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24 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Always wanted to do a cruise never again, though we have been told we was very very unlucky, it was like an old peoples home age range between 75-100 no I'm not kidding, I like old people but wouldn't choose to be surrounded by ... Read More
Always wanted to do a cruise never again, though we have been told we was very very unlucky, it was like an old peoples home age range between 75-100 no I'm not kidding, I like old people but wouldn't choose to be surrounded by 1000s on holiday, even the old people complained it was like a depressing old people home. The entertainment was poor cheap, and once again for the elderly, no wifi unless you wanted to pay £85 for 2 weeks, the pools are very small also I was looking forward to being on deck listening to the sea and reading a book, but oh no loud music all day once again for the elderly, we was on A deck and woken some morning at 6am with noise from the deck above while it was being cleaned. Food was good, and service excellent also cabin maid excellent. It's worth trying the independent restaurants for an extra £15 per person very good value. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem ... Read More
General: I took the cruise on the Arcadia 1-17 March 2016, Sydney-Brisbane-Yorkey’s Knob (Cairns)-Alotau (Papua New Guinea)-Manila-Hong Kong. The Arcadia caters largely for the over-65s, mainly British clientele, some of whom seem to spend most if not all the year cruising. Pricewise, the cruise is good value. Perhaps because of that, the ports of call were not particularly interesting and nor was the entertainment on board but if you want a relaxing time at sea, this ship will satisfy. Incidentally, I found Alotau one of the more interesting stops but I didn’t take any of the package shore excursions – I booked my own in advance through the local travel agent, Villink, located in the Alotau International Hotel. It was less touristy, the car was air-conditioned and I believe I learned more; and it was at a lower cost that the similar on-board shore excursion on offer. Don’t expect decent WiFi even if you are willing to pay the extortionate price charged for WiFi use on board – speeds are very slow, so at 50p a minute, best to wait to the next port of call to log-in. There were two safety alerts (a fire in an elevator; smoke from the incinerator) during the cruise. They were efficiently dealt with though I don’t understand why passengers were woken at 3.00 AM to tell them of the first alert (without further instructions or directions being given). Unless passengers are instructed to do something or to act in a particular manner (even it is only to stay in the cabin), I can’t see the purpose of ruining their sleep, causing panic (some passengers commented that they were concerned), or create unnecessary interest that might obstruct the crew (some passengers wanted to see what was happening). If this is an established safety procedure, it is a bad one and needs to be rethought. There is Sunday Christian worship and regular Christian Fellowship meetings take place. No other faiths are generally catered for though Jews do get to meet for the Jewish Sabbath. Observant Jews and Muslims need not apply (see ‘food’ below). The ship is generally well run, though I did get a sense of complacency, especially as regards the kitchens/restaurants. Overall, the ship is of the quality of a 3-star hotel but occasionally rises a notch higher. It needs to be said that most passengers were happy with the ship. Pros Friendly, efficient cabin stewards. Most staff are friendly and helpful. Dining options are adequate and cuisine quality acceptable, though not exceptional. Complaints do get actioned and rectified. P&O has been in the business a long time so knows what to expect – embarkation and disembarkation at ports of call are generally efficiently handled.. Good value for money overall (though some shore excursions are over-priced). Self-service laundry facilities are available on board (though cramped and insufficient for overall demand – be ready for some frayed tempers if you have not cleared your machine immediately after it has completed its cycle). There some nice, comfortable places to sit and while away the time looking out to sea, in particular the Crow’s Nest at the front of the ship. Cons Entertainment is basic and not generally high quality though there were some acts that were so good (e.g. Fogwell Flax) that the Palladium Theatre could not accommodate all demand. The films screened are basically DVDs (not in HD) and start times do not always accord with the printed schedule. The programme of talks is adequate and one or two even interesting but overall, worthy rather than stimulating. The scheduling was also not ideal as the talks frequently clashed with teatime etc. (see below). The talks had no relationship to the places being visited –e.g. on the history of Australia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Hong Kong etc.. Of course, there is a Port Talk before each port of call but that is more about sights, shopping and shore excursions, with modest historic background. The food is generally unexceptional. The ship does not cater well (at all?) for people with special dietary needs For example, it was not uncommon for 50% of the eight main course dishes on offer to contain pig products in some form (of the 4 main course choices during one lunchtime, 3 had pig products in them); and no effort was made to keep such products separate either in preparation or presentation from other dishes. There was usually one vegetarian option (out of 8) for dinner in the Meridian dining room. It is easy enough to keep pig products separate from others, to use a different griddle for grilling pork from other meats etc. but no such effort is made. Although most of the clientele might be reliving the 1960s and 70s, there is no reason for P&O not to make an effort to accommodate the 21st century (see also comments on electrical sockets and wifi). Also there doesn’t seem to be any great effort to give a taste of the cuisine of the ports to be/just visited (other than Australia). For instance, Papua New Guinea produces cocoa, coffee, bananas, fish, sago, cassava, yams – none of these appeared on the menu. Of the two main restaurants, the Meridian provides a silver service dining experience. The food can be good but too often is below par (e.g. sometimes microwaved and, consequently, dry and unappetising dishes often served lukewarm). There is also an element of complacency evident in the preparation – e.g. a mass-produced tart base is used for too many dishes. One particularly egregious example was a ‘macaroon tart’ which was the offending tart base filled with something that tasted like ‘Angel Delight’ with half a macaroon biscuit shell on top. The same tart base (a typical mass-produced casing used for quiches, tarts and anything else that comes to mind) was used two days later for a rhubarb and apple crumble ‘tart’. Cooking for large throughput is not easy and complacency has to be guarded against. One thing about the Meridian – it opens very late for breakfast (07.30 when in port, 08.00 on other days). Bearing in mind the age