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33 P&O Cruises Arcadia World Cruise Reviews

The cruise line P&O Cruises is a British cruise line, a constituent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. P&O Cruises claim to be the oldest cruise line in the world. Its predecessor company operated ... Read More
The cruise line P&O Cruises is a British cruise line, a constituent of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. P&O Cruises claim to be the oldest cruise line in the world. Its predecessor company operated pleasure trips since 1844, and the world's first dedicated cruise ship in 1881. It is the sister company of, and retains strong links with, P&O Cruises Australia. P&O Cruises was de-merged from the P&O group in 2000, becoming a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises plc, which subsequently merged with Carnival Corporation in 2003, to form Carnival Corporation & plc. P&O Cruises currently operate seven cruise ships and tailor their cruises to the British market. Why we chose P&O We have sailed with P&O on a number of occasions as they sail from Southampton. They offer much more of a British feel and use pound Stirling for currency. Having 3 pin plugs in all cabins is always good as it saves carrying all those extra travel adapters for those essential electronics. We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary as it stopped in Israel, and the fact that Arcadia is an adult only ship. We boarded the ship in Dubai and sailed home via the Suez Canal to Southampton on the ship as part of her 2019 world cruise. The ship Arcadia was ordered by Holland America Line in 2000 as their fifth Vista class vessel. In 2003 she was allocated to the Cunard Line to become their Queen Victoria. Shortly before her launch the decision was made to transfer the ship to the P&O Cruises fleet. As a result, Arcadia has a Cunard style mast similar to those found on the RMS Queen Mary 2. She also sports a modified QE2 style funnel, with cowling removed instead of the traditional P&O style funnel found on the other purpose built ships. Arcadia has a gross tonnage of 84,000tones with a passenger capacity of just over 2000 and is an adult only ship. Arcadia’s biggest disappointment is her lack of a usable atrium in the centre of the ship, although P&O have tried to lighten the space with coloured lighting etc in her last refit in 2017. Arcadia has been plagued with problems with her cabin waste system with blockages and leaks again something P&O have been working to resolve all of her working life. Arcadia’s signature features are her midship glass lifts and the retracting roof over the main swimming pool both of which are features from her being built for Holland America Line. She also boasts over 3000 pieces of art through the ship creating a sophisticated feel on board. Dining Options on Board Dining on Arcadia is as you would expect very well taken care of, from buffet dinning to several specialty restaurants. The main dining room is on 2 levels at the rear of the ship, on the lower level it is set dining times 18:30 and 21:00. The upper level is freedom dining where you can turn up for a table any time fro 18:00 to 21:30. This option has to be pre booked when booking the cruise as there are only a certain amount of spaces. Even then at peak times you will have to wait for a table for 2 or get to the restaurant when it opens. We had freedom dining on our cruise and would certainly have this style of dining again. The buffet restaurant ( The Lido) is open from 06:00 to 01:00 serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon Tea, dinner and evening light meals. The food is of good quality, complementary fruit juices are only available at breakfast in the buffet area. The 2 specialty restaurants, Sindhu and Ocean Grill both have an additional cover charge. They are both very good and they change menus several times during the voyages. While we were on Arcadia P&O were trailing a glass house style menu in intermezzo outside of ocean grill, this worked well and we hope that it becomes a permanent feature on board Arcadia. Eric lanyards afternoon tea is another specialty offer, it is served in ocean grill on selected sea days and is worth trying. During the day by the midship pool (Neptune’s) there is a grill serving burgers, fish and chips ,jacket potatoes etc there is also a small sandwich bar just to the side of this grill. This area can get busy during the day, especially when the sliding roof is open in warm climates. The Cabins Arcadia’s cabins come is 5 basic categories with a number of sub categories. The categories are inside, ocean view, balcony, mini suite and suite. There are also a number of single occupancy cabins both inside and ocean view. Most of the mini suites are midships. All cabins are well appointed as you would expect with all the normal cabin features. All cabins have UK 3 pin plugs as standard, also tea/coffee making facilities replenished throughout your stay. The cabins have a mini bar(chargeable to your on board account ) and fridge. Most of the mini suites and suites have a bath and shower. A few of the Balcony and Ocean View cabins have combined showers and baths. All grades of cabins have complementary shower gel, shampoo and body lotion. There is plenty of wardrobe space in all cabins. This is a feature on all Vista Class ships that make them great for longer cruises or round the world trips. All of the cabins following the refit in 2017 now have flat screen TVs with pay for view films but as yet, like other ships in the P&O fleet, you can not view your cabin bill or order room service / interactive