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3 P&O Cruises Arcadia Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

most things pretty good without a wow factor. Dining in main restaurant was a very pleasant experience with good food and great service. The evening buffet sadly was not so good very limited choice and apathetic service We ... Read More
most things pretty good without a wow factor. Dining in main restaurant was a very pleasant experience with good food and great service. The evening buffet sadly was not so good very limited choice and apathetic service We were allocated eight thirty dining which was far to late for us, we tried to change this but request was refused. Entertainment was ok, very good guest speaker relating her experiences as a senior police officer. Dancing ballroom, sequence, and line dancing all available. Shows and guest artists all very good. Arcadia attracts a mainly elderly crowd so may not be the ideal choice for younger people Ship clean and well maintained with cabin stewards excellent as always. Ports of call all interesting, with Cartagena and Valencia great places to wander explore plazas and ancient buildings A must visit is to see the futuristic development in Valencia wonderful buildings in a great setting . Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and ... Read More
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and tatties, beef hotpots and the like, although the food on board was excellent too - despite the hi-falutin' names given to some of the courses. (Our previous (and first) cruise on Arcadia (J202) in April/May 2012 was not a particularly pleasurable experience for us. However, we are very pleased to report that our initial misgivings of a repeat cruise aboard Arcadia were largely dispelled.) We're both getting on in years. My wife is disabled and 95% confined to a wheelchair so it is always a welcome break for me not to have to shop, cook and look after the household maintenance and fiscal admin and, instead, getting some sea air, visual stimulation and gastronomic pampering a la P&O style. Arcadia was completely free of noro-virus on boarding. It remained so for the whole of the 18-night cruise thanks to the particularly strict hygiene protocols imposed by P&O for the first two days of the cruise and, of course, the compliance of all the passengers and crew. (I 'elbowed' my choice of deck in the lifts etc.) The weather was a good deal better than we expected for December and January even for the Med. We were on the starboard side (that's the right hand side looking towards the sharp-end for you landlubbers.) and we were favoured by being on the sunniest side of the ship especially in port (it really is the luck of the draw between which side of the ship gets the sun when berthed alongside). In Livorno (N Italy) it touched 100F full frontal (but only 90F in the shade) on the balcony of our cabin. Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) touched 94F full frontal the day before. Outbound the Bay of Biscay was a bit choppy but a mill-pond on the return crossing but otherwise never too turbulent elsewhere. Online, I had pre-booked a private taxi tour of Lisbon which turned out to be cheaper and better than any arranged P & O excursions tour. Our charming and helpful mini-skirted driver, Maria, was there waiting for us at the bottom of the gang-way with a freshly-valetted, sparkling car. (This is the second time we have successfully used the 'Net to book a taxi-tour - the last time being Madeira on a previous cruise.) At the ship's side in Livorno we joined 4 other passengers on an ad hoc 3-hour mini-bus tour to Pisa for Euros 20 each. It was well worth it. Even the cups of cafe latte and cappuccino we had in a cafe were no more than one would expect to pay in Starbucks back home or even in the Cafe Vivo on board ship - with a direct view of the Leaning Tower thrown in for free! Our favourite port-of-call was Barcelona - we both loved the relaxed atmosphere of the warm and sunny Ramblas and surrounding areas with visitors of all ages just strolling about, care-free. Everywhere was neat and well-kempt with easy wheelchair access. Our least favourite port visit was Gibraltar where the shuttle-bus driver was very curt, rude and most unwelcoming. So much so that we returned to the ship rather than go shopping and spend our money for Gibraltar's economic benefit. (It just so happened our side of the ship gave us an awesome view of The Rock itself .... and to make us feel at-home, a Morrison's grocery store directly opposite to us!) We were told afterwards that the driver was probably a Spaniard from Algeciras. Cunard's Queen Elizabeth was also berthed alongside so there was a total of 4,000+ passengers and up to 1,600 crew let loose on Gibraltar .... we were afterwards told it was jam-packed and not easy-going for wheel-chairs. The ever-attentive, cheerful, friendly, mostly Indian waiters and cabin stewards are a significant part of the P & O brand of cruising - we only hope that P & O never lose sight of this fact. They are not excessively subservient nowadays and will engage in friendly repartee when given half the chance. Be stuffy with them and they'll be stuffy with you. We thanked our cabin steward for some little deed he had done for us - he replied, with a broad appreciative grin that it was his duty! Try and find that attitude in the UK - if you can! We cannot comment on the entertainment provided on board as we didn't partake of any part of it. Being on 2nd sitting for dinner - complete with a G & T before, a large glass of wine during, and usually a large Courvoisier to accompany coffee ... we were only too happy to return to our cabin, get comfortable in pyjamas and dressing gown and relax, even sit on the balcony looking up at the stars, perchance to dream. We feel we have to comment about some of the moaning minnies and maurices we encountered on board. It may be the downside of Arcadia being an Adults-only ship(?). Some were uncomfortable with us joining their lift and