of the ship’s clientele, elderly folk who have difficulty sleeping, this is far too late. Also, on port days one wants to disembark as early as possible. A start one hour earlier would be better. The Belvedere is self-service and gives too much the impression of a staff canteen, in choice of dishes, layout and even smell. The quality varies from mediocre to passable. Access to the food is also not always easy – try pouring the soup without spilling it! A few design and style changes could easily make it a lot more appealing. The smoothies on offer are far too sweet (like most things on board, at least for my taste) – not really smoothies as I know them. With so many elderly passengers, diabetes might be a problem that needs to be more widely addressed (it’s not just sufficient to offer the occasional diabetic pastry). The specialty restaurants (Ocean Grill, Sindhu) are both good but the menus are fixed for the duration of the voyage so a couple of visits will mean you’ve exhausted the dishes you want to eat (or that don’t appear elsewhere on the ship). I was a little surprised to find that the Sindhu did not use tablecloths. Tea time was very short, lasting 45 min so if you arrive late, expect to be rushed out. Scones were usually acceptable, though sometimes stale. Clotted cream was served, so full marks (in the Meridian only) for this. It was impossible to find a decent cup of coffee on board. There were 3 establishments claiming to serve Costa Coffee (admittedly, not the best of the international chains) but if they were representative of Costa Coffee generally, then it’s time for a change. Why can one not get a decent espresso or cappuccino elsewhere? The attempts at cappuccino in the main restaurant were more like coffee dregs soaked in warm water and then swamped with milk. The baristas need some proper training. I also object to the misleading WiFi sign appearing at these 3 establishments – there is no free WiFi on board and the WiFi in the Costa Coffee places is the same as that for the ship as a whole (and available only at great cost). Drinks – the price of on-board drinks is comparable to what can be found in the UK (outside central London). The duty and tax savings are, therefore, not passed on to the passengers. Although good hygiene is important, the anti-bacterial gel that was not only offered at the door but almost forced on diners entering the restaurants, made one feel rather like being at school or hospital ward (doubly unwelcome when one takes into account the average age of the passengers). More effective would be issuing facemasks to people with coughs and sneezes! It was all a bit too much. And the injunction to wipe down machines after use in the gym was usually obeyed by the passengers but often ignored by the staff themselves. The gym is an adequate size/ well-equipped considering the age of the passengers, but might become inadequate if the average age fell by say 10 years. Incidentally, the gym is open between 08.00-20.00 only. As there is little or no supervision in the gym, I don’t understand why opening hours are not extended (to, say, 07.00-21.00). The Library has a reasonable stock of classic and modern fiction but not much in the way of good non-fiction (a lot of books on birds and a big collection on, often outdated, travel guides. In some ways this is understandable in view of the cost of books these days). There is comfortable seating in the library itself but there could be more of it. Although the Arcadia’s ‘Helpful Information’ claims that cabins are equipped with British style electrical sockets, in fact there is only one such socket in the cabin and generally the ship has US-style sockets throughout. Adapters were supplied by Reception (after the deficiency was raised as a concern). The ship lacks also an adequate number of power points in public areas to meet the needs of the modern age, for charging phones, computers, tablets, cameras etc.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We really didn't know what to expect as this as our first cruise but have no complaints really as we thought it was wonderful and service very good at all times. The decor was fine and we are shocked by some peoples comments about The ... Read More
We really didn't know what to expect as this as our first cruise but have no complaints really as we thought it was wonderful and service very good at all times. The decor was fine and we are shocked by some peoples comments about The Arcada as it hasn't been our experience at all. The choice of food was excellent wherever on the ship we chose to eat and our cabin was kept beautifully clean. We joined in many activities and found everybody friendly but it has to be said some people are not happy unless they are complaining about something especially their experiences on other ships which made me wonder why they chose to come on this one!!! The evening entertainment was really good most nights especially The Headliners ( Oh Billy you were fantastic) and comedian Mickey zany. Waiters in Meridian were fantastic and service first class and we were treated like royalty in the Meridian by Jessel and Rinson and our wine waiter Veineeth and the waiters all sang to us on our birthdays and anniversary which a lovely touch. The captain had a lovely voice and we looked forward to his announcements each day which were informative and friendly and he sent me a card on my birthday too! Photographers were always about if you wanted your photo taken but we did feel the prices were too expensive and had they been cheaper I'm sure both myself and others would buy more. All in all this was a lovely cruise and we and my brother and sister in law enjoyed it immensely. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was my first cruise and after reading the recent reviews I was very concerned that I would not have enjoyed it . There was no need to worry as it was brilliant I could not fault this ship in anyway . The crew and staff were very ... Read More
This was my first cruise and after reading the recent reviews I was very concerned that I would not have enjoyed it . There was no need to worry as it was brilliant I could not fault this ship in anyway . The crew and staff were very helpful . our cabin steward Robert was very helpful and always had a smile . the cabin had plenty of room and the bed was very comfortable. the entertainment was brilliant they work very hard . they always say you either love cruising or hate it I have got the bug now will defentley be booking another one next year . well done p and o lovely ship arcadia. the service we received was excellent could not fault it in anyway. i liked the fact you could join in the activities if you wanted to or just relax which is what we done . we went on first sitting in the dinning room we had lots of choices of food 4 courses every night very filling . well done to all the chiefs it must be a hard job making all those meals . i don't now why people are so negative on here as p and o do there best to make sure you have a good holiday . cant wait till next year when I can go again so I will be busy saving for my next one. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We didn't know what to expect as this was our first cruise. Southampton: Embarkation was brilliantly organised CPS (Cruise Parking service) Attendants took our cases from the boot, next time we saw them was in our cabin so for ... Read More
