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6 P&O Cruises Arcadia Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Although I am a regular reader of reviews I have never before felt the need to write one myself. We have always taken the view that you can’t please all the people all the time and there will always be some professional complainers. We ... Read More
Although I am a regular reader of reviews I have never before felt the need to write one myself. We have always taken the view that you can’t please all the people all the time and there will always be some professional complainers. We do not fall into that category. So having cruised with P&O eight times in the last four years on all their ships I think we are capable of offering a balanced view of expectations and a benchmark for comparison purposes. Our experiences have always been favourable with no complaints, resulting in repeat bookings. Having booked this cruise some 18 months ago mainly because of the destinations it was disappointing to receive an email four days before departure advising that one of the ports of call (Messina) would be cancelled because essential repair work need to be carried out in Malaga. Not a deal breaker in itself, although we have experienced P&O cancelling ports at the last moment at least twice before, but what followed certainly tested any loyalty we feel to P&O. Somehow the essential work (to a propeller) did not prevent the ship arriving in Malaga a full 18 hours ahead of schedule, the work then ran into four days with little or no communication from the Bridge on the delay. It was obvious to all that the work had been pre planned for some time with a diving team having to be flown in from the US to complete the work. Draw your own conclusions why the work had to be done in the middle of a cruise when it was known about some considerable time before. This led to the ships Customer Services Manager issuing a letter to guests “for Insurance purposes for any potential claim” confirming that “no refunds or compensation had been given by P&O” for the changes. At best it was a clumsy and misguided attempt to deflect responsibility. Sorry P&O but my contract is with you and I am not going to make a claim on my insurance (even if I could) and incur increased premiums because of your inability to provide the contracted service. The senior management on the Bridge were conspicuous by their absence with communication poor at best, particularly during the delay in Malaga. In fairness communication did improve slightly after Malaga but we think that was because of all the complaints. We then had an outbreak of norovirus, (P&O claimed it was brought onboard at Southampton). For the record, neither we nor a number of other guests we spoke with had been asked to complete the health declaration at embarkation, (a similar situation occurred when we travelled with P&O last March). If this simple procedure had been complied with perhaps the virus outbreak would have been prevented or contained. On a positive note there did seem to be a plentiful supply of sun beds. We were not sure if this was because more had been provided or because half the guests were struck down with norovirus and the other half down at reception complaining! Throughout the 19 days there was continuous “essential” maintenance work being carried out, mainly on the lifeboats, with intolerable noise from early morning, it was like being on a building site. Lets be clear, this was not the routine maintenance that you always encounter on a cruise but full blooded heavy duty work. It got so bad guests were calling it the Maintenance Cruise. This essential work continued right up to the last sea day. One night we were sat in the Crows nest at midnight to the sound of sanding or similar accompanying the music. Of course this raises the question of how you define essential; essential for safety which raises questions, or essential to P&O and their profitability over the enjoyment of guests. Incidentally, it was quite ironic that following this “essential” lifeboat maintenance one of the tenders could not be lifted back in to position because of a ”technical problem”, necessitating a two and half hour delay in leaving Dubrovnik. You could not make it up. The ship has absolutely no wow factor, no focal point in terms of atrium and we felt it had a bit of a strange layout, consequently there was no atmosphere. Much of the ship looked tired, with warped decking particularly Deck 10 Port side which was dangerous, dirty tatty window frames in the restaurant, just to mention a couple of areas. Most public areas appeared clean on first glance, but having said that we often saw cups, glasses and ashtrays that were not cleared away from outside areas for at least 24 hours. We only saw a vacuum cleaner being used twice and had doubts that our cabin had seen one throughout the 19 days. Likewise we saw litter on a carpeted stairwell that stayed there for at least two full days. Many of the staff seemed unhappy (it was almost as if something had happened prior to departure which had upset them all), we felt there were fewer staff and certainly our steward had a huge workload. Generally the Medina restaurant appeared disorganised with long waits to be seated, further long waits to be served and then food which was mediocre in relation to our previous experiences. At times we felt it was a training ship for new recruits as the food and service differed from meal to meal. One final point, P&O have a dress code, please apply it or dispense with it. Some people were going to dinner in tatty jeans and T-shirt, not quite the dress code P&O advertise. So there you have it. A cruise we had been looking forward to for 18 months proved to be a major disappointment. Thankfully the destinations did not disappoint (not fussed on Cagliari), however the bits in between left a lot to be desired. We did