services via the tv. Things to do on Board As with any UK main stream cruise company the daily entertainment is varied from guest speakers to deck quoits. There is always something going, and the good thing about the ship is that you can always find a quiet spot to read the book you have taken from the library onboard. On this cruise because it was the last leg of the world cruise there was daily art classes in one of the meeting rooms. There is a small onboard cinema seating around 30 in leather recliner chairs, they show current films that are on at the cinema at home, due to space restrictions it’s always best to book a seat. The gym also has a full daily program of both free and chargeable fitness classes all of which are good quality and the instructors know what they’re doing Swimming pools, sun decks and Spa There are 3 pools on board, the main one being in the centre of the ship. It is known as Neptune’s pool, this is where the sliding roof covers the pool in less favourable conditions. There are sun loungers around the pool. The pool has a bar area and a take way food place serving burgers and chips etc The second pool is on the aft deck behind the lido buffet, again there is a lot of space for loungers and has a large bar, this area is fully open to the elements all the time The 3rd pool in located in the spa area and is a pay for use pool, it is always heated to around 34’ and has whirlpool jets that can be turned on and off. You can pay a one off fee for the entire cruise or choose to pay daily providing there is space available, they only have 30 spaces per cruise for this area The sun decks through the ship are spacious even at peak times so you are always able to get a bed with space round it. The large well appointed gym and spa are right at the top and front of the ship above the navigation bridge. It has it’s own sauna in each changing room . If you want to use the steam room hot bed or sensual sauna then again they are chargeable with the use of the thermal suite. The gym offer daily fitness classes and talks. The spa has a full list of wellbeing and wellness courses / treatments again all as additional costs. Would we Recommend P&O We have sailed with P&O on a number of their ships, this is what lead us to book this cruise. If you are looking for a cruise that looks after the UK cruiser then P&O is definitely for you. Would we book another leg of a world cruise, definitely yes but there are a number of things to consider with this type of cruise. • Large amounts of sea days back to back, we had a 6 and 5 day run of sea days • Average age of the customers is generally higher than on normal cruises • Entertainment tailored to type of cruise and age of customers • Customer familiarity with the crew most noticeable in the buffet and main restaurants as they have been together for the last 3 months or so, it can make you feel left out. • Numerous special event for world cruisers only, so parts of the ship often restricted (bars and restaurants etc) This aside we did enjoy the trip home from Dubai especially sailing through the Suez canal and the trips in Israel ( the reason for booking the trip) We like the smaller ships ( around 2000 passengers) as they are usually more friendly. Our biggest dislike is P&Os Great British Sail Away, complete with Union Jack waving, but majority of the ship joins in so we go with the flow with it. So if you live in the UK and want a great British cruise with a main stream cruise line then P&O certainly deliver no matter what ship you travel on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Decided to do the world as a ‘Well Why Not’ and wasn’t disappointed generally. Arcadia is a very stable ship in adverse weather conditions. Cabins were very comfortable, although a tad tired/well worn. Meals in Meridian Restaurant ... Read More
Decided to do the world as a ‘Well Why Not’ and wasn’t disappointed generally. Arcadia is a very stable ship in adverse weather conditions. Cabins were very comfortable, although a tad tired/well worn. Meals in Meridian Restaurant were excellent, think there was only one dish I disliked and that was me, not the restaurant’s choice. The Sindhu is totally delicious. Entertainment was very mixed. Mark Labett (The Chase) was particularly good as were the many talks by naturalist Nigel Marven. So many to chose from. The Headliners in my opinion weren’t up to much as the female lead singers always shouted rather than sang. The Runaround Kids were excellent just a pity they have a silly name. Too many jugglers and mind reader type acts, once is enough! Entertainment Manager Emma was very personable, the same could not be said of her counterpart when Emma was on leave. The excursions team were superb especially Sam and the ladies, the 2nd man wasn’t in the same way, not overly helpful or friendly. Sam’s port talks were quite outstanding. Most staff on board were courteous, very friendly and helpful particularly Manuel in Meridian and Elinore in Piano bar. My only complaint really was the coffee. That in the buffet was quite disgusting and undrinkable which meant I spent an absolute fortune on Costa cards/coffee. Dependant on the barista really whether a good or poor cup was dispensed. The quality was not consistent. Great room for improvement and a poor show that you can’t get a decent drink without having to pay for it - beverages I mean AND the fact you have to pay for water which is deplorable. Need water to live! As I have already said, the trip all in all was amazing but a bit of tweaking required. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We flew to Southampton a day early so that we could have a stress free embarkation the following day, this gave us the opportunity to have a look round the city. Embarkation was extremely smooth and we boarded Arcadia early. When we ... Read More