We didn't know what to expect as this was our first cruise. Southampton: Embarkation was brilliantly organised CPS (Cruise Parking service) Attendants took our cases from the boot, next time we saw them was in our cabin so for us more relaxing then flying. Disembarking: I was a bit worried but needn't have been, as we got a note in the cabin telling us what to do on the day. We took our own case's off the ship, left at 8:00pm and nothing was to much trouble for anyone. Once down we got a trolley, collected our car keys and we was off home. No Forced Gratuity: Just ask for a form to fill in and some envelopes if you want to give to Steward etc. Reception was very good and not rude, plus there was a long line of people waiting for these forms. Sail away: I didn't enjoy but many did, I went to the last one which was very good so maybe I should have gone to the other's, can only say on the first two I did. Lots of things extra you had to pay for on board, yoga, hydra pool etc. The Chocoholics: For me wasn't worth the money Wine Tasting: For me wasn't worth the money, plus I couldn't understand the lady given the presentation. Photo Package: Which we bought wasn't worth the money But this was our first cruise, and you learn by your mistakes. Cabin: was kept beautifully clean, plenty of coffee, tea, milk biscuits etc. Plus I loved my little chocolate on my pillow. Lovely white fluffy towels, plus blue pool towels Soap, shampoo, bubble bath etc, shower cap. Shower was excellent plus once you was in your cabin, you couldn't here anyone from the next rooms, still I used earplugs. We gave him his tip early, because I felt so guilty he had to come twice to do our cabin, our room as never been so clean on holiday. Food: Was superb and good in all venues, however Gala night we found the choice of meals not very good. If you want hot milk just ask and they will warm it up for you, and at 10pm you can have hot chocolate, ovaltine etc. Shows: Headliners put some good shows on, Killer Queen was excellent, better then We Will Rock You in London when that was on. Mickey Zany Comedian was so funny, and the three girls they had on Jenny was excellent Duty free: Perfume on the day you could buy 2 bottle 1 half price, spirits 2 bottles for £ 20 Shore Excursions: Fire Mountain was Excellent, but the others Lisbon have a good read up and you can do this quite easy yourself, Hop On Hop Of Bus is good and shows you more then the tour. I can't understand some people's comments about the Arcadia or P and O, and it makes me wonder why they come back on the same ship or use the same company for that matter. All in all we had a great experience, and booked again for next November same ship but with a different Itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Cruised from Southampton via Azores to Carribbean and Madeira. The Arcadia was fabulous and the staff in bars and restaurant superb,friendly and couldnt do enough for you. James,Philip and Amruta,Lenson,Sunjay. Had cabin d25 but ... Read More
Cruised from Southampton via Azores to Carribbean and Madeira. The Arcadia was fabulous and the staff in bars and restaurant superb,friendly and couldnt do enough for you. James,Philip and Amruta,Lenson,Sunjay. Had cabin d25 but there was a backdraft and it smelled of wee and pooh. Bathroom could of been bleached. The daytime activities need updating as yoga,waltzing,poetry,painting was the same day after and repetative. Need new activities for 40 -60 years old as we all dont have one foot in the grave. Activities for 70-80 year olds. Boring. The food was superb and good in all venues. However in meridian your food is plated and served where a few years ago with p n o was given a bare plate and served all veg etc. Standards have slipped or is it cutback or penny pinching. Had to ask my cabin guy for shampoo or whatever we were low on before getting the product. 15 mins to clean and hoover cabin not enough. Also pillows smelt of sweaty heads. Will take my own in future. Launderette superb and free on d deck d64. A band called sunshine were superb. Some acts as saxophonists,victor michael and beatles experience brilliant. Shows last 45 mins in evenings in palladium. Again major overhall needed. Cabins need overhall aa dated and bathroom need the smell of bleach. Captains lane and Hashmi superb and knowledgeable. Did not use fitness but spa expensive. Used room service and Erdan was superb. On time and couldnt do enough. Antigua shore trip and barbados bus superb. Redduit beach good but when you get there they torture you. Just a firm no sorts them out. Disapointed with cane garden bay as too rough to go in sea. Need to do away with lardy da was 5* the boat isnt. 3* at best. After 6pm unless u got long trousers u cannot get a drink in shorts. Good cruise but all activities need an overhall. Staff mentioned were superb. Need to be made aware of your allowances from day one in the horizon newspaper. Great getting on no probs but getting off long wait after an hour late disembarking from designated area of meridian. Never seen so many wheelchairs,crutches and benidorm buggies on a liner. Average age was 70-80. Film cocoon came to mind or floating care home. Watch the air con as you get a cough know as arcadia cough after few days. Want to cruise a better holiday and possibly do p & o again but there must be better lines and ships available. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
this wa sour very first cruise and we chose an adults only ship..the cabin was superb and the organisation onboard extremely good, food and service incredible...there are many negatives ...one in three of the passengers had an horrendous ... Read More
this wa sour very first cruise and we chose an adults only ship..the cabin was superb and the organisation onboard extremely good, food and service incredible...there are many negatives ...one in three of the passengers had an horrendous cough, which we had been warned about , it is known as Arcadia cough and is absolutely disgusting to listen to...we recommend that the air conditioning is completely sanitised, in order to eradicate this germ. There is an immediate turn round in southampton, so this procedure must be planned well in advance and the ship taken out of service. There is much rust on the outside and the windows in the upper meridian outside are filthy. Disembarking was a complete shambles in the upper meridian, the young man was completely ineffective in getting an orderly procedure in place, worse than any airport we have been to. added to this the weather was perishing and many of the trips should be shown to prevent walking problems for those with sticks etc..... Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
This was only our second cruise the first being with Royal Caribbean, no comparison. The ship looked OK and our cabin although a bit dingy was passable, however, it soon became apparent that this ship was getting past it's sell by ... Read More