looked down their noses at my wife in her wheelchair almost as if being unable to walk might be catching! (Beware the mirrors in the lifts that catch all the expressions of all the occupants from all angles!). We encountered some older passengers who languidly strolled the corridors without a thought for any others. There were times when they'd just stop dead to look at something (like a photograph in The Gallery or a ship in a glass display case.) and who'd get an unexpected surprise of some part of a wheelchair gently but firmly reminding them that they could be more aware of who and what may be just behind them. I just cannot stop the momentum of a wheelchair as quickly as they can stop! We encountered an elderly trio (who we came to refer to as the Gruesome Threesome) who, within minutes of our asking to join their table in the crowded Piano Bar for a pre-prandial drink, who then spotted an just-vacated table nearby and quite abruptly moved to it, without a by-your-leave. It was then we noticed that they didn't have any drinks to move ... so they were maybe rabidly tee-total. The Temperance Three? But how UNfriendly and intolerant can you get? There was one memorable breakfasting old dear who complained at length that the knife provided for buttering her toast was rather too heavy for her! We guessed that she just had to find something to moan about. (And that was at the very start of her day!). Where's all that indomitable spirit that's often said about the older generation? And my goodness! Some of those apparently frail little old dears can seriously pack the food away. 'Full English' breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and 6-course dinners ....... their plates were cleared. Maybe they complained about the food because they couldn't get enough of it? Any way - to round off and despite some of the foregoing, this Christmas and New Year cruise was most enjoyable and memorable for us. (We are both determined to spend our money rather than allow our savings interest be taxed to contribute to the free provision of a 4/5 bed-roomed detached house in a desirable area of London for the likes of Hook Hamza and his family. So, to this end, our next cruise is already booked for April/May 2013 on board Adonia (the smallest of the seven P & O ships accommodating only 710 passengers instead of the Arcadia's 2000+). The cruise is to the central Med this time. Because it is a smaller ship it can get into the smaller ports that cannot accommodate the bigger ships like Arcadia. The cruise dates cover both our birthdays (don't ask!) and visits eight ports amongst which are Cartagena in Spain, Sarande in Albania (should be very interesting?), Kotor in Montenegro, Rijeka in Croatia, and our very favourite destination city of Venice .... for the second time.) It hardly seems worth unpacking from our last cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Impressions of the P&O Ship Arcadia After our First Class rail journey from Durham to Southampton, we were delighted that our check-in was swift and we were soon directed to an inside Cabin C 184, which was spacious and very well ... Read More
Impressions of the P&O Ship Arcadia After our First Class rail journey from Durham to Southampton, we were delighted that our check-in was swift and we were soon directed to an inside Cabin C 184, which was spacious and very well appointed. My only criticism of the check-in and the security procedure was that the staff concerned showed little interest in the many mature and aged people. A pleasant word would have been comforting to some anxious customers. The cabin C 184 had plenty of storage facilities. However the lighting in front of the wardrobes was poor. Our cabin steward introduced himself and soon agreed to exchange the duvets on the beds for sheets and blankets. We attended the routine boat drill before dinner. Having attended many Captain's cocktail parties in the past, we decided to miss our invitation and relax before dinner on the second evening. Dining. Throughout the cruise, we ate in the Meridian Restaurant. We shared a table for eight. The standard of our meals was extremely high. The waiters were efficient and patient. We had no complaints. On one evening, my wife quietly stated to her table companion that she wished that she had chosen a different course. Our waiter overheard and pleasantly and quickly changed her meal. There was much choice at all meals, from the exotic to the simple. I heard no complaints. Sanitisation of hands was available. We used the gel on every occasion, but many diners did not. We think that there should be more insistence by P&O for this safeguard. Entertainment. We made our way to the Palladium Theatre after dinner on the first night of our cruise. There were no seats available, so we stood at the back. The singing was raucous. Even the song "I'm leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street", a romantic song, seemed to be sung at the maximum volume. We tried other shows later, but the amplification offended us and we did not stay for very long. The classical pianist Naomi Edemariam gave us much pleasure. Her playing was of a high standard. Our grumble concerning her concerts was that they were badly timed. A 5.15pm start for First Sitting cruisers, left very little time for us to prepare for the evening meal. The cinema on the ship was abysmal, with few seats and a poor screen. We thought that the choice of films was depressing. The art lectures were very informative and I must say that the one on "Turner" was one of the best I have heard. We also attended two lectures on health by the Deputy Manager of the Spa. He was both amusing and very interesting. He has left us with much to think about after the cruise. It was somewhat annoying that the lectures were given in open areas, with passing cruisers, whose chatter could be disruptive. It would have been more satisfactory if the lectures had been given in the many closed areas of the ship. Fellow Guests. Throughout the cruise we found much friendliness among