We flew to Southampton a day early so that we could have a stress free embarkation the following day, this gave us the opportunity to have a look round the city. Embarkation was extremely smooth and we boarded Arcadia early. When we first saw our cabin we were concerned where all of our clothes and possessions were going to go but in fact there was plenty of storage space and we were able to put everything away neatly and were quite happy with our "new home" for 2 months. This was our first cruise so being on a ship was totally new to us and we were very impressed. Our preferred dining option became the Meridian restaurant where we had club dining, which was on a fixed table in the second sitting. We initially thought this was a bit late (8.30pm) but in fact it worked out very well for us. Our waiter for the duration of the cruise was fantastic as were all the other staff, they work so hard and have some difficult passengers to deal with. There were plenty of activities to participate in if you wished. We enjoyed some talks and presentations, in particular, the Port and Shore excursion presentations by the very knowledgeable Sam and the nature/bird presentations by Nigel Marven. The Captain had various problems to deal with, including passengers ill-health and avoiding a cyclone in the South Pacific meaning we had to miss 2 ports. This was handled really well despite the Force 10 storm and safety obviously had to come first. Would we go on Arcadia again? Yes, it was a fantastic experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Opportunity to transit Panama Canal.Embarkation excellent. Cabin reasonable. Staff very friendly and helpful. Special mention to Sam for port excursion talks- excellent and Albano our cabin steward who was excellent. Misty Blue trio very ... Read More
Opportunity to transit Panama Canal.Embarkation excellent. Cabin reasonable. Staff very friendly and helpful. Special mention to Sam for port excursion talks- excellent and Albano our cabin steward who was excellent. Misty Blue trio very good and sail away parties enjoyable. Downside lack of dress code enforcement- on formal nights people seen in shorts, t shirts which spoils it for those making an effort. Quizzes every night in almost every bar- bad if you don’t like quizzes -crows nest should be a quiz free zone!! Too many smoking areas around the ship spoiling the walk around the promenade deck!!! Smoking rules not enforced especially round the pool in the Aquarius bar. Booked the Ocean Grill and Sindhu on a few occasions as we didn’t like queuing for food -menu limited and fish in Ocean Grill very dry- staff good though. Had to ask for more toiletries when ours ran out which is bad. Ship had so many leaks so buckets wer strewn around the deck -not very nice. Seemed to be too many passengers for the size of the ship- had to wait ages for lifts- ok for us but people with disabilities suffered. Sometimes couldn’t get into the theatre as people had been reserving seats early on.Lack of performances from Headliners. Guest speakers on the whole were very entertaining. Captain’s cocktail party was farcical -too many people in the Neptune bar to be enjoyable. I don’think we will travel with P and O again as we have travelled with Cunard before and although more expensive it is a little less like a holiday camp. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We flew to London via Hong Kong, had New Years with a family member before spending two nights in Southampton. We had booked a balcony cabin on C deck near the aft, it was very comfortable although was showing some signs of wear, the ... Read More
We flew to London via Hong Kong, had New Years with a family member before spending two nights in Southampton. We had booked a balcony cabin on C deck near the aft, it was very comfortable although was showing some signs of wear, the bathrooms definitely need updating. However we had a great Cabin Steward who went out of his way to make sure we enjoyed our cruise. The cabin was kept spotless and as I say it was very comfortable. The location does tend to allow for more movement during rougher seas, but it did not bother us. Overall the service we received on board was excellent throughout form food and drink servers to other personnel at reception etc. We dined in both specialty restaurants and enjoyed most meals, although on occasion service was a little stressed, yes there were times food did disappoint but once again overall it was a pleasant experience for the duration of 45 days. We found Captain Cook a delight, always friendly and ready for a chat, he had a great deal to deal with on this cruise with deaths, illness and storms, but he handled it all extremely well. Most fellow passengers were friendly and yes there were the habitual complainers, thank goodness we tend to keep to ourselves and the lovely group of fellow passengers we shared drinks and dinner with sometimes. The ship is older and the outside looks quite beaten up, salty seas take their toll for sure, but interior wise she is kept immaculately clean. On occasion we did see the odd bucket to collect a drip, but hardly anything to worry about. Dining in the Buffet was very good and a good variety for all meals served, the dining room was also very good and service did vary from time to time. Is the food very English, one could say yes, but there were plenty of options, besides it was great to try different things. Drinks