged 59, 60 & 70). We've tried to list the many highlights (of which they were lots) and to give a balanced review some things we think could be different (not many I can assure you). So here's a go...... Embarkation - so quick meaning our holiday started immediately Staff - second to none especially the Waiters in the Meridian Restaurant (Saviour & Prakash). Ship - loved everything Entertainment - great team and the Headlines were superb Food - loved it - mainly ate in the Meridian but tried the Buffet and enjoyed that too Sindhu - loved it we went several times. Ports - all great.......cant say our favourite as enjoyed them all. Sail away parties - great fun Some things to improve or change.... Make the Taormina excursion longer - think this could be done easily Coach to Dubrovnik - we had a cab at a fraction of the price and right outside the Ship pick up and drop off Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Being disabled we needed an adapted cabin. Our original Carribbean cruise on the Aurora was cancelled and the only cruise we could get with our specific needs was on the Arcadia. We booked it because we've never been away at ... Read More
Being disabled we needed an adapted cabin. Our original Carribbean cruise on the Aurora was cancelled and the only cruise we could get with our specific needs was on the Arcadia. We booked it because we've never been away at Christmas and thought it'd be a nice idea. It left on the 16th December and returned on 9th January 2018. What a huge mistake we made! From the start it went down hill when we arrived at the port. Only two porters taking luggage and both tied up unloading a coach. By the time we received help we were cold and already fed up. Check in was it's usual chaos, took about an hour and a half. Next the cabin, what a let down. Supposedly a disabled cabin but not enough room to swing a cat. If you had anything bigger than a narrow wheelchair it wouldn't fit. Travellers beware! The food in the main dining venues was boring and somewhat lacking in taste and most of the service staff throughout the ship were either lapse or stressed. Sat for over 2 hours at the Neptune bar and not one waiter approached, we had to hunt for one when in need of a drink. Christmas cheer was not forthcoming and the decorations mediocre. Casino short on croupiers, New Year's Eve, a black tie event and nobody to open the Roulette tables. The whole trip was one big opportunity for P&O to fleece the passengers of as much money as possible. Getting off didn't go much better, again no porters. We'd booked a wheelchair taxi and the driver was parked at the very end of the bay and asked could she get a little closer. The reply came in the form of 'well they've managed for three weeks on board ship...' How's that just to round off the whole sorry saga? Have now cancelled the further two cruises we have for this year and won't use P&O again. Standards have plummeted since our original cruises in 2007. Surely we can't be the only one's who've had a bad experience on this cruise. According to P&O they only received good comments, we very much doubt that. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Hope you are prepared for this! We started well, a very quick check in and cases already in cabin when we arrived. Windy and cold when we left so no real sail away party. Usual lifeboat drill, with cabin cards being checked to make ... Read More
Hope you are prepared for this! We started well, a very quick check in and cases already in cabin when we arrived. Windy and cold when we left so no real sail away party. Usual lifeboat drill, with cabin cards being checked to make sure everyone attended (a bit of a shambles in the theatre with some people who didn't show their card and never got asked for it). Then back to complete unpacking and ready for dinner. First sitting on table for six and delightful table companions. One couple had been upgraded to a suite so at that point felt quite jealous.... First night a little windy but nothing untoward however it gradually increased - force 7, force 8, until one evening yes, you guessed it force 10..... (so glad I had taken my seasick tablets!!) However I felt Arcadia coped well, although the bangs, bumps and creaking did cause several comments. I no longer felt jealous of , our now friends , in the suite as it was situated at the stern right over the propellers and very very noisy and bumpy in their cabin. It was five days before we could really venture outside safely. No swimming pool neither - far too dangerous. But it was lovely being rocked to sleep each night. Finally got into New York which was extremely busy and very hot (Donald Trump and United Nations in town!!!!!) Very high security everywhere and lots of roads closed off to traffic so our taxi driver had to drop us off in the middle of the road. Then the fun started again, New Port missed because the hurricane was catching up, made Boston safely in the pouring rain but Bar Harbor missed because again bad weather catching up. Eventually got safely into Halifax where we had a trip to Peggy's Cove which was far too short - about 40 minutes there- then back on board ready to leave. BUT NO - a rope tight around asipod so we were stuck! So instead of sailing away for Saguenay we stayed in Halifax and the next day we wandered into the quayside. By the way, we had to berth much further down than usual so we had to use a shuttle bus just to get out of the secure area where we were. Then we had to miss Saguenay and straight on to Quebec for our two day stay-Wrong Again we didn't arrive until 9 pm the first day so one day there missed. Second day in Quebec was lovely. Bright and sunny. THEN as we prepare for sail away the captain informed us that instead of going on to Sydney we were going to head BACK to Saguenay as that was a much nicer port sailing up the fiord . If anyone does go to Saguenay, the "La Fabuleuse " show is not to be missed. It is absolutely amazing, brilliant, wonderful..... However by this time many people were very unhappy as missing out on tours, disappointed at missing seeing relatives and often general lack of information. Personally, hubby and I felt the captain did the best he could and the excursion staff went all out to rearrange tours and put on additional ones for people where possible. Total of three ports missed and shortened stay in Quebec. Of course this further change to the itinerary meant six days at sea coming home instead of five. However P&O did compensate a bit with the odd bribe here and there..... BUT FOR US the icing on the cake was on the third day into the cruise whilst in the middle of the Atlantic we booked a further cruise -ON ADONIA! Eight days later we joined a large queue of people trying to find a new cruise to book...honestly the loyalty manager didn't even know about the sale of Adonia.. Arcadia is still a good ship although perhaps a little tired in places. Unfortunately several couples had to move cabin because of leaks etc - one couple three times, but she is going in for a full refit in November when all these problems will be solved (hopefully). The food in the MDR was excellent. Plenty of choice and as much as you wanted if you asked. The Headliners on this cruise were the best we have seen on any cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed the shows. The entertainment manager was also brilliant and really worked hard as did his team. Other entertainment varied but I always feel it is personal choice - I didn't like the second show by the comedian but hubby did! I loved the local dance team brought on -but hubby didn't. The usual Art and Bridge classes were well attended and there were plenty of interesting talks etc every day. Overall I think it was a good cruise despite lots of problems and as usual all the P&O staff on board were brilliant and couldn't do enough for you. Can not say the same for the shop staff who are often quite rude and pushy. Next cruise in May is on Oriana for the first time but we will certainly go back to Arcadia as soon as possible. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Beautiful ship, excellent service from all the staff, food excellent and plenty of it, outstanding from start to finish, will be cruising with Acadia again, I travelled with my disabled parents and the staff were always ready to help, the ... Read More