This was only our second cruise the first being with Royal Caribbean, no comparison. The ship looked OK and our cabin although a bit dingy was passable, however, it soon became apparent that this ship was getting past it's sell by date. It rocked and rolled in a sea that didn't look that bad, whether stabilisation was being used I do not know but it certainly did not seem like it, I have had better crossings through the Bay of Biscay on a car ferry. We did not eat in our designated dining area but used the Buffett, the food was no comparison to what we enjoyed on the Royal Caribbean Buffett, it was edible but that was about it, and trying to find somewhere to sit when you had your meal was a challenge in itself. Entertainment,I know that people enjoyed the headliners however I found the whole of the entertainment in the theatre (apart from the comedian) repetitive and boring just a load of people prancing around the stage singing and dancing to different themes on different evenings no story or meaning, that's just my opinion. There is one big plus on this cruise, if you like a quiz you will be spoiled for choice, there never seemed to be an hour that went by where somewhere on the ship you could not find a quiz, drove me nuts. The so called shops are just one big con, supposedly duty free, you could buy the rubbish they were selling in the UK for less, then toward the end of the cruise they would have a sale I assume if this sale was real you would be hacked off if you had bought the same item a few days earlier in the cruise, how to make friends. Anyway I could go on but getting bored thinking about it, my advice buyer beware its not as advertised on many counts. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
To temper what I am about to write, I will start by saying I never write reviews as I am aware that peoples' opinions are varied and what may be excellent to some is terrible to another. I also don't like the idea of complaining ... Read More
To temper what I am about to write, I will start by saying I never write reviews as I am aware that peoples' opinions are varied and what may be excellent to some is terrible to another. I also don't like the idea of complaining for the sake of making a fuss - however our experience on Arcadia visiting the Norwegian fjords was without doubt the worst holiday we have ever had. What I comment upon will undoubtedly cause controversy and probably offence, but I intend this as an accurate reflection of what our experience actually was. In defence of P&O, their formula works for them and they didn't actually do anything wrong; some of the issues with our holiday were actually outwith their control so it is not actually the abysmal time we had which I object to, more the feeling of being misled by what we would receive, this being our first ever cruise. Firstly, it seems to have been a mistake opting for an adults only cruise. The lack of children was substituted for a population whose average age was easily in excess of 70 and consequently ALL "entertainment" was aimed at this age group. There was absolutely nothing to do unless you wanted to watch variations on the Royal Variety Performance or play bingo. Trying to negotiate the ship, or worse still disembark at ports, was a nightmare due to the sheer volume of wheelchairs, walking frames and groups of people congregating about lifts and gangplanks. There were at least 20 people onboard with highly complex developmental problems in motorised carriages and although I don't begrudge any of these people enjoying their holidays having to watch people being spoon fed or worse, fed through tubes, at dining tables in the restaurant of an evening was not how I envisaged our cruise from the promotional material received. In many respects we felt like we were trapped on a floating nursing home. Worse than this however was the issue of the majority of other passengers (which is why I feel a bit bad that P&O are receiving poor feedback). The average weight of most of the passengers was about 25 stones and some of these peoples' manners and behaviour could have made primates blush. One evening we visited the Crow's Nest bar to be sat at a table next to five women in their 60s having a belching competition. On the rare occasion we went to the buffet Belvedere cafeteria we were astounded by the pushing and shouting and sheer volume of food consumed by people as well as the swearing and general unpleasantness of our fellow passengers. Between my partner and I we came to "fondly" refer to the Belvedere as "stuff 'til you chuck"! As far as I could ascertain, the ship was merely a cheap catering joint to uncouth, drunken, beer swilling, obese people entirely from the North of England who would consume vast quantities of fried food all day. Watching people drinking pints of lager at breakfast was not pleasant, and neither was it uncommon. Walking the decks was marred by a perm-fog of cigarette smoke. Evenings set out as blacktie were seemingly ignored by some to no response and although if people want to wear alternative attire that should be no problem but allowing people in shorts, vests and flip-flops into cocktail bars ruins the ambience somewhat. In order to escape some of the hoards we often went to the East and Ocean Grill restaurants which had a premium of £40 per night added as well as our wine bill which made the whole experience quite costly for an all-inclusive cruise. If you wanted to use the steam room or jacuzzi there was an additional charge of £100 per person for 7 days which we thought was extortionate until cabin fever set in about day 4 and we capitulated only to be told we couldn't use these facilities unless we purchased them at the start of the cruise. I also feel the choice of ports of call could have been better selected - we spent two days of 10 hours each at Andlesnes and Olden which although undeniably beautiful were lacking in amenities. Indeed in Olden, the only thing to do was to visit the Briksdal glacier. This was 15km away from the port and could only be visited via a P&O arranged excursion at a cost of £120. It seems that unless paying an exorbitant price to P&O to bus you about with people it was obvious we had nothing in common with we were pretty much captive on the ship. On the one day we visited Bergen, European city of culture in 2008 we were only granted 5 hours shore leave, and even then had to wait to disembark while the legions of wheelchairs were taken down the gangplank. How it is possible to visit an entire city in fewer than 5 hours I am not certain - I would have greatly liked to attend a concert at the Grieghallen but sadly this was not to be. In room entertainment was terrible, there were essentially no TV or film choices at all in the cabins and what was minimally provided did not seem to work most of the time. However, this was not too much of a problem since the TV resolution was so poor actually making sense of the image was impossible. The cabin was clean and tidy and linen was replaced daily. I have absolutely no complaints about the cabin staff, nor any of the staff in general actually who were mainly courteous and efficient in trying circumstances. Indeed I witnessed one of the other passengers shout and swear in a waiter's face when he reminded him to use the alcohol hand gel prior to entering the restaurant. I cannot praise the staff highly enough. The general decor in the communal areas was