can be pricey along with laundry, we gave up on the self service laundry, very cramped and always busy...We did not have prepaid gratuities on the ship, so we tipped our individuals accordingly and they were happy with that. We don't mind tipping for good service and it goes in the right pockets... Disembarkation in Sydney was a bit shambolic as we were supposed to disembark in Brisbane, but a cyclone ended that. we opted to drive ourselves back to Queensland as flights offered by Carnival were not appealing and no excess baggage allowance! They put us up overnight in Sydney, sadly we had a disgraceful hotel allocated, old, tired and dirty, cockroaches in the room! Would we chose to cruise on Arcadia again, yes but we did find 45 days a little long, I am sure some shorter sectors may appeal in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have sailed with several companies and overall decided as we were going to be on board for 52 nights on P&O because it is less formal than some, although the food choice is more limited than others. We had a fabulous time and ... Read More
We have sailed with several companies and overall decided as we were going to be on board for 52 nights on P&O because it is less formal than some, although the food choice is more limited than others. We had a fabulous time and generally everyone on board was extremely helpful and polite. The entertainment was excellent with very interesting lectures and port reviews. We found that the excursions offered something for everyone. Just a few words of warning! If you are embarking in Brisbane, be warned that their are 2 ports and if you get it wrong, it will cost you over £100 in taxi fares! No one seems to know this and several of the P&O staff told us that everybody goes to the wrong port!!!! Well, having paid £100 to get to the right port, we did not see the funny side. Having got over this, the staff were so helpful and friendly, but our rating will be low. Our cabin balcony, D117, left a lot to be desired. Not only was it not clean on our arrival and nor did it get cleaned for our trip, but on several days, it smelt so badly that we could not open the door. We complained several times but were given different stories, such as, it depended which way the wind was blowing/the life boats smelt etc. Finally, we investigated ourselves, found a vent on Deck 3 from an 'engine' room, asked a passing engineer and found that this was the problem. We then reported this back and were given £100 off our bill! We do not get the feeling that this will be investigated anytime soon. And finally and this actually upset us the most! Having had a fabulous relationship with our cabin steward, on the last night of our trip, he took it upon himself to remove our remaining personal items from the cupboards so he could clean the cabin for the next passengers who would be joining the following day. Now on several levels this cannot be right. 1. We paid for that night. 2. That doesn't seem very hygienic as we are still using the cabin and 3. We do not appreciate our toiletries etc. being placed in our bags. We have complained, twice about this, but have heard nothing back, hence our comments here. Not good enough. P&O, we can forgive certain things and we do think you are brilliant overall, but PLEASE LISTEN when we report a problem. Sometimes, it's not what goes wrong that causes anxiety, it's the way it's dealt with. Hence rating underneath. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in ... Read More
I was only on the Arcadia for a 3 day trip Syd to Bris. Solo traveller paid $1000 for 3 nights in deluxe balcony cabin. Cabin was nice, although I really had to twist the Steward's arm to get a white robe. Food in Belverede (Buffet) was like Boarding School - small display and not very appertising Food in Main Dining Room was either great or average. Staff everywhere onboard I found very pleasant. There are some nice Public spaces on board being 'Adults only' it made the Swimming Pools and Buffet areas a lot more civilized. Shops were a non event. Embarkation was the fastest ever Disembarkation was a bit slow, due to different messages from P&O Staff and Border Security. The Fishermans Grain Wharf at Brisbane is around a 25min cab ride to the Airport and cost $63 - we did not pull in at Hamilton which is about 10mins from the airport. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018

This is an honest, tell it how it is review. Being wholly objective, it may also carry a little excess baggage as I, a 63 year old, grappling with the transition from being a 2-4 week holidaymaker to a world traveller! Passengers ... Read More

This is an honest, tell it how it is review. Being wholly objective, it may also carry a little excess baggage as I, a 63 year old, grappling with the transition from being a 2-4 week holidaymaker to a world traveller! Passengers who joined the ship for a three week leg, might view the ship’s offerings and routines as fresh and new. Such customers might reasonably be considered as holidaymakers; quite a different animal from the diehards who come on board for the long-haul. The 500 or so who signed up for longish voyages are travellers and, they travel for many legitimate and differing reasons: boredom at home, company, to be looked after, to escape the British winter, non-flyers, repositioning, once in a lifetime adventure, etc. Many of these are ‘see you next year’ repeat world cruisers. Like I say, I am struggling with the transition! Positives: Arcadia is a quiet, comfortable ship...like an old armchair (though a little tatty in places). Overall, the dining experience was