those whom we came into contact. Politeness and good conversation made for a pleasant atmosphere. We thought that the disabled passengers were heroic and, despite their difficulties, very good humoured. Ports of Call. June 4th. Our first call was to Malaga, where we were very keen to visit the Cathedral. We were not disappointed and at a cost of 4 Euros each we spent a fruitful time in The Cathedral and in the Museum. We were also able to join in a Mass service in an adjoining church. A satisfying morning excursion. June 7th. We wended our way on to Dubrovnik, via the Straits of Messina, with good views of the Italian and Sicilian coasts. One could see the snow covered Mount Etna in the distance. The Captain announced that on arrival in Dubrovnik, he had permission to enter the port for only one and a half hours, after which he would manoeuvre the ship to anchor in the bay for the rest of the day. This meant that we could go ashore by the gangway, but we had to return in a tender. This did present a problem for some elderly passengers. Dubrovnik was magnificent, with its glittering walls and pavements. One felt that one was experiencing a perfectly preserved medieval city. There was little evidence of the bombing of the city by the Serbs. We returned to the ship with a pleasant memory. We were able to attend a Mass at the Monastery of St. Francis. June 8th. The entry into Venice was spectacular, as the ship slowly sailed past the many interesting sights. At a cost of £8 each, my wife and I joined others on a large motor launch and were deposited at a landing stage very close to St. Mark's Square. We achieved our objectives, visiting St. Mark's and seeing the Titian painting in the Frari, but at great effort. The crowds in the streets were enormous and we were pleased to take the launch back to the ship. With all its wonderful sights, I do not think that this visit was too sensible. The majority on the Arcadia were mature people and those we talked to said they found the visit exhausting. June 9th. The visit to Split was a revelation. Leaving the tender, we were faced with a very modern front to the harbour. Thoughtful construction had resulted in the idea of antiquity in a modern setting. Glittering pavements combined with simple garden areas to give a most pleasant result. However it was the remains of Diocletian's Palace which gave us the greatest thrill of our holiday. There was much exciting evidence of life in Roman times. The Catholic Cathedral had been built on the site of the palace and the building seemed to merge into what was left of the original buildings. A museum adjoining the Cathedral had many fine exhibits, which demonstrated the history of the area. Our short visit made us contemplate a holiday in this city in the future. June 10th. Our visit to Corfu was very disappointing. On leaving the ship, we were faced with a continuous excess of traffic, pollution, crowds, litter and overwhelming heat. We visited a Catholic church near to the harbour and made a pilgrimage to the famous cricket ground. We returned early to the ship. We would not return. June 11th. Our voyage from Corfu to Zakinthos was short and completed overnight. A cloudless warm evening, combined with a very calm sea, plus the slow movement of the ship through the water, created a magical atmosphere on deck. We strolled on a deserted Promenade Deck after dinner. Our fellow cruisers were busy at shows or at activities within the ship. We would not have exchanged our romantic moments with anyone. Anchoring at Zakinthos, we were taken ashore by tender, where our first local attraction was the sight of a dead dog in the harbour. Moving into the town, we were face with heavy traffic, much litter, dirty streets. Visits to a Catholic church and two Orthodox churches were interesting. We were particularly impressed by a number of men who were making visits to the Orthodox churches. They sang as they moved around and kissed a number of icons in various parts of the churches. Gibraltar our last port of call, was largely unchanged from our previous visits. Alistair, in Reception, directed us to the Cathedral in Main Street, where we attended the Cathedral for the 9.0am Mass. Incidents. As regular cruisers, we were invited to an evening party aboard ship in the Viceroy Room, given by Chief Engineer Jewkes. Making our way to Deck 10, I asked a passing white-suited member of the ship's crew for directions to the party. He answered, "I'll show you". He then led us up stairs and along corridors to the party venue. As he turned to leave us, I said, "What do you do on the ship?" He answered, "I'm the Captain". He was not joking. We both laughed. As the cruise developed, my wife Mary complained of a unpleasant smell in the toilet area in our cabin. We complained to the cabin steward, who reported the matter to the Deck Supervisor. He visited the cabin and ordered the steward to use more chemicals. This made no difference and we pursued the matter, both with the Deck Supervisor and with the staff at Reception. A plumber attended and after an attempt at repair declared that the problem could not be put right quickly. I pressed for another cabin and eventually we were transferred to cabin B85, which was a mini-suite. We were pleased at the upgrade, but were disappointed that it took so long (four days) to remedy the unpleasant situation. My pressure brought an interview with Helen Skoins (Head of Passenger Oganisation), who pleasantly arranged for her deputy, Karen Wright, to transfer us to the better cabin. Strangely, our experience with the defective toilet did not spoil our holiday. On the whole our accommodation was good. The cooking on board was of a very high standard. I have often praised the food on the Queen Mary 2, but the meals on Arcadia were better. Service by staff was excellent. We enjoyed our cruise and would not hesitate to sail on Arcadia in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
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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