Beautiful ship, excellent service from all the staff, food excellent and plenty of it, outstanding from start to finish, will be cruising with Acadia again, I travelled with my disabled parents and the staff were always ready to help, the ports we stopped off at were within a short walk from the ship in dock to the shop's and scenery, embarkation was easy and quick, suitcases were delivered to cabin, very relaxing and enjoyable cruise, my parents had disabled cabin with balcony and everything was there that was needed, good selection of shops on board but we did find them a bit expensive, a variety of bars with music and entertainment to suit all, I loved the glass lifts where you could see the sea as you go up and down, the palladiam theatre is worth a visit for entertainment, was sorry when the cruise came to an end, well done Acadia and a big thank you Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We had been to The Fiords before and wanted a short cruise where we could get an accessible cabin. We tried all the other cruise lines without success and as a last resort tried P&O. They had one balcony cabin left and we booked that. ... Read More
We had been to The Fiords before and wanted a short cruise where we could get an accessible cabin. We tried all the other cruise lines without success and as a last resort tried P&O. They had one balcony cabin left and we booked that. When we arrived at the ship the check in was easy and without hitch. That's where it stopped. We were told our cabin was ready and to go to deck six. As we were both on mini scooters getting a lift was almost impossible, everybody kept pushing in front of us (and these were supposed to be adults ) We got a lift after over half an hour and went up to deck 6 only to find our cabin C2 was right at the front of the ship. There was no easy way to open the door and we had to wait for our cabin steward to open the door for us. That was just the start ! The balcony was totally inaccessible for two reasons , firstly the electric curtains opened the wrong side and covered the door, secondly the balcony was so small the chairs each had one leg resting on the ramp and therefore the both rocked from side to side. There was no room to put the footrest out so they were piled on top of one another. If the chairs were pushed forward off the ramp they were against the balcony rail ! The cabin was at the very font of the ship and the dining saloon was at the very back, a long way to go if you are disabled. The toilet roll holder was 12" from the floor, needs raising 2ft. Finally the TV wiring would have been condemned by any electrician as being dangerous ! If it was not for the very high quality of the food and the very helpful staff this holiday would have been a total disaster. I have already reported this to P&O but they have not had the decency to reply. If you are disabled be warned, reject cabin C2. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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
Lovely ports of call made us choose this itinerary and adult medium ship. Dining was excellent, lectures varied and interesting, the evening entertainment was on the whole very good but the Headliners on ship singers and dancers were ... Read More
Lovely ports of call made us choose this itinerary and adult medium ship. Dining was excellent, lectures varied and interesting, the evening entertainment was on the whole very good but the Headliners on ship singers and dancers were absolutely excellent. All very talented and ranked as good as any west end show. The cabin was the problem A86 mid aft four down from midships on port side. See cabin review and beware! Not worth the money. Excursions were varied and we took advantage of many in countries as Australia, New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, Japan, South Korea and China all well organised on time and educational. The dining area was well laid out although our table 48 was over the top of the propellor shafts and not only noisy but juddered from the vibrations. Most ships seem to think that rear ship for dining front for theatre and entertaining all at low level. Better if higher up, less shaking and stick the night club and gyms down the rear. Conversation had to be raised when ship moving above 17 knots, obviously designers never take a holiday on cruise ships. Still did not spoil a wonderful holiday (except cabin) see below. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Food and service was the poorest I have ever encountered in over 3 decades of cruising. Arcadia are obviously putting cost first and trying to attract a new breed of cruiser who are not that particular. The food in the MDR was more like ... Read More
Food and service was the poorest I have ever encountered in over 3 decades of cruising. Arcadia are obviously putting cost first and trying to attract a new breed of cruiser who are not that particular. The food in the MDR was more like you could expect in a budget holiday camp, I actually LOST weight on the cruise, The food in the self service was even worse. Our cabin was totally inadequate for a disabled cabin, the wall at the bottom of the bed had been badly damaged by previous occupants as there war insufficient room to get a wheelchair through,, not that it mattered as the bed was at a 45degree angle to the dressing table meaning my wife couldn't use it. The carpet was full of stains and the cabin was dirty. On arrival there was a vase with a single flower in it which died, we decided to see if the cabin boy would throw it away or replace it... I threw it away at the end of the cruise 24 days later. Entertainment was poor to say the least, the cheapest berths in ports were obviously taken up... all in all a poor cruise. Sorry P&O you have lost a customer Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
It was our silver anniversary, have been to Norway before but still amazed us with its scenery and waterfalls .First time for my wife on p&o, my second, Cabin was very good, situated on c deck near lifts, got lost several times early ... Read More
It was our silver anniversary, have been to Norway before but still amazed us with its scenery and waterfalls .First time for my wife on p&o, my second, Cabin was very good, situated on c deck near lifts, got lost several times early on, think they could have put deck plans in the lifts.Have done several cruises with Thomsons, so had to compare to them, Entertainment in theatre was good, headliners put on good shows, guest artists also, witnessed accident in there, some chap fell down stairs, the attention he got was excellent, 2 nurses there inside 5 minutes, and emergency tannoy was done then and upto 15 staff attended in another 5 minutes. Thanks to this swift attention he fully recovered by next nght. Food,the choice of English fare at lunch time in the buffet was poor, breakfast was good, in the Meridian there was a lot of repetition, though it was nicely cooked and large portions.The grill was brilliant, 3 lovely courses, well presented although it took over 2 hours to get through it.Staff were friendly and attentive. Lastly the weather was very good, got very hot on a couple of days. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We booked this section of the Arcadia's world trip in early 2015 as we were tempted by the stay in Sydney, the airline offered and the Great Barrier Reef. As an afterthought I consulted Cruise Critic and saw that many of the reviews ... Read More