good (Belvedere excluded). Entertainment; this particular Headliners Company were exceptional. Some wonderful ports of call Alotau, San Francisco, Napier, Nha Trang, Singapore. No fighting for deck chairs on Arcadia...acres of space. Service was uniformly excellent throughout. Dance hosts Brenda & Jeffrey converted many non-dancers. Superb. Quiet ship, everyone in bed early…little to do after the theatre show. Negatives: No meaningful second entertainment / cabaret venue. Due to the above, the ship was quiet from 9.30pm (i.e. post theatre). Areas of the ship smelled foul throughout the 12 week cruise. (Mid-ships next to the shops). Excessive use of smoke effect (mist) in the theatre. Universally slated by visiting entertainers and the viewing public. The ship needs an overhaul not just an engine refit. Extremely dated. Too many quizzes, day and night. Cheap and cheerful? No, just cheap! If we want a quiz we go to our local. Not what we hoped for on a world tour. Dining 3/5 The Meridian Restaurant delivered a good (not great) selection of food served warm (rarely if ever hot). The levels of service were influenced by variables such as the waiting team, distance of your table from the galley, dramas in the kitchen etc. Comparable with banquet catering served at say, a family wedding rather than a fine dining experience. None the less, the Meridian (main dining room) would score 4/5. The Belvedere buffet was another story. The choice, quality and presentation of food was mediocre to poor. Even by P&O's moderate standards this 'restaurant' left a lot to be desired. With the possible exception of Curry Night, this place should be avoided if possible. Score 2/5. Hence the overall dining score of 3/5. Sindhu, P&O's Asian fine dining restaurant seemed to attract mixed views; rather like Marmite! We don't like Marmite so 2/5. The Ocean Grill (by day the ship's officers mess, by night Marco Pierre White's fine dining experience) was incredibly popular, with generally good to excellent reviews. Whether this popularity was due to the need to utilise the copious on-board spending money to be found on a World Cruise or, truly reflected the quality of food and service on offer might be debated. In our opinion, it is not as good as say The Epicurean Restaurant on Azura/Ventura where the extra charge is double that for The Ocean Grill. None the less, in terms of food quality, service and value for money it rates 4/5. Dining room dress code Interesting! At the start of the cruise, Southampton to say San Francisco, there were typically three formal nights each week... too many. As the passenger mix changed around the Pacific rim (many more Australians joined the ship), formal nights were reduced to one per week. The Aussies were welcome for any number of reasons and ruffled a few feathers with their ideas on formal wear! What's wrong with a dash of colour and a hairy leg? Room Service This was generally good to excellent. Of course it was somewhat limited in choice when compared to the restaurant however it was cooked to order, often hot and for the most part, delivered on time. Please note, some items were chargeable. In our experience, this is probably the only way to get warmish toast on board. 4/5. Cafe Vivo, tucked away in the dark, no doubt as an afterthought of the ship's architect; was illuminated by excellent staff who brought sunshine to it's customers. Much too small and poorly positioned. 4/5. Entertainment 2/5 P&O offers a largely British cruising experience. None the less, on this a World cruise, the passenger profile was truly mixed and included Brits, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Americans, amongst many others. Given the above passenger profile, the entertainment was not surprisingly geared towards British Commonwealth tastes. It is not so long since P&O Cruise Directors proudly introduced their entertainment team of sixteen staff. On this cruise (a world cruise) the now Entertainment Manager introduced his team of six. A sign of the times? Headliners Theatre personnel were excellent on this cruise. From memory, they presented nine different shows all of which we had seen on previous cruises; these were repeating for the third time during our 82 days on board Arcadia. Some might call this repetitive. Guest entertainers (the usual suspects) were largely flown out to join the ship and varied in standard. For example, an “alternative comedian" who normally performs in a late night show lounge / night club venues on Arcadia’s sister ships found himself starring at Arcadia's theatre. A poor fit, but little choice really since there is no alternative showroom / cabaret venue (see Cinema notes below). Local entertainers / cultural performers were also engaged as the ship moved from continent to continent The Globe, a 200 seater utility room is used for dancing (users complain that the floor is much too small with tensions often mounting between sequence and ballroom dancers as they vie for space), classical recitals, occasional musical 'jams' featuring the ships orchestra and other in-house musicians. Bars/Lounges. There is music of some description in each of the bars and lounges as the in-house musicians play their own brand of musical chairs and rotate venues each evening. No criticism of the musicians; however extensive their repertoire, some performances became tedious and repetitive over our twelve weeks on board. The Retreat, another small, utilitarian facility is primarily used for ballroom, sequence or line dancing, either for lessons during the day, or, as an alternative to The Globe during the evening. The Retreat is much smaller than The