reasonable but in the cabins was very tired and in need of replacing. It resembles 1990s Laura Ashley currently which is unusual since it was initially decorated in 2004. Ultimately, we were expecting to travel to Norway in style with likeminded, childless, professional people who were cultured and interesting and to be able to soak up the life of northern Europe and the rugged beauty of the fjords and all promotional literature from P&O continued to perpetuate this misapprehension. Basically we got a floating budget holiday resort reminiscent of Pontins. It was like an 18-30s holiday for the working class middle aged and elderly, although worse since 18-30s holidays expect a certain level of customer care. By the end of the week we felt like we had been in prison and couldn't wait to disembark at Southampton. If you want sophistication and culture I would advise avoiding this at all costs. If you don't care where you go, what you do and are only interesting in getting drunk and eating as much cheap, processed food as you can before you vomit and wallowing in Butlins style camaraderie then go for it! (Incidentally, my partner and I are both 32)   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
The wife and I are in our late 60's and have been travelling internationally, and extensively, for the past 35 years, but we'd never been on a cruise before. We chose this cruise to Singapore for a "toe in the water" ... Read More
The wife and I are in our late 60's and have been travelling internationally, and extensively, for the past 35 years, but we'd never been on a cruise before. We chose this cruise to Singapore for a "toe in the water" experience (pun intended). We specifically chose Arcadia because of its medium size and adults only status. Boarding the ship at Circular Quay could not have been easier. Our car dropped us and our luggage off just a few metres from the entrance and we ran the usual gauntlet of customs and immigration officials, and P&O staff very quickly. So quick indeed that there was no chance of our luggage reaching our cabin before we did. We did a quick tour of the ship and then adjourned for lunch at the Belvedere. Our deluxe balcony cabin was midships on A deck. The cabin was very comfortable with huge storage space. Décor was uninspiring though. There was a large flat panel tv but the quality and variety of programs was poor. Anyway, who wants to watch tv when there's so much else to do? Our only real complaint about the cabin was that the balcony was often unusable because of the smell of cigarette smoke blowing in from adjacent and nearby cabins. We were staggered to learn that P&O still allows smoking in cabins and on balconies, its time they caught up with the rest of the civilised world. The gym facilities were very good and the instructors could not have been more helpful. Unfortunately, the gym was located directly above the Captain's quarters and he had issued an edict that the gym was not to open before 8:00am. Not that we are fitness fanatics, but we do like to exercise at around 6:30am and retire to breakfast at 8:00am or thereabouts. Our dining experience was very good. Most of our breakfasts and lunches were at the Belvedere and there was a wide range of foods to eat. We had chosen Freedom dining for dinners at the Meridian restaurant, and we usually contrived to come in half an hour after the fixed time sittings to ensure we got seated at a large table, to meet new and interesting people. The table service was excellent. We also used the Ocean Grill where the quality of food was raised a couple of notches and service continued to be excellent. The restaurant was half empty which was a shame. We guess people are put off by the GBP12.50 a head cover charge. Worth every penny we said. Entertainment was terrific. The shows at the Palladium were varied and fun. We had the wonderful Pam Ayres one night, truly a highlight. The entertainment may not have worked so well for us had it not been for the Cruise Director, Dom Hones. He was outstanding; he had the gift of being able to get us elderly folk up and jumping around like the teenagers we once were. There was a guitarist, Paul, who gave us a bit of guitar history at the Rising Sun pub. The first time we saw him he played a rousing version of Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" - not what we expected on this cruise! One regret we had was not taking formal evening wear. Friends had advised us that it was not necessary but that was based on their experience with Australian based ships. The dress code was politely but strictly enforced and we had no objection to that. Crew service levels were mostly very good. Our cabin steward was very efficient and helpful. We particularly enjoyed the Captain's midday report and his take on the origins of many common words or phrases. We did not take any shore excursions because we had arrangements with family and friends in Melbourne, Fremantle and Bali. We did not use the ship's internet facilities or casino either. So, overall, how do we rate our first-time cruise? The word is "Excellent" - we ate well, slept well and relaxed completely. There is little doubt that the passenger demographic resembled a large retirement community, with about 1,200 Brits and 700 Aussies making up 95% or so of the total number of passengers. We were surprised to see many wheelchairs, mopeds, walking frames, oxygen tanks, walking sticks, etc and we congratulate all those frail and infirm folk for getting on with life and having the courage to take a cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
Parking in Southampton..smooth and troublefree with ACP. Embarkation comfortable and quick. Dumped hand luggage in cabin early and joined bunfight in buffet. The cabin was comfortable even though showing signs of wear. Cabin staff were ... Read More
Parking in Southampton..smooth and troublefree with ACP. Embarkation comfortable and quick. Dumped hand luggage in cabin early and joined bunfight in buffet. The cabin was comfortable even though showing signs of wear. Cabin staff were fantastic. Bar staff friendly and efficient. Restaurant staff were mostly efficient and smiling. Buffet staff were also competent. My main problem lay with the variable and inconsistent quality of the cooking... more so in the restaurant than the buffet where perhaps one's expectations were lower. Having spent a lifetime working with food and drink , I was not expecting perfection, but what I found occasionally would not have been served up in the worst of greasy spoon cafes. The syndrome of "Lovely menu, pity about the cooking" was perfectly illustrated aboard Arcadia. The overcooked fish, lacklustre steaks and soggy vegetables were all to common in the restaurant. Even the speciality restaurants MPW's Ocean Grill and the Orchid, were more about dazzling us with presentation and intrusive service than the quality of cooking. We enjoyed leisurely breakfasts , relaxed lunches and unhurried dinners more in the Belvedere buffet than the Meridian restaurants as there were no pretensions to fine food,everything was edible, and we avoided the frenetic pace of the Meridian. Much of the port visiting experience ran like a well oiled machine, as one would expect; even though one felt that the time in port was curtailed by late arrivals or early departures. which rather detracts from the point of visiting these ports. Disembarkation was I hear somewhat chaotic for some. We just got off when we were ready ignoring P and O's insistence on passengers hanging around for hours in the forward theatre. Did we enjoy the cruise? Yes.! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Embarkation - effortless and speedy Cabin (with balcony) - a good size, unpack and ready for a relaxing holiday Breakfast - usually healthy option in the Meridian was good and sociable Lunch - in the meridian was good and sociable ... Read More