We booked this section of the Arcadia's world trip in early 2015 as we were tempted by the stay in Sydney, the airline offered and the Great Barrier Reef. As an afterthought I consulted Cruise Critic and saw that many of the reviews commented on the "Arcadia Cough". Having just had a terrible time in Florida and New York with a cough and wheezing chest I tried to cancel the trip. Our travel agent refused to cancel and in the end we decided that we should risk it. Thank goodness for that! We loved the Arcadia and I can honestly say that I did not hear anyone coughing throughout the trip. The first night in the Meridian free dining restaurant was not a roaring success as I chose the tomato soup (It was nominated as a favourite of Arcadia passengers) which was worse than any tomato soup I had ever tried. I mentioned it to the waiter who passed on my comment to the restaurant manager who listened politely and said he would pass on my comments to the Chef. From that moment the food became better and better if I can forgive them for the Morton Bay Bug which they served on the first of two Formal nights. I always took breakfast in the Belvedere self-service restaurant which had a huge choice of hot and cold dishes. I would have liked some Indian-style dishes occasionally but that is nit-picking. My mother had her breakfast at 9.30 am in the cabin. Our cabin was a last minute allocation and it was designed for handicap access. It had the biggest bathroom (shower only) I have ever had in a cruise ship and an excellent balcony on the port side reasonably near the forward lifts on Egypt deck. The theatre, the Crow's Nest bar and the pub are all at the front of the ship. It was nice to be able to sit in various places on the ship without having to put up with cocktail pianists and loud singing duos which for me blighted such ships as the Victoria. It reminded me of the QM2 in its sound free zones. We loved the bridge classes and the daily duplicates run by Tony and Sheila Cordery and the mini-concerts in the Globe. but for the most part the theatre acts were forgettable. The entertainment team were great fun and never forgot that they were there for us - I have been on many ships where the Entertainment staff were very highhanded in their approach. We took private tours at all the ports of call and thought that Yorkey's Knob was the most enjoyable and worth another day because of the choice of excursions. Manila was an interesting port but there was very little to do other than shopping. The Queen Mary 2 is till our favourite ship but our Arcadian experience was extremely enjoyable Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We are recently returned from another delightful cruise on Arcadia. She is our favourite ship and it feels like coming home as soon as we board her. I cruise with my mum who is 85 and is not very mobile, she uses a rollator. We find ... Read More
We are recently returned from another delightful cruise on Arcadia. She is our favourite ship and it feels like coming home as soon as we board her. I cruise with my mum who is 85 and is not very mobile, she uses a rollator. We find Arcadia very easy to get about on, although mum did say this timethat all the new carpets made it harder to push 'Roly'. The food was excellent, good choices every night in the Meridian. We had room service breakfast every day, it's easier and i can enjoy our sail ins on the balcony. We have a mini suite and we really make the most of the space. Lunch we usually had in the Belvedere and the choices were enough for us each day. Headliners were an excellent troupe, one of the best we have seen. We enjoyed Tom O’Conner and met him around the ship which was nice. As we cruised 3 times on Arcadia last year we were pleased to see Stuart Anderson on board again, he sings and plays piano and guitar, great to listen to. Service was as usual, excellent. Everyone is helpful and nothing was too much trouble. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
As a fortieth wedding anniversary treat we booked cruise J503 on Arcadia. Denise, my wife is wheelchair bound and this was our first cruise without family so we were concerned whether we would cope. Embarkation was a breeze. Our daughter ... Read More
As a fortieth wedding anniversary treat we booked cruise J503 on Arcadia. Denise, my wife is wheelchair bound and this was our first cruise without family so we were concerned whether we would cope. Embarkation was a breeze. Our daughter dropped us off, our suitcases were collected by a porter and we entered the departure area to book in. Within 20 minutes we were in our cabin. The cabin itself was ok but hardly fully adapted as described. Plenty of storage space but a lack of a full length wardrobe left Denise's dresses half folded. P&O make much of their fine dining experience but again it was slightly disappointing. Food was not always very hot and at times could only be described as bland. Choice of vegetables seemed to be anything you liked, as long as it was brocolli ! Conversation with other passengers, many of whom were Arcadia regulars, suggested that the standard of dining had diminished since the abolition of silver service. Plates now arrive fully plated and are unceremoniously plonked in front of you. However, waiter service and wine waiter service was excellent. Port and shore excursions were good. At Cadiz most boarded coaches for Seville but my days of manhandling Denise onto a coach have long gone so we spent an enjoyable day wandering around Cadiz. Messina is not a place I wish to return to in a hurry! I have never seen so much graffiti, it was scrawled everywhere. The whole place looked as if it could do with a good lick of paint. The harbour was full of floating rubbish. However, it has a magnificent cathedral. Pretty Corfu was the next stop. Unfortunately no shuttle buses were provided for the disabled so we were left with a lengthy walk to the old town. P&O please note, if you supply a service (ie shuttle bus) for able bodied passengers, by European Disability Law you MUST provide the same service for disabled passengers otherwise you are guilty of disability discrimination. Rant over. Must admit we quite enjoyed the 2 mile stroll into town. Next was beautiful Dubrovnik. We booked a wheelchair accessible tour here and were taken by adapted minibus way into the country to a farm that milled it's own flour, then onto Cavtat, then to Dubrovnik old town. Excellent tour with an excellent guide. Venice followed and again we booked an wheelchair accessible tour. Expensive but well worth the money. From the ship to Tronchetto Island to board a valparetto for the trip to St Marks Square. We had a personal guide all day as part of the tour package. Fabulous day. Split was an anti-climax as we knew that the ship was tendered here, so we spent a relaxing day on board recovering from Dubrovnik and Venice. Then followed a lengthy trip to Gibraltar for a flying visit ( 4 hours) and being Sunday most of the shops were closed. And finally to Southampton where disembarkation was just as smooth as embarkation. On board entertainment generally was excellent. The Headliners Theatre Group produced some excellent shows. Arcadia herself is showing signs of wear and tear. Buckets catching dripping water became a more frequent sight as the cruise went on. I think a decent refit is long overdue. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed it despite a few gripes. I may be a little generous giving it four stars. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Arcadia cruise 9-20 December 2014 cruise J421 Our first impression was a good one as we arrived at the new Mayflower Teminal. It is very well designed and set out, much improved on the "shed" we were in in 2008. We had to wait ... Read More