meet some lovely people, (one who had booked the world cruise on the ship for 2020 and was cancelling), and without exception they all said they were bitterly disappointed with the ship and their experiences mirrored many of the aspects I have mentioned. By the way I have just read a review of the same cruise on CC congratulating the Capt and crew for their outstanding service saying what a great cruise and criticising a negative, whinging hostile group of passengers – mostly senior. Well I don’t fit into any of those categories (far from it), but there are times when you do have to call out poor service, shoddy communication and a lack of respect for guests enjoyment. I leave you to draw your own conclusions but if the majority of reviews and online comments about the cruise are negative then it says a lot. For the first time ever I have not been contacted by P&O to provide a review of the cruise. I wonder why? Would we cruise on Arcadia again? Most definitely not. Will we cruise with P&O again? Well we have two further cruises booked with them and are waiting their response to a formal complaint. We will see how they respond and then decide. If you have already booked to go on Arcadia I really hope that you have a better experience. If you are thinking on going on Arcadia my advice is to keep reading all the reviews and then make your decision based on the balance of reviews. Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Booked a year early as a medical report put this to be probably my last cruise. Period. First I received a few days in advance that one port would be eliminated due to repairs needed to be done in Malaga meaning an extra day annoyed! ... Read More
Booked a year early as a medical report put this to be probably my last cruise. Period. First I received a few days in advance that one port would be eliminated due to repairs needed to be done in Malaga meaning an extra day annoyed! Then off we go with a dicky propulsion unit needing divers etc in Malaga Malaga was fine as we knew we had an extra day but soon after arrival we were told that we had to stay another day meaning 3.6 days in Malaga ! See my extra info on divers later. So we left Malaga but the next announcement was we had norovirus which started to kill the pleasure even more. We raced at 22 knots to venice . It was just as we left Venice we met the USA divers who told a slightly different story . The Malaga stop had not had Spanish diving approval which took some time before two faults we found . The repairs needed that extra day after all but even then the divers explained they had to dive in Venice BUT these was only allowed with Italian diver plus. The divers were leaving Venice to check out the bits at split and that is where I did not see them any more. P&O never explained all this and generally were poor in information . The norovirus controls were lifted at about 2 thirds of the cruise ! So P&O will probably point at their terms of business in removing a ports for repairs and Put norovirus down to other reasons. As this was to be my last cruise I can only explain that after a multicruise life this was a different P&O and a poor show even though some items were good. As regards the Arcadia as a ship I comment it is poor with 30 seat only cinema, a dining room aft which to my 91 year old near cabin user in B2 as against my B22 Was a trek ! The spa helped my poor feet in place of a massage due to walking round Malaga on a Sunday with not much open. I,m home sad at this last cruise and leaving my view of modern P&O to be forgotten. Nothing can compensate for that last bad cruise but nothing likely to come....will tell you if! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports of call. Just before departure we were advised that we would spend 3 and a half days in Malaga to repair the ship Azipod which was damaged on a previous cruise. Why was the ship not fixed before? Every ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports of call. Just before departure we were advised that we would spend 3 and a half days in Malaga to repair the ship Azipod which was damaged on a previous cruise. Why was the ship not fixed before? Every port of call was a disaster because we were late at every port and had to suffer more crowds of tourists than expected. Messina was cancelled as was our tour in Venice. We were not impressed. Maintenance was a continual activity on the prom deck every day and the noise of tools could be heard inside the ship, the general state of this ship was very poor and generally tired. The food in the main restaurant was no better than a one star place, tasteless, lacking imagination and rather boring. Glasses were not clean. Norovirus started on day 3 and remained for most of the cruise.Entertainment was mediocre and only 2 speakers in 19 days. Service was average and it seemed as if there had been a reduction in the numbers of staff in the bars.Cabins are in need of updating and rather beige.The ships tour presenter was extremely condescending to passengers. We paid a lot of money for what is advertised as a luxury cruise experience, we beg to differ after our experience and its debatable we would ever use P&O again. Loyalty does not seem to count for much these days. We wrote to P&O and wonder if we will ever get a reply? Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Having just come back from Arcadia, I cant make up my mind on where the problems and issues I experienced with the ship came from? Was it P&O's fault for promising an Adult only ship but presented what was nearly a "floating ... Read More