Globe, therefore far from ideal. Guest speakers were shipped out (from the UK) on a regular basis and once again varied in attractiveness dependent on your taste. Most notably, Eric (Knocker) Knowles, Wayne Sleep and Lord Michael Howard offered lectures on their chosen subjects and life in general. Listed like this it sounds varied and interesting however in reality, the overall quality of the speakers lacked sparkle. As an aside, does Mr Knowles reside permanently on cruise ships? We have seen him perform on four previous cruises in the past couple of years. The Ocean Room is a multi-purpose facility busy delivering art, crafts and card lessons by day but, idle at night. Could be better utilised as a revenue earning second venue after dark. Service 5/5 The service throughout the ship was uniformly excellent, particularly the reception. Often receiving the brunt of complaints from frustrated passengers we witnessed the reception staff defuse potentially difficult circumstances. Dragana and Sandra were outstanding. 5/5. Cabin 3/5 The deluxe balcony cabin on D deck was both comfortable and serviceable, if a little tired in places. Previous cruiser's mishaps on the room carpets and soft furnishings were permanent and there for all to see. The decor and layout is now dated with the ludicrously positioned bed lamps the butt of many visiting comedians. Constant warnings about the frailties of the toilet system seemed to be heeded by the guests. Our cabin's w.c. backed up only once during the nearly three month cruise. The balcony and balcony furniture (2 x deck chairs, 1 x leg stool, 1 x service table) were also a little tired. The cabin stewards worked extremely hard to keep the room in good order and they are to be commended. The air-conditioning, whilst in theory adjustable, was fierce. Anecdotally, several passengers we met claimed to seek medical advice for sore throat/chest infections citing the air-con. Shore Excursions 4/5 Normally we steer clear of these due to overpricing and generally being poor value for money. Somewhat different on the World Cruise it seems, with P&O upping their game considerably...on most occasions. Interesting itineraries, informative tour guides, great lunches when included, bottled water available on many tours etc. Even allowing for the exotic nature of the ports of call; in our opinion and to our surprise, most tours genuinely rated 4/5. Cinema 1/5 What a waste of space with only thirty seats some of which remained unserviceable and unavailable throughout the cruise. Previewing at the cinema tonight - shown in the cabin tomorrow night. The cinema, Cafe Vivo, Ocean room should be converted as one to a much bigger day time craft/arts/card room but convertible to a second venue/showroom at night. Cafe Vivo could be easily moved further aft where coffee is already served. Having written, read, posted and re-read this review, I cannot help feeling that I have allowed it to exude a little too much negativity. Look, you call it as you see and experience it. Several of our shipmates thoroughly (five stars) enjoyed every aspect of the ship; they loved the knitting, colouring-in, sing-a-longs, craft, Spanish language, ballroom / sequence dancing and card classes. Given the length of this cruise there was inevitable repetition in food and entertainment; completely understandable and, perhaps on reflection, fully anticipatable. The ship is geared up for senior citizens, the proverbial old folks home at sea. Not quite ready for that just yet.
 Ports of Call Southampton 3/5 Embarkation day. No time to explore this trip. From previous visits it could be said that Southampton is a utilitarian city, functional rather than spectacular. Yes, the city walls and architecture are interesting, the shopping centres are enticing but overall, would I travel to Southampton if I was not cruising..hmm? Funchal, Madeira 5/5 Despite numerous visits to Funchal, the island capital never ceases to enchant. A ten to fifteen minute walk over mainly flat surfaces will bring you into the centre. Visit the fruit and flower market, take the cable car up to Monte and come back down on the famous wicker baskets. Taste the world renowned Madeira wine, enjoy the year round floral displays...the list goes on. Bridgetown, Barbados 5/5 So you want a beach, take your pick...too many to choose from. You want history, visit the forts, English style churches, Bridgetown cricket ground (ten minutes walk from the ship), visit Trafalgar Square. Rum factories, fruit plantations, beautiful scenery. Barbados has the lot. The cruise terminal is situated approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes walk from the centre of Bridgetown, mostly on flat though slightly uneven surfaces. Normally it is hot so a taxi might be a good bet. Willemstad, Curacao, Dutch Antilles 4/5 There are two main docking areas. If you are lucky you can enjoy a dramatic sail in/sail away as the ship encounters the narrowest and prettiest of harbour entrances; allowing you to converse with onlookers shoreside with the greatest of ease. Otherwise, you park-up at a more utilitarian pier just outside Willemstad's walled centre. The city is small but perfectly formed with the entry over the floating bridge an obvious highlight. Beaches within fifteen minutes of the pier side. Willemstad, Curacao is colourful, vibrant and very Dutch. The town is predominately flat and accessible. Huatalco, Mexico 3/5 A beach day. If you enjoy walking around the marina, limited shops and stalls then great, Otherwise, for me, the town has little to offer. San Diego, California 4/5 They say it never rains in Southern California, well