Arcadia cruise 9-20 December 2014 cruise J421 Our first impression was a good one as we arrived at the new Mayflower Teminal. It is very well designed and set out, much improved on the "shed" we were in in 2008. We had to wait two hours for a friend who was joining us but had lost his passport. We were guided to comfortable seats in a roped off area complete with brass stands, brass knobs and royal blue rope. There were refreshments and a ringside view of everyone coming and going. We booked this cruise at future cruise sales when we were on Aurora in June. I use a mobility scooter and need to book an adapted cabin so it was agreed at the time of booking that cabin C2 would be suitable to my needs. I had the scooter with me when we booked. Despite this and filling in all the forms in advance, when we checked in P&O reckoned we were not in a cabin suited to a scooter so another 40 mins while they sorted that one out. Eventually we got on board and after checking the cabin made our way to the Belvedere Buffet for a very tasty lunch. Good first impression on the food, even for my partner who is vegetarian, something very few caterers understand. Muster drill was a bit of a comedy. They kept announcing to keep the lifts for for the lame and lazy but they were full of the fit.  I eventually got into a lift with a woman in her nineties but the lift would not go where we wanted and took us up and down ad nauseam. We were in there so long her father was waiting for us when we got out to demand I make an honest woman of her. You might be surprised at the number of people complaining about what a farce having a muster drill was, you would think that after the Costa Concordia disaster they would see it in a different light. We were on Freedom Dining and it felt like they were operating a smart wheeze at dinner. When you arrive you are given a pager and told there is a half hour wait so "you might be more comfortable waiting in one of the bars". We had just bought a drink when the pager went off. Less than ten minutes, they must have really upped the drinks revenue. We were all pleased with dinner but that awful refined diesel oil that they try to pass for butter had followed us from the last cruise. Thankfully the buffet had little pats of Irish butter so we smuggled some out. We came back after lunch to a letter for each of us accusing us how not having registered a credit card and threatening to stop our credit. This has happened every time we have sailed with P&O despite all the rigmarole of them swiping cards and taking signatures at check in. It turns out that the P&O computer system could not cope with my partner's name which starts O'R...... They do not do apostrophes and said he would need to change the spelling to Or..... I presume he cannot be the only traveller with an apostrophe and as it has been causing problems for us since 2008 I am sure it could have been sorted. The cabin was fine and the steward kept on top of it but it really needed a good deep clean as there was a lot of fluff going back a long time under the bed and settee. There were a couple of inexcusable problems in the bathroom. A very badly scored toilet seat, the scores yellow with urine and a mouldy bathmat. We complained and they were replaced. The food onboard ship has been excellent. Every morsel tasty, good quality and well cooked. A hundred times better than our first Arcadia Christmas 2008. Then we paid £5700 for a balcony cabin for the two of us and parted with the money as we believed they would really push the boat out (if you will pardon the pun) but apart from a wallet "from Santa" tossed unwrapped onto the bed there was nothing extra. On that cruise there was a standing joke about being served potato croquettes and carrot medallions at every meal and by the end of the cruise it was not a joke, it was a recurring horror story. That was the one where at afternoon tea, William, the vegetarian got two slices of bread with just a rocket leaf! He asked if he could not at least have a cheese sandwich and was told he should have given 24 hours notice for that.  So well done Arcadia, you have redeemed yourselves. One of the highlights in the Palladium theatre was a great male singing quartet. Former West End Musical singers who have formed a group. Their performance was amazing on the first night hence the reason we headed off early and camped out in the front row for their next show.  Check our fourtunes.com Ports Our first port was Vigo. A tip for disabled visitors. Ask any taxi driver on the rank to call you an accessible cab and they phone "Eurocabs" for you. I was able to drive my scooter right into the cab. There is a €5 cover charge but it was only an extra €4 to take us to the top of the town. Porto was next. Another tip for disabled visitors. It is very hilly you might make it down to the railway station with its magnificent tile murals and the cathedral, great views of the river from there and the port producers on the opposite bank. If you go further down be prepared to get a taxi back to the coach drop off. We have been to Cadiz many times and we were hoping for good weather to walk along the shore then make our way back into the city via the Roman Amphitheatre but the rain was torrential and relentless so we gave up and returned to the ship. At which tme the sun came out and we got an hour sitting out but it was short lived then back to rain. Malaga was a gem, What a lovely city. A great central shopping street, very stylish with all the top brands. A well developed port with an attractive marina, more shops cafes, bars and well kept beaches. At each corner an attractive square with beautiful historic buildings all very sympathetically preserved.  We took the accessible mini bus shuttle into the city but walked back through the marina and along the promendade. Do not be afraid to stop for refreshments in the marina, it is all very reasonable priced and they have the cutest, tamest sparrows that will eat out of your hand. We were told in the booking info that we would spend the morning in Gibraltar. Once the daily paper has been circulated we learned we dock at 7 and leave at 11.30. People tend to save their shopping for Gib as it is so British but as shops open at 10 there was just an hour before one needed to head back to port. My companions went up the Rock on the cable car but it was not accessible for me, too many steps. So I stayed in the car park below. I tried the Almeda Botanical  Gardens but same again, steps!. I guess that was to be expected from a settlement built for mountain goats.  They found the cable car quick and the top of the rock unusually quiet. The monkeys (Macaques) were there but much better behaved. There are signs up threatening. £4,000 fine for feeding them. There were babies, very cute, we have pictures. Protective adults, not very cute with threatening grimaces and great pictures of the view all around is it was such a clear morning. I was reading that the Macaque population had got out of control so they have introduced a system of modern birth control (Marie Stopes eat your heart out) and exported a few families to a park in Scotland. We had a wonderful day in Lisbon, 7 hours. My companions hired Segways from Red Tour Segways in Rua Dos Fanquieros, a man we have patronised for years.  