Embarkation - effortless and speedy Cabin (with balcony) - a good size, unpack and ready for a relaxing holiday Breakfast - usually healthy option in the Meridian was good and sociable Lunch - in the meridian was good and sociable Dinner - good food, attentive service Entertainment - we loved the Headliners shows, guest singers/musicians, the band, classical guitarist etc - all excellent except the comedian who was sexist/racist and everything except funny. We were among the many who walked out! Ports of call: Kristiansand 8/10; Gydnia 2/10 (take taxi to the train station then ticket to Gdansk. There are frequent and inexpensive trains every 10 minutes) but Gdansk 8/10; St Petersburg 10/10, (we went with Red October on private tours and would highly recommend them); Tallinn 10/10 easy to walk into town. Go early before all the tours arrive as it gets very crowded; Stockholm 10/10, visit City Hall for tour which leave every 30 mins; Copenhagen 10/10, canal tour from Nyhavn worth doing, don't bother with Tivoli gardens as its in a time warp and past its best; Zeebrugge for Bruges 10/10, quite difficult to get to as the trains are not that frequent from Zeebrugge. Marco Pierre White restaurant: very enjoyable and worth doing. Disembarking - a breeze. Thanks Arcadia for delivering high quality at good value prices. What's there not to like about cruising? Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
After taking a while to persuade my husband to give cruising a try a doubt we will do any other type of holiday! From start to finish it was a wonderful, relaxing holiday.We had read reviews on here and were a little worried about Arcadia ... Read More
After taking a while to persuade my husband to give cruising a try a doubt we will do any other type of holiday! From start to finish it was a wonderful, relaxing holiday.We had read reviews on here and were a little worried about Arcadia from some of the reviews but all concerns quickly left us. Arcadia is a beautiful ship, spotlessly clean with wonderful, friendly staff. I would have absolutely no problem either cruising on her again or recommending her to others. Our cabin was lovely and spacious and the air con was a Godsend in the Med!There are a few issues I will mentions but all very minor. The Belvidere buffet restaurant is too small for the amount of passengers and some times it was a bit of a rugby scrum. We chose to have breakfast in our cabin everyday which sorted that and at lunch time mainly we ate at the Neptune grill. But when we did brave it in there the food was lovely!The main client group was elderly and some people really can moan but for every moaning person there were a good amount of lovely people.The trips were not disabled friendly and again considering most passengers were elderly and a large amount of people (myself included) had mobility problems this made thing difficult.But nothing can distract from thee fact that we have had the most relaxing, lovely holiday ever. I would strongly recommend Arcadia and her lovely crew Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
This was our first ever cruise and we stayed in Southampton Premier Inn the night before the cruise. We found the CPS parking service and from there it was all very smooth. They took the car and gave us a ticket and someone else got all ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we stayed in Southampton Premier Inn the night before the cruise. We found the CPS parking service and from there it was all very smooth. They took the car and gave us a ticket and someone else got all of the luggage out and whisked it away. We went into the embarkation hall and there was a very short queue to show our passports have photos taken and fill in a brief health questionnaire. After that we went through security (a longer line) and got a quick snap before getting on and a little ticket to tell us when to board. We both used the facilities and waited. It was quite cool as it looked like there was a free magazine and newspaper rack where people were getting handfuls before boarding but this was whisked away before we boarded maybe it was only for VIP's. We were on the ship and in the buffet by 11.57am. Our room was nice it was a comfortable size (we were in A144) it is an inside cabin at the back of the ship. We had a little nose about and our room steward Savio came and introduced himself and told us how to get in touch if we needed him. I asked how long for our cases and he said it could take some time but if we wanted to check the lobby we could get them ourselves so we went off and found them and unpacked. We had a letter saying unfortunately that they couldn't meet our request for a table for 2 but we had a table for 4 instead. We toyed with asking for a larger table (in case we didn’t like our dinner mates) but in the end we left it.We went down to dinner and met the other couple we would be eating with called Derek and Sandra and we hit it off right away, bonding over our love of bargains and our crazy cats. We went down to the Palladium Theatre for the Welcome Aboard Show after dinner and we had a lovely couch with a table and each had a cocktail of the day. The show was really just a quick welcome to the entertainment team and to tell us what was coming up. After we The only other issue with our room is being inside you have no idea what time it is or what the weathers like anything we would like something with some outside access next time. Breakfast at the buffet was disappointing and we will try the restaurant next time. We headed to the casino to learn to play blackjack and roulette. It was a fun little session and we got a £3 match play coupon for each game we learned. We then hung around for the slots tournament, this was fun with 2 minute timer on the machines to win as much as possible. We headed to the captains welcome party, we had a photo with the captain and one by the spiral staircase. Then we listened to the speech and headed off to dinner. We watched the comedian John Mahoney and he was very good and funny. Then we went and changed and went back to the Aquarius pool to take pictures of the sunset at 10.38pm. I went to the spa and enquired about the cost of highlights and nearly fainted when I was quoted £153 for the whole thing plus £70 for a home maintenance set. We went to check out our pictures from the Captains Welcome Party and we had 2 nice pictures so ended up shelling out £36 for these. I do think the pictures are overpriced and that as they have printed them already they could sell much more reasonably but there were always queues so must make heaps. After dinner we went to see the boogie nights show this was an excellent show. Afterwards we walked through the shop and I bought a watch I had liked that was half price and we had a wander around the casino for a bit. We went to the globe which was empty other than one other person and found the perfect seat to watch Argo. This was an excellent film but very tense not helped by the strong costa coffee we had whilst watching it lol. Was a nice day on board only thing we would have liked was some sort of activity like an art or drawing class. We went to see the show called reel to reel which was amazing we enjoyed it so much,. Eventually after delays we were off around 10.30am one of the last ones off. We found our cases very easily walked through and got in the first queue we saw. After 30 minutes of waiting without moving for what we assumed was CPS we realised we were in the Cruise Parking line a different one altogether. Went to CPS and they gave us key pointed opposite we got in car was on way just after 11am and after stopping for brief lunch at home by 13.30pm. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
But there was no need to worried and the negative reviews seem completely unfair and/or overly critical. There was no sign of the "Arcadia cough" mentioned in other reviews. Our cabin was lovely, nice and roomy with plenty of ... Read More
But there was no need to worried and the negative reviews seem completely unfair and/or overly critical. There was no sign of the "Arcadia cough" mentioned in other reviews. Our cabin was lovely, nice and roomy with plenty of storage. The bed was massive and very comfy. Little touches like a pre-threaded sewing kit and airer in the bathroom were great. Comfy chairs on the balcony. Our only complaint was that the shower was a bit lackluster. Our steward made up our room twice a day and it was so nice to come back to a tidy room with the bed turned down and chocolates on the pillow following the chaos of getting ready for the black tie nights - which we did love. The cabin was very quiet and we couldn't hear either of our neighbours so sleeping was a breeze. The dress code was perhaps a bit stuffy for us, we enjoyed the black tie nights but on the formal/smart nights the men in particular did not seem sure what to wear. We both felt that it would be easier if the ship stuck with just casual and black tie nights but that was just our view. Having said that we learned a lot on this cruise so next time we will be a bit clearer on what to wear. All the ports we visited were interesting, disembarkation at the ports pretty easy without too much waiting. The excursions were interesting and well organised. On the 3 days we chose to explore on our own getting to the main areas was easy and the crew gave good advice on this. For example in Oporto a free bus was provided to the centre. Entertainment was varied and even though we were younger than the average passenger we still found things we enjoyed including a Beatles tribute act, John Virgo, a bit comedy, quizzes and movies. There are a lot of musical themed shows which are not to our taste but clearly appreciated by many. We were pleasantly surprised by the varied age of passengers, there were certainly many young adults although the majority were over 50. It was nice to see that so many gay couples felt comfortable in a cruise environment. The food was of an excellent quality. The fine dining restaurant starters were a bit pompous and therefore not very interesting. The main courses were more varied although portion sizes are small - for example "roast potatoes" is actually one roast potato, extra vegetables and potatoes were brought out though. I also found that the gravy portions were small but had not trouble in being given extra when I asked. On several nights we did fill up on cheese and biscuits following our dessert an option that did not seem to be frowned upon. The buffet restaurant served good quality food and quite varied, as many have said before the curries are good. The buffet can get busy and frustrating with many passengers, particularly the older ones, feeling the need to carefully study the food before choosing. On one occasion I had to wait for a man to put down a pair of tongs which took him 4 attempts before he was happy with their position! We found it easier to just eat at less busy times like brunch and afternoon tea. We did not try the specialist restaurants but heard good things about them so probably would do next time. We enjoyed the spa although felt it was a bit expensive to use the hydropool which was often quite busy. We did enjoy it but I'm not sure we'd both another time. Prices for drinks etc were ok, not too dear. The shop was a bit expensive but with all the free food on board I'm not sure why you would need to buy chocolate too. The jewellery seemed overpriced, personally if you fancy a nice piece or jewellery and you are going to Gibraltar I'd get it there. Overall we had a great time. I've included in this review a few niggles as I wanted to be honest but they really were just niggles and in no way detracted from our enjoyment. We loved it so much that when we came into the first port we were really tempted just to stay on the ship! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
We took this cruise as we wanted to do something different for our Silver Wedding Anniversary and fancied the Norwegian Fjords. We were unsure about cruising but knew that the best way to see the dramatic scenery of the fjords was by ship. ... Read More
We took this cruise as we wanted to do something different for our Silver Wedding Anniversary and fancied the Norwegian Fjords. We were unsure about cruising but knew that the best way to see the dramatic scenery of the fjords was by ship. We were not disappointed, the amazing scenery as we sailed into and out of the 4 ports we visited was breathtaking and seeing it as we sipped cocktails on our balcony was perfect. Since returning this week I have found this site and read the reviews. I was not intending to post but felt it important after reading some of the negative comments. P&Os organisation on embarkation and disembarkation both at Southampton and at each port we visited cannot be faulted. The ship was spotless, every member of staff we encountered courteous and helpful, food and service in the Meridian restaurant of a high standard though I have to say having to dine with strangers at breakfast and lunch was a disappointment, especially with people who never did anything other than cruise (and thought we needed to know about it), never left the ship at port (what boring photos & stories they must have to take home), moaned at every opportunity (the breakfast bowl was not big enough for the shredded wheat !!!) and their only topic of conversation was which other cruises they had been on (I think some people actually "collect ships"). The ship had all the facilities we needed, plenty of activities if you needed them, some great live shows (from the resident Headliners team, the great voice of Mark O'Mally and the very Funny John Evans) and live music from the on-board pianist in the piano bar and the visiting concert pianist (a very memorable last evening listening to Grieg as we sailed across the open sea). The gym was well equipped and I enjoyed