We chose this cruise as sailing around the fjords had been on our bucket list for some time. We booked late, all that was left was cabins with restricted views. We had a cabin on E deck, with a magnificent view of a lifeboat which of ... Read More
We chose this cruise as sailing around the fjords had been on our bucket list for some time. We booked late, all that was left was cabins with restricted views. We had a cabin on E deck, with a magnificent view of a lifeboat which of course we were expecting. The cabin was kept scrupulously clean throughout the cruise by our cabin boy, Sandum. We gave him a generous tip when we returned to Southampton, especially as tips are now at the passengers’ discretion. We were happy with the cabin on the whole but we would have liked some warning when crew members were going to be working outside our window on the lifeboats!
We were allocated First Sitting in the Meridian Dining Room. Our first meal there was not a success as my husband had to return his steak which was impossible to cut through, a replacement was immediately served which was much better than the original. We later learnt that several people at that sitting were unhappy with their steaks, apparently a new supplier was at fault. I ordered sticky toffee pudding for dessert, this is the first time I have had this pudding without any sticky toffee! It was very dry and the custard was tasteless and runny. The next evening we returned for our second meal at First Sitting. This time the staff got our wine order wrong, we had ordered Sauvignon Blanc but for some reason the wine waitress turned up with Zinfandel! She returned a second time to say we had ordered Zinfandel, we again said she had got the order wrong. She then returned a 3rd time, this time with a Head Waiter who asked us again if we had ordered Zinfandel. Again we said, ‘No’ ! The next day whilst having lunch in the Belvedere Buffet a Restaurant Manager (Clive) was doing his rounds asking people if they were happy with the food. We told him of our experiences and he immediately offered us Freedom Dining on the upper floor of the Meridian Restaurant. Our dining experience upstairs was far better than First Sitting, food was hotter, service much more professional and caring and we managed to get a window table each evening. We later met up with a fellow passenger who was on our table at First Sitting, he told us he had sent back 5 meals because they were almost cold.
We were surprised to see a cruise ship displaying so much rust, especially on the outside where surely first impressions are important! Also on the decks we were surrounded by rails and doors badly in need of another coat of varnish, more rust, lots of drips affecting the deck. On all our previous cruises we have remarked on how hard the crew work on maintaining all areas of the ship. We did not see this on Arcadia, during the whole length of the cruise we just saw 2 crew members repainting. On Princess and Celebrity there are crew on deck continually varnishing and painting throughout the cruise. Also the interior of the ship looks tired, carpets look dirty, handrails on stairs lack the gleam that we are used to, again, we have seen cleaners polishing stair handrails all the time on other cruise lines.
The highlight of the holiday was cruising through the fjords. Spectacularly beautiful with stunning waterfalls and awesome glaciers. We spent most of our time on the top deck for this part of the cruise because of our restricted view in the cabin. We only did one ship’s excursion, to the wonderful Briksdal Glacier. This was one tour we didn’t mind paying for, the glacier is thousands of years old. The walk up to it is steep in parts but quite manageable. Like on all cruises, the price of excursions is expensive. Several of the ports had ‘hop on - hop off’ buses and shuttles, I can recommend these, so much cheaper than a ship’s tour. Interesting ports of call, especially Bergen with its historic buildings and fish market.
Entertainment on board was good. Special mention must go to the on-board orchestra who were exceptionally talented. We enjoyed the violinist and the magician particularly. The ship’s company of singers/dancers worked hard to keep us entertained. We enjoyed the Queen tribute in particular. We like quizzes and managed to do at least 2 a day. We also attended the very informative lectures on the Vikings by Sandy.
So generally we enjoyed the cruise which we chose for the itinerary. P and O was not our first choice of cruise company but it was the only one which had this itinerary for the preferred duration. We noted several fellow passengers were die- hard, loyal P and O customers and would not have sailed with any other cruise company. Read Less