I was impressed by the performance of my scooter but Lisbon being so flat the load was reduced a little despite carrying half the P&O buffet round my midriff. I set off with such good intention but the food is all so good!!!!! Measuring it out later the scooter did about 7 miles so just made it back to the cabin before the battery died. It is the one question people ask me all the time. "How many miles do you get out of it?" But there are so many variables it is almost impossible to answer.  I found a lovely local deli in a back street selling smelly fish and cheese and got some good wines for the couple who are looking after the car. We had Coffee and Nata, the Portugese custard tart, a Christmas speciality, at the St Nicholas cafe in the main pedestrian street that runs off Black Horse Square.  We had been warned about thieves and pickpockets but the biggest surprise was the number of men who sidled past muttering "cocaine? hashish? Marihuana?" I bet they shopped any tourists who bought drugs to the police for a cut of the profit as there were lots of Polis around who must have known what they were doing. I tried sidling up to people muttering "Sennacot? Omeprazole? Rennies?". Once the rush hour traffic was clear the streets were fairly quiet as there is a two day rail and metro strike on. To those of us who have been coming to Lisbon for many years you can see how badly it has suffered under the recession. Many empty shops and abandoned premises with older shopkeepers presiding over out of date stock that was once their livelihood. Many more beggars, local people and not addled with drink or drugs just abandoned by the state. They have made a good start with dropped pavements and are half way to full accessibility. Half way, in the you drive off the pavement and get to the other side of the crossing to be met by a 6inch kerb.  Then back to the ship and the two day cruise back to Southampton. All in all it was a good cruise. So we would definitely do Arcadia again after this one. Well done P&O .   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Myself and my disabled wife paid £3000 for a twelve night trip aboard Arcadia sailing from Southampton back to Southampton returning on the 9th December 2014. From the outside Arcadia looked great and we were very excited when waiting to ... Read More
Myself and my disabled wife paid £3000 for a twelve night trip aboard Arcadia sailing from Southampton back to Southampton returning on the 9th December 2014. From the outside Arcadia looked great and we were very excited when waiting to board her, our excitement disappeared when we entered our mini suite number Delta 001, it was very tired and dated and there was mildew on the bathroom tiles in the shower. The shower door was very loose which we reported to reception. We unpacked and ventured out to explore the ship and have lunch, we found most of the staff rude surly and unhelpful when you asked for anything and they looked very board. We had our life boat muster drill in the Palladium Theatre on deck three, this was our first view of the theatre and was very impressed by it and looking forward to the shows there. On the first night we were introduced to the entertainment team led by Cruise Director.  The Headliners singing and dance group were fantastic and very hard working. The dinning room staff were most of the time very surly bordering on rude and we found the menus boring. The best place to eat was East but this cost you £15 per head to eat there. We had a coffee maker in our suite and when we ran out of coffee sacks had a very hard job to get them replaced by the butler service department. Room service was beyond belief, you ordered what you wanted but what you received nearly always was not what you had ordered it was our daily amusement seeing what was delivered to our suite by the staff. The shops on board are very expensive the staff very rude and pushy when dealing with you. What they sell can be bought cheaper on shore and that is what we did most of the time. Other than the head Liners the only act we liked was the comedian his to shows was great the other acts was good on their first show but their second show was not so good and let them down. Most of the time the swimming pools were closed due to the weather conditions in the area that we were in. We do not think that the way Arcadia rolled that the Captain ever deployed the ships stabilizers was this to save fuel for the company we wonder? We have sailed with P&O on a number of times and this was our worst ever cruise with them and the condition of the ship and the attitude of most of the crew spoilt a rather expensive holiday for us. some of the ports we visited the gangways were way beyond the safety levels of decent laid down for disabled people it took four crew members to get my wife and her wheel chair down the gradient of the gang way safely. We were also disappointed with the television on board you could not track your on board account or order room service yet these were brand new televisions fitted whilst she was docked at Southampton but did not work to their capabilities. The two best ships that P&O have Ventura and Azure are based abroad so if you wish to cruise on them you have to fly out to join them what a shame for us passengers who cannot fly but love these two ships. Our advice to you if you are thinking of going on a cruise on the Arcadia is don't she needs a complete refit or sold on she is to old and dated.     Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This is the third cruise we have had with P & O over 7 years but the adults only Arcadia was by far the worst. The cruise is mainly targeted at elderly people and the average age must have exceeded 80 years during our voyage. Standards ... Read More
This is the third cruise we have had with P & O over 7 years but the adults only Arcadia was by far the worst. The cruise is mainly targeted at elderly people and the average age must have exceeded 80 years during our voyage. Standards have slipped, food quality not as good and reflected the age group. Alcoholic drinks are rather expensive. Very little entertainment on board unless you are a bingo player then you will be in your element, however don't fall asleep whilst playing. We also noticed people falling asleep at breakfast at 0900 hours... what next? The Headliners entertaining in the Palladium were awful and put us off most of the evening entertainment. Guest stars were OK with Roy Walker being excellent. Cost of Wi-Fi is a joke and should be free to passengers not GBP 0.50 per minute. Trips ashore are getting shorter and more expensive with insufficient free time on the trips. Insufficient sunbeds on the Aquarius sun deck and you had to be careful in not being run over by a motorised wheel chair. On one occasion I was assaulted by a woman wheedling a walking stick. P & O please get your act together and move with times otherwise you will lose business to your competitors. We will seriously consider other cruise companies after this voyage Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and ... Read More