the free classes that were on each day. Steve was very patient with people (even those who had never seen their toes for years let alone touched them). We visited a number of the bars and never had any trouble getting a waiter to bring us drinks, or to bring them to our cabin. We did a number of the organised trips in port and were glad we had pre-booked as some were already booked up when we got on board. People tried to do the trips independently and found that they couldn't get tickets for things like the Flam railway so missed out (all to potentially save a few quid). The advantage of the organised trips is that if anything goes wrong (one of the coaches on a trip broke down so they were late back to the ship) and you are delayed the ship waits for you. The downside of the organised trips is that they tended to spend too little time at the interest point and too long stopping for coffee and cakes (i.e. 20 mins at Tvinde waterfall but 40 mins for coffee) Not sure why they have to stop for coffee anyway people had just had cooked breakfasts and were less than 2 hours away from getting back to the ship where food is served 24/7. So all in all we got what we expected, great organisation, breathtaking scenery, fantastic service and great food. However, we will not cruise again for many years as we prefer to have more flexibility on how long we stay in a place and most importantly not be surrounded by people who think that cruising is the main event and the ports of call an incidental (if they did a cruise that just went to the middle of the ocean and anchored for 2 weeks there are some people who would take it !). This trip was all about the scenery for us and it certainly delivered over and over again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
OK, first off the good news: Arcadia is a great ship, the crew is excellent, the food is really good, the spa is brilliant, knowledgeable speakers on Asian art & astronomy etc, pretty good comedians/magicians, mediocre dance groups ... Read More
OK, first off the good news: Arcadia is a great ship, the crew is excellent, the food is really good, the spa is brilliant, knowledgeable speakers on Asian art & astronomy etc, pretty good comedians/magicians, mediocre dance groups which seemed to rely on decibels only, destinations were OK but shore excursions were patchy. The major negative is that you could be on a floating nursing home what with Zimmer frames & even self propelled buggies. Furthermore the North of Watford Gap accents seemed to be predominant & started to grate, where do they get the money from? Fortunately our table of 6 included some exiles from London to Norwich & a sprightly couple, mentally at least, from QLD. The major issue was that the combination of South & North hemisphere populous getting together in Hong Kong before the voyage guaranteed a "Contagion" situation & 99% of passengers had no clue about contagious diseases even though there were anti bacterial hand solutions in evidence wherever you went on board. The problem was that most people were totally ignorant regarding methods of contagion, if only they had run that film every day ! Embarcation in HKG was reasonably painless but disembarkation was a total mess in Brisbane,an obvious example of the left not knowing what the right was doing. It meant a total crush to find baggage & ZERO organisation, whoever was responsible for this should be fired, how to ruin a vacation! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
There was so much wrong about this cruise, it was overcrowded coupled to the number of wheelchairs meant that one had to queue for everything, even the formal nights one had to stand in a long queue waiting for the doors to be opened not a ... Read More
There was so much wrong about this cruise, it was overcrowded coupled to the number of wheelchairs meant that one had to queue for everything, even the formal nights one had to stand in a long queue waiting for the doors to be opened not a minute before 1830, why not open them at 1800 so that we could be seated , chatting and have time to scrutinize the menu. There was no room between the tables, the meal had to be rushed as the second sitting had to be catered for and most upsetting was the poor standard of the food. If you were not on your way to the wonderful theatre the Palladium by 20.00hrs, negotiating the wheelchairs, it was unlikely a good seat could be found for the excellent show which started at 20,45 hrs. We had only 3 good meals in the Meridian, and 3 paying extra in the Orchid and the Rhodes. We had a lot of meals in the Buffet restaurant but it always entailed once again queuing and then trying to find somewhere to sit, on the last breakfast there were no mugs ! Italian night was a big disappointment, a bit of pasta and other bits, the cheese was Cheddar, and there was no Italian ice cream, fortunately the catering officer was passing and had to send down for some Italian cheese just for me. My wife confirmed that our sheets or pillow case were definitely NOT changed in the 17 days on board, evident by a black mark on a sheet, we brought this up with our room girl who stated she had a routine to stick to which she did. I sent one pair of trousers to be cleaned and pressed, upon their return i found that they had been pressed down the SIDES not the front!! A 30 seater cinema on a ship with 2000 passengers is not practical! Now for some good things!! The crew ware fantastic, well trained and extremely helpful, efficient and courteous. The Crows Nest was breathtaking, the ship itself was just amazing with reasonable shop and drink prices. I know it must be difficult to amuse 2000 people day after day but we are not into line dancing, quizzes, bingo and doing crosswords and as the weather was not good we could not use our balcony or the swimming pools. The excursions were good as it was good to get off the ship though we felt they were expensive for what they were, and it was the same with all, the guide spoke far too much with facts and figures that could not be of interest or remembered (i am an experienced Zoo guide so am perhaps more observant of these things) more free time would have been appreciated. We met a passenger who after about 14 days actually found a large suitcase not belonging to him under his bed, what does this say about cabin cleaning, or perhaps more importantly security? imagine a bomb the size of a large suitcase going off!! A number of unforeseen things happened like having to turnaround to search for a missing crew member for hours, trouble leaving Venice, and racing through the Bay of Biscay trying to avoid a storm, all of which the Captain handled really well and kept us all up to date with progress. We now know that this cruise was below par having discussed it with people who have done over 20, and we have been put off spending all that money on any more. Zakinthos the second port (not listed) A good tour with entertainment and a bite to eat, with not too much chatter and info to try to listen to. Le Havre. Last port of call unscheduled. Trip to Honfleur was lovely, beautiful countryside, and plenty of time to spend in town. Read Less
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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