it can and it did…big time. This did not detract from an excellent promenade and a welcoming (relatively flat) city centre only five minutes from the port. Maritime museums, Aircraft carrier, Red October submarine, Dixie steamboats, you name it, only five minutes walk from the ship. Long Beach (Los Angeles), California 3/5 All that glitters might not be gold. We went to Hollywood from the port, nearly 1.5 hours by coach to get there, over 2 hours back...in fact you will need to take either a tour or taxi to visit anywhere of note perhaps with the exception of Long Beach. The traffic around downtown L.A. is horrendous, the ship departed leaving behind six late passengers who were caught up in traffic. Be warned! Oh yes, Hollywood? Think Blackpool or Southend but without the sticky rock. Tacky in the extreme! San Francisco, California 5/5 If they had offered ten stars then thats what I would have given. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge into the bay with Sausalito to the left, Alcatraz dead ahead, San Francisco with its cable cars to the right. Yes, heavenly. The ship ties-up next to a tram stop from which you can turn left and travel inexpensively into the city (six minutes) or, turn right and visit the various Pier 39 attractions and find the terminus for the cable car (ten minutes). Take a tour, cross the bridge, visit Sausalito, go to Alcatraz, ride the cable car...fill your boots! If it is not stating the blindingly obvious, San Francisco is extremely hilly. Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii 4/5 Honolulu... Pearl Harbor and beaches, right? Yes, of course, and much more besides. We took a tour to Pearl, interesting and historic, good to see...would we do it again…hmm? Over commercialised but not tacky. Beaches, well we were there early February 19c, not quite bikini weather for me but pleasant enough to see the attraction. Honolulu is a great city, easy to find your way around and just about walkable from the ship berth, 25 mins. Bora Bora, French Polynesia 3/5 What do you do when it rains (pours) in paradise? We knocked on the front door of a home in Bora Bora asking the resident for shelter. We were welcomed into the large covered porch area and offered a drink. Fifteen minutes later, we were babysitting as our host took off on her bike en route to the shop to buy provisions for her thirty or so other guests who had seen us enjoying local hospitality and decided to gatecrash! The lady was well rewarded from all concerned. Swimming, snorkelling, water sports, beaches are all great once the thunderstorms have passed. Beautiful, scenic and ideal for beach based activities...weather permitting. Extremely limited otherwise with the small town having very little to offer. Warning, there is no pier in Bora Bora; the ships lifeboats tender you ashore. This can lead to long queues with limited shelter, not ideal if either wet or extremely hot. Vaitape the main town is limited in appeal, indeed it could be described as basic or minimal and anything that is for sale is not cheap. The public transport is rudimentary (trucks with benches) and the service could not be described as regular. None of the above should put you off visiting this unique and welcoming island group. Papeete, Tahiti 3/5 Despite benefiting from millions of Euros from the EU, Papeete and the Tahitian Islands still seemed a little underwhelming. The ship docks in the centre of the city and it is easily accessible. Pleasant enough to visit for a beer or coffee but unremarkable otherwise. The people were warm and welcoming and that will be the abiding memory. PS avoid the tour to the ocean bore-hole, expensive and slated by all on the coach. Auckland, New Zealand 5/5 Terrific little city, even in the rain. Ship docks right in the centre, Easy to walk around although there are some slight hills to deal with. Go up the tower, terrific views day or night. Tremendous ambiance emanating from wonderful people. You must take the inexpensive twenty minute ferry across to Devonport; a hidden gem with its village feel, beautiful little shops and cafes. Lovely beaches. Napier, New Zealand 5/5 We took a tour down to Kidnappers point, saw some sheep shearing and enjoyed wonderful scenery. Following afternoon tea we called back at Napier for an hour before re-boarding the Lollipop. Napier had a huge earthquake some years ago. The locals had the bright idea to rebuild the city in ArtDeco style...Wow! What a beautiful little city, terrific promenade, fantastic sights to be seen everywhere you go. Everything, and I mean everything was in ArtDeco style. Truly a wonder to behold. Wellington, New Zealand 5/5 We took a morning tour along "the wild coast". Lovely views, followed by some sheep dog trials and a stupendous morning coffee with cakes, sandwiches, pastries et al. Back to the capital city which is extremely attractive and small enough to be quite manageable by foot. Deciding not to take the cable car journey up into the hills above the city, we went to the harbour area instead. We were well rewarded. About five minutes from the "Beehive" New Zealand's stunning parliament building, the harbour area has been developed sympathetically and is easy on the eye. All manner of water sports were visible in the bay as we took a beer in one of the many cafes and bars on offer. Idealic. Sydney, Australia 5/5 Whats not to like? As with San Francisco, Auckland, Hong Kong etc we were there for two days. Yes, we visited the bridge, the opera house, blue mountains, Featherdale Park (kangaroos and much more) , Manly beach etc. Too much to do, so little time. Brisbane, Australia 4/5 The ship