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and tatties, beef hotpots and the like, although the food on board was excellent too - despite the hi-falutin' names given to some of the courses. (Our previous (and first) cruise on Arcadia (J202) in April/May 2012 was not a particularly pleasurable experience for us. However, we are very pleased to report that our initial misgivings of a repeat cruise aboard Arcadia were largely dispelled.) We're both getting on in years. My wife is disabled and 95% confined to a wheelchair so it is always a welcome break for me not to have to shop, cook and look after the household maintenance and fiscal admin and, instead, getting some sea air, visual stimulation and gastronomic pampering a la P&O style. Arcadia was completely free of noro-virus on boarding. It remained so for the whole of the 18-night cruise thanks to the particularly strict hygiene protocols imposed by P&O for the first two days of the cruise and, of course, the compliance of all the passengers and crew. (I 'elbowed' my choice of deck in the lifts etc.) The weather was a good deal better than we expected for December and January even for the Med. We were on the starboard side (that's the right hand side looking towards the sharp-end for you landlubbers.) and we were favoured by being on the sunniest side of the ship especially in port (it really is the luck of the draw between which side of the ship gets the sun when berthed alongside). In Livorno (N Italy) it touched 100F full frontal (but only 90F in the shade) on the balcony of our cabin. Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) touched 94F full frontal the day before. Outbound the Bay of Biscay was a bit choppy but a mill-pond on the return crossing but otherwise never too turbulent elsewhere. Online, I had pre-booked a private taxi tour of Lisbon which turned out to be cheaper and better than any arranged P & O excursions tour. Our charming and helpful mini-skirted driver, Maria, was there waiting for us at the bottom of the gang-way with a freshly-valetted, sparkling car. (This is the second time we have successfully used the 'Net to book a taxi-tour - the last time being Madeira on a previous cruise.) At the ship's side in Livorno we joined 4 other passengers on an ad hoc 3-hour mini-bus tour to Pisa for Euros 20 each. It was well worth it. Even the cups of cafe latte and cappuccino we had in a cafe were no more than one would expect to pay in Starbucks back home or even in the Cafe Vivo on board ship - with a direct view of the Leaning Tower thrown in for free! Our favourite port-of-call was Barcelona - we both loved the relaxed atmosphere of the warm and sunny Ramblas and surrounding areas with visitors of all ages just strolling about, care-free. Everywhere was neat and well-kempt with easy wheelchair access. Our least favourite port visit was Gibraltar where the shuttle-bus driver was very curt, rude and most unwelcoming. So much so that we returned to the ship rather than go shopping and spend our money for Gibraltar's economic benefit. (It just so happened our side of the ship gave us an awesome view of The Rock itself .... and to make us feel at-home, a Morrison's grocery store directly opposite to us!) We were told afterwards that the driver was probably a Spaniard from Algeciras. Cunard's Queen Elizabeth was also berthed alongside so there was a total of 4,000+ passengers and up to 1,600 crew let loose on Gibraltar .... we were afterwards told it was jam-packed and not easy-going for wheel-chairs. The ever-attentive, cheerful, friendly, mostly Indian waiters and cabin stewards are a significant part of the P & O brand of cruising - we only hope that P & O never lose sight of this fact. They are not excessively subservient nowadays and will engage in friendly repartee when given half the chance. Be stuffy with them and they'll be stuffy with you. We thanked our cabin steward for some little deed he had done for us - he replied, with a broad appreciative grin that it was his duty! Try and find that attitude in the UK - if you can! We cannot comment on the entertainment provided on board as we didn't partake of any part of it. Being on 2nd sitting for dinner - complete with a G & T before, a large glass of wine during, and usually a large Courvoisier to accompany coffee ... we were only too happy to return to our cabin, get comfortable in pyjamas and dressing gown and relax, even sit on the balcony looking up at the stars, perchance to dream. We feel we have to comment about some of the moaning minnies and maurices we encountered on board. It may be the downside of Arcadia being an Adults-only ship(?). Some were uncomfortable with us joining their lift and looked down their noses at my wife in her wheelchair almost as if being unable to walk might be catching! (Beware the mirrors in the lifts that catch all the expressions of all the occupants from all angles!). We encountered some older passengers who languidly strolled the corridors without a thought for any others. There were times when they'd just stop dead to look at something (like a photograph in The Gallery or a ship in a glass display case.) and who'd get an unexpected surprise of some part of a wheelchair gently but firmly reminding them that they could be more aware of who and what may be just behind them. I just cannot stop the momentum of a wheelchair as quickly as they can stop! We encountered an elderly trio (who we came to refer to as the Gruesome Threesome) who, within minutes of our asking to join their table in the crowded Piano Bar for a pre-prandial drink, who then spotted an just-vacated table nearby and quite abruptly moved to it, without a by-your-leave. It was then we noticed that they didn't have any drinks to move ... so they were maybe rabidly tee-total. The Temperance Three? But how UNfriendly and intolerant can you get? There was one memorable breakfasting old dear who complained at length that the knife provided for buttering her toast was rather too heavy for her! We guessed that she just had to find something to moan about. (And that was at the very start of her day!). Where's all that indomitable spirit that's often said about the older generation? And my goodness! Some of those apparently frail little old dears can seriously pack the food away. 'Full English' breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and 6-course dinners ....... their plates were cleared. Maybe they complained about the food because they couldn't get enough of it? Any way - to round off and despite some of the foregoing, this Christmas and New Year cruise was most enjoyable and memorable for us. (We are both determined to spend our money rather than allow our savings interest be taxed to contribute to the free provision of a 4/5 bed-roomed detached house in a desirable area of London for the likes of Hook Hamza and his family. So, to this end, our next cruise is already booked for April/May 2013 on board Adonia (the smallest of the seven P & O ships accommodating only 710 passengers instead of the Arcadia's 2000+). The cruise is to the central Med this time. Because it is a smaller ship it can get into the smaller ports that cannot accommodate the bigger ships like Arcadia. The cruise dates cover both our birthdays (don't ask!) and visits eight ports amongst which are Cartagena in Spain, Sarande in Albania (should be very interesting?), Kotor in Montenegro, Rijeka in Croatia, and our very favourite destination city of Venice .... for the second time.) It hardly seems worth unpacking from our last cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The only thing that was upsetting for me on this cruise was 1 couple, who ( audibly ) made it clear to everyone within earshot that everything was ( insert rude words here ) not up to the standards of The Queen Mary 2. If Carnival ... Read More