Having just come back from Arcadia, I cant make up my mind on where the problems and issues I experienced with the ship came from? Was it P&O's fault for promising an Adult only ship but presented what was nearly a "floating care home" or was it my fault for not reading or ignoring reviews and going there in the first place? Its presented as ADULT only, but what I did not expect was the actual reality of the "Adult Age" that attracts folks to Arcadia (average 75-80 year old, Captian confirmed this as one of his stats). Apart from the condition of the ship, the next thing you notice is the entertainment, its poor and lazy, all background piano playing lounge music (and not that great) wherever you go. Buffet is a nightmare, at lunch I joined the Belvediere on an empty line behind two elderly ladies who discussed and poked at every dish available before picking (and in one case putting back food at least twice) for at least 15 mins. And by this point there where 30 frustrated people in the Q behind us, but these two carried on regardless, jeeezz, and that took my tolerance to a whole new level! But that sadly that was not a one off, its what you experience everywhere and everyday on Arcadia. P&O should be reakky honest when advertising this ship and who it caters towards, its an Adult 70+ friendly ship as that is what they deliver to that market. Ship: Tired looking even after the partial refit, with a distinct lack of public area cleaning apart from at night (glass doors and chrome you would not want to touch, including lifts). Buffet: At a push, reasonable food for buffet, (but aimed at the English market in choice) but with the usual issues of finding a clear table not covered in someones bag, book or belongings as reserved. Main Restaurant (8:30 sitting) - Excellent, service and food of very good standard. Freedom Dining: Never did it, but heard complaint after complaint from passengers that did. Biggest complaint I heard was it was slow to take you in, then they rushed you back out again to free the table Entertainment: As I said above, poor in fact very poor by the standards I have seen on other P&O ships, including the Headliners team. And as far as the entertainments team are concerned, wow! The laziest I have ever seen on any ship, apart from silly dancing everyday 4 days or so around the pool, I seen them more sunbathing with the passengers than entertaining! Days at Sea: Nothing happens unless you want to play Bridge, other card games or go to a quiz. Apart for the odd thing happening on deck, in reality its all very quiet and I guess subdued to suit the elderly guests and the book readers,,,mmm Cabin: A rear balcony and for the first three nights we hardly slept due to the noise and vibration of the propellers as the ship was at full speed to reach port and the whole place was shaking, but to be honest we got used to it and it would not put me off rear cabins in the future Staff: Cabin and waiting staff I cannot praise highly enough. Very friendly and efficient Conclusion: I would not go back on Arcadia again and its more to do with the mindset of both the age group experienced and the entertainment P&O thinks it should provide for its majority age bracket on this ship. And to get that into perspective I am mid sixties and my wife is nearly seventy, so God help those even younger than us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
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
This was our 3rd P & O cruise we did 2 in Australia on the Pacific Jewel which were both excellent, this one on the Arcadia leaving from Southampton left a lot to be desired. Having booked this cruise in Australia we found after we ... Read More
This was our 3rd P & O cruise we did 2 in Australia on the Pacific Jewel which were both excellent, this one on the Arcadia leaving from Southampton left a lot to be desired. Having booked this cruise in Australia we found after we were on board that not enough information about this cruise had been given to us, we were not told of the dress requirements and in consequence on a special night of celebration were apparently supposed to wear black tie apparel which we did not have and so a special celebration which should have been in the restaurant had to happen in the Belvedere which we found to be second rate, the food left a lot to be desired on that day and every other day, the themed nights were pretty ordinary and if you did not like that particular themed food there was nothing else on offer so we found ourselves eating bread rolls and dessert which was unsatisfactory. The cabin staff were very good and our cabin was serviced every day, he was also very friendly and helpful. The reception staff left a lot to be desired and were not very informed, they constantly told us that if we did not use all our money up on board we did not get any back, which was our own money, not onboard credit which we later found out that the British passengers had all received and upon talking to them they seemed quite dismayed that we had not even been offered any, apparently most received 400 British pounds per person, apparently it seems that other nationalities do not get this.Once the reception staff realised that we were using our own money they told us oh its your money so if you dont spend it you get it back, no apologies were forth coming. The tour director was another unhelpful staffer, we asked about the ferries to the mainland in Italy only to be told that we could not go there as we may not make it back to the ship before it sailed, and we would blame him if he gave us the details we needed. We did infact go to the mainland and made it back on time without his giving us the information about the ferries, he could have given us the information and told us its at our own risk instead of saying I cant tell you anything because we dont recommend you do this. We are adults and only needed to know where the ferries were, bad customer relations. We certainly would not recommend the Arcadia to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
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 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.7

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