The only thing that was upsetting for me on this cruise was 1 couple, who ( audibly ) made it clear to everyone within earshot that everything was ( insert rude words here ) not up to the standards of The Queen Mary 2. If Carnival wanted all of their ships like the Queens, they would brand them as such, and if people like this like the Cunard ships so much, why are they on this cruise in the first place. A lot of people are complaining about falling standards and budget cuts, well in my opinion they are doing the same thing as P&O and a lot of other cruise lines by booking cruises like this in the first place, if they were not budget cutting themselves they could quite easily have booked a cruise with a similar itinerary on a more expensive cruise line. Leon De Se Croix and the entire entertainments team and the Headliners were amazing, always on hand for fun ad enjoyment, and were always willing to spend time getting to know the passengers. All staff that I encountered were polite, friendly and nothing was too much trouble. I only drink draft coke, and in certain places on ship this is not to hand, however on several occasions, the waiters have gone out of their way for me, and went to the other side of the ship to get a draft coke for me to have with my dinner. Food was excellent, Georgina in the Belvedere restaurant was always friendly, and the food their was fantastic. I only had one complaint down in the Meridian restaurant, and this was not with the way it was cooked but the product itself, and they replaced it for me with no questions asked. I think some people complain far to quickly, and should try and allow them to resolve the issue first, which in all instances I have experienced, they do straight away. Maybe it is how we as customers handle the situation, going in all guns blazing does not get good results !!! Everywhere on the ship was clean and tidy, there was scheduled maintenance on board at the Aquarius Bar Deck 9 & 10 aft, and it shows they are still keeping the standards high. Maintenance is inevitable, and not all can be carried out at once !! The room was fantastic, and our cabin steward was very attentive. The casino staff were also fantastic and showed me how to play roulette, and I walked away with more than I started with, so this was a big bonus :) I would be very happy to go on Arcadia again, and I aim to work my way through the P&O Fleet. Lets just hope the nothing is ever right crew stay away :) Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Arcadia just doesn't have the aura of Aurora! (Sub-titled Has P & O lost the plot?) We are both fairly new to cruising and Cruise J202 to The Atlantic Islands onboard Arcadia was our first time on this particular ... Read More
Arcadia just doesn't have the aura of Aurora! (Sub-titled Has P & O lost the plot?) We are both fairly new to cruising and Cruise J202 to The Atlantic Islands onboard Arcadia was our first time on this particular (adults-only) ship after having taken our three previous cruises on Aurora. I celebrated my 73rd birthday while on board. My wife who had her 65th birthday just before we embarked, is mobility disabled and almost completely confined to a wheel-chair. We travelled to Southampton via the dedicated service of Eavesway Travel. [After loading our luggage on to the coach at Nottingham Trowell Services on the M1 .... we didn't see it again until it was delivered to our balcony cabin for the disabled - A31]. It was a splendid service. The decor and presentation of this cabin was excellent and impressive although, as we slowly discovered, there was much less drawer storage than on Aurora but, surprisingly, there was no easy chair or sofa in the cabin - only 2 rather uncomfortable straight-backed chairs. We hadn't packed bath-robes as they had always been provided on the Aurora but William, our ever-resourceful cabin steward managed to provide 2 within a day of asking. Arcadia is well-appointed .... quite posh even - as you'd expect from a ship that was originally built to be Cunard's Queen Victoria. All the public parts were very smart and clean although there were less-public parts of the ship that were a bit shabby with peeling varnish on the balcony hand-rails, corroded bottom rails under the glass panels of our balcony, peeling white paint on the balcony light-housing, paint and varnish splatters on (our) balcony deck. 'A little tired' is how we would describe it. (Photo's are available!) We found the food to be excellent and had the edge on Aurora's offerings last Xmas & New Year with quite generous portions. The executive chef, Steve Butcher and his chefs did a splendid job. (On our last cruise on Aurora we unfortunately contracted noro-virus during a rather serious out-break. First my wife was quarantined in our cabin for 2 full days. On the 3rd day - inevitably, I'd guess, I went down with it - losing us 5 days out of a 15-day cruise. (After our return I read somewhere that the virus was 'rife' on Aurora.) It's worthy of comment that P & O didn't provide as much as a free bottle of water which we were exhorted to drink lots of, despite not having to provide us with the richer ship-board fare for several days. How mean can P & O get?) Unfortunately Arcadia had a minor outbreak of noro-virus on this cruise, too! It struck me that it broke out about the same number of days into the cruise as on Aurora! Maybe the virus is endemic on board (some) cruise-ships and the few days before the outbreak is the incubating period for the new passengers? (I have only just read that Arcadia already had the virus on board on the last leg of the world cruise immediately prior to this cruise). We had the somewhat ludicrous situation of those little jars of marmalade and jams being served with tongs at breakfast! (I'd bet though they were put on the serving plate by human hand!). On the last night at dinner our waiter was personally sprinkling salt from a salt-cellar over each diner's food thus slowing down the service (I guess they'd run out of the individual paper-wrapped salt and pepper). On 1 occasion I was served my breakfast on a dirty plate (a small smear of food that had got baked onto the rim). Hardly conducive to hygiene in the prevailing circumstances. We nevertheless managed to avoid contracting the noro-virus again by taking extra precautions such as using my elbow to press lift buttons, using anti-viral Kleenex tissues we'd taken with us, as a barrier when touching toilet door-handles and scrupulously washing hands on returning to our cabin etc, etc. In a Gents toilet the hot-air hand-dryer carried a notice saying it had been deliberately switched off for hygiene reasons and to use the paper towels instead. The towel dispenser was empty! (You've got to laugh - haven't you?) I do, however, wonder about the hygiene of the wine-stewards' ubiquitous pens for signing bar chits which are handled by all and sundry unless you go tee-total! (Fat chance of that!) And what about those now somewhat dog-eared breakfast menus handed out every morning and those wooden menu-holders at dinner at night? The general demeanour and disappointingly poor attitude of some (few) crew-members was noticeable. For example, when pushing my wife in her wheel-chair the full length of the (rather long) corridor (we were forward and the dining room was well aft!) a crew member pushing a laden trolley coming in the opposite direction was quite determined not to give way to let us through and it was we who backed up! We'd never experienced that ever before - or since, as usually the crew have always given way with a pleasant smile and good grace. Nor did the waiters seem as cheerful as we have come to expect. Maybe it was the new tipping system they are unhappy about or was it just their morale that was low? (Some of our fellow cruisers had the gratuities taken off their on-board accounts at an early stage). At one memorable breakfast, it took our table of 8 souls a whole hour and 10 minutes to finish - with appallingly slow service. We waited 20 minutes before we were served tepid weak tea. A fellow passenger ordered croissants at 8:45am but after reminding the waiter was told at 9:20 there were no more. (They did however manage to rustle up 2 cold croissants for the lady - eventually). On complaining to the head waiter the excuse given was that they were 'very busy' as too many passengers had turned up for breakfast at the same time. (How very inconsiderate of them!) This was simply not true and some passengers who arrived after us were served promptly and had left the dining room while we were still waiting to be served plus there were quite a few vacant places at some nearby tables. We were effectively the forgotten table. (It was an at-sea day anyway but it caused really serious disruption to our plans for doing absolutely nothing at all for the day!) There were often quite long queues to enter the main dining room for meals. I mentioned earlier about the shabbiness in a few places. Passengers pay quite a high premium for having a balcony so it is galling to be denied its use. For instance, when power-washing the balconies the cabin stewards would close off a run of 10 balconies for a whole hour while they started cleaning at one end and worked steadily down all 10. Why not do the balconies singly on a schedule? Rather heavy cosmetic de-rusting and renovation of the ship's super-structure (noisy grinding and riveting activities) was performed on some days - just above the balconies on our side of the ship which made it impossible to use the balconies for quite long periods of time. On one day the whole of the starboard side (the sunny side, as it happened!) of the promenade deck was barred to passengers while the ship's crew swung out the life-boats on their davits - for inspection and power-washing for most of the day-time hours. There were a couple of hours when there was noticeably very little crew activity. At the same time a large area of the Sun Deck 10 was also closed off for ship maintenance! (I readily accept that certain tasks are vital for the safety of passengers and crew but could not P & O after, say, every 2 or 3 cruises, take a full 24-hour day to turn the ship around from one cruise to the next instead of the current 7 or 8 hours turn-around? That way they could blitz the ship and do the heavier maintenance work. But, I think I know the answer to that!) On disembarkation day, 2 of the available 4 lifts were taken out of service so that the crew could expeditiously move a small mountain of cardboard boxes and cushions. This made the disembarkation process somewhat protracted and more difficult for passengers - a high proportion of whom were elderly and/or disabled and had long journeys in front of them! I reached the conclusion that fare-paying passengers were just not conducive to the smooth and efficient running of this particular P & O cruise ship! Or, is P & O losing the plot? Here's a tip. I took a chance and over the Internet booked a private taxi-tour for 3½ hours on Madeira. It worked perfectly. Carlos, our driver was so very helpful and even took over the wheel-chair pushing duties from me. And all for just 80 Euros for the pair of us and was much cheaper (and better!) compared to any similar tour booked through the ship's excursion desk. In Cadiz I took a 1-hour taxi-tour of the city costing 40 Euros with a non-English speaking driver who valiantly called out the name of the historical buildings to me just like an Englishman abroad - if you shout loud enough then Johnny Foreigner will always understand. It was however, very pleasant to escape the wild northern European weather for several days. Plus I was excused duties of chief cook and bottle-washer, too! Over-all and despite the fore-going we DID enjoy the cruise! Rather like the curate's egg .... It was good in parts! (We have a previously booked 2012 Xmas and 2013 New Year cruise aboard Arcadia! The comparison will be revealing!) Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We drove the 150 miles to Southampton on the day before and arrived at the port by 10-30am on 17th december. The cases were unloaded and keys handed over, and we then arranged for assistance to board. The staff were excellent staying with ... Read More
We drove the 150 miles to Southampton on the day before and arrived at the port by 10-30am on 17th december. The cases were unloaded and keys handed over, and we then arranged for assistance to board. The staff were excellent staying with us all the way through check-in and took us up to Belvidear Resturant. We then found ourway round the ship arriving at our Stateroom by 2pm. G12 has a wet room and grab rails and has plenty of room for the wheelchair. After unpacking, muster was called, we went to our station in the Theatre on deck1 as stated on back of stateroom door, only to be turned away and told to go up lift to deck2. We were disgusted that this happened and what would happen in a real emergency. We did highlight our concerns with the Purser who said in an emergency we should stay in our cabin and be collected by staff.We are not happy as we might get overlooked especially as there was 64 wheelchairs on board. Our first stop was Madiera, I read in the accessable Tour Brochure that there was an accesable Shuttle bus, but on disembarkation we were told that the bus had been used for a tour and so was not available, we struggled on to shuttle coach but got a Taxi back to the Ship. When returning we found a letter from P & O stating that wheelchairs were not allowed on tours in the Caribbean. We had booked 3, although we got this refunded, we were given no help to secre alternative tours. The accessable tours were sold out and double the cost of normal tours. On enquiring about the distance to the railway in St Kitts we were told we could not get a cab there as they only took people on ships tours, so we did not get on the train. We were nervous about using taxis but all was well no thanks to P&O and we saved as tours by shared Taxi worked out half the cost of P&O tours and drivers happy to take the folded Wheelchair.A fellow passinger arranged for us to meet the Purser who we shared our concerns and said we should have read the FAQs on web site and he contacted Southampton and they are ? going to make it clearer in future and also change info re Madiera to remove mention of accessable shuttle instead of ensuring there is an accessable bus. This is not Good enough and causes disabled people not to be equal with others. The cabin was not cleaned thoroughly with dust and bins not emptied, and on occasions towels not replaced. Beds were not turned down and no towel animals appeared, P&O are definitly cutting corners to maximise profit. The theatre Shows were excellent as were the Acts with Tom O'Conner one of the best. However there was little in the way of live music during the day.IS this another economy drive? The gingerbread village which the chefs had made was brilliant. The food was variable with Steak very tough, but a good variety, A Diabetic on our table found that Melen was often the only starter suitable and requested Prawns or shrimps and was refused, We felt this was not an unreasonble request. Overall despite the issues we had with tours etc we had a very enjoyable cruise, with all the fellow passingers very friendly and the Cruise Director Jon and his team superb. Finally a mention of the excellent care we recieved from the medical Centre when Ann was taken ill on Christmas Day.We are so gratefull for their care and timely treatment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Arcadia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.7
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

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click