berths 35 minutes by coach from the centre of Brisbane. We met friends on the south bank of the river which traverses Brisbane. This area is an attraction itself with a sizeable city beach, restaurants, theatres, attractions of all descriptions. Brisbane is an gorgeous city, beautifully manicured and cared for by the residents. Yorkey's Knob (Cairns), Australia 4/5 Once again, no harbour at Yorkey;s Knob so ships lifeboats tender you ashore. Situated approx thirty minutes outside Cairns, you will need to take a taxi or tour coach into town. Nothing much to see at the Knob just a small restaurant and bar. We took a tour on a period train to Kuranda, terrific views on the two hour journey. Highly recommended as an alternative to the Great Barrier reef. In the afternoon we visited Cairns. A pleasant, if sticky, one horse town with lovely outside pools and promenades. Kind of how I imagined it would be. Alotau, Papua New Guinea 4/5 Like almost everyone else on the ship, we went on the Alotau Cultural Festival tour. The locals dress up and put on a colourful, musical and cultural extravaganza with a sail on a war canoe being the highlight of the trip. Beyond this tour the options are extremely limited. The very small town has little to offer and the folks are extremely poor by western standards. Kochi, Japan 4/5 A ten minute courtesy coach journey brings you directly into town…the main bus station. From here you can walk into the small city (five minutes). Kochi Castle is beautiful, absolutely authentic and a terrific photo opportunity. Particularly attractive during cherry blossom time (March). The main shopping centre is extensive with a mix of up to date modernity laced with other enclaves of delicious traditional stalls displaying exquisite artisan wares. With the exception of the Castle which could be challenging with its great many steps, the city is otherwise quite flat and easily accessible. Good beaches within fifteen minutes of the city centre. Note, Japan is cold during February/ early March. Final word, the folks that we encountered must be amongst the most civil and respectful anywhere on our travels. Osaka, Japan 4/5 The second largest city in Japan is just that...huge. There is a good metro and this offers the opportunity to travel throughout the city unescorted. On balance, better to take a tour to Kyoto perhaps on the "bullet train". The ship berths next to a huge indoor shopping centre complete with an enormous ferris wheel which delivers a fantastic light show every evening; all of which is an attraction in itself. Nagasaki, Japan 5/5 The ship berths near the centre of town, perhaps a fifteen minute walk over flat ground. Great terminal with lots of locals on hand to offer advice…how, what, why, where and when; terrific volunteers. We took the obligatory tour to the Epicentre Bomb Museum and Peace Park and found it to be harrowing and up-lifting in equal measure. Next time we would do this ourselves. Very easy by public transport…trams. Can recommend the Dejima Museum, ten minutes walk from the port. Fantastic opportunity for the ladies to wear authentic traditional kimonos and wander through the streets of this living museum. Great photo opportunities. Busan, South Korea 4/5 From memory, the second largest city in South Korea. The ship was berthed some fifteen minutes by courtesy coach from the city centre. Brash and modern streets with all the familiar shopping brands and much more on offer. However you are never far away from market stalls selling everything you could ever imagine and then some. The fish market in particular is colourful, vibrant, exciting and, whilst it does of course smell a little, it is definitely worth a visit. Shanghai, China 3/5 We were glad that we took the three stop tour (the old town district with its fabulous architecture, the Bund promenade area with its views of the city and the Shanghai tower), partly because of the heavy rain which prevailed throughout our visit. If the weather had been better the tour would have been much more rewarding. None the less, it was enjoyable. Hong Kong, China 3/5 Not a happy place to visit at the moment. The locals are restless and unhappy with Britain for abandoning them and not offering sufficient support against China which it is said is suppressing their freedoms. Enough politics. As always, there is plenty to see and do. Try visiting Aberdeen Harbour and take a trip in a Sampan around Jumbo, the largest floating Chinese restaurant in the world. Visit Happy Valley Racetrack, take an evening ferry across Hong Kong Harbour enjoying the laser light show, nip across to Macau…the list goes on Nha Trang, Vietnam 4/5 What a pleasant surprise! This is a resort on the up! The ship's courtesy coach drove us past the most beautiful, manicured beaches before depositing us adjacent to a local hotel which offered toilet facilities and acted as a central point from which to explore this interesting town. Street vendors offered ‘knock-off’ versions of clothing, watches, sunglasses etc at stupidly low prices. I suppose you get what you pay for. Lots of lovely four and five star hotels situated along a tree lined promenade with excellent shaded areas for sitting down and admiring the views across the beaches. You will certainly hear more of Nha Trang as it develops further as holiday destination. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam 5/5 We took a tour around the city. The journey from the ship into the city took approximately one hour passing through paddy fields with both ox and buffalo also to be seen. Temples, temples and yet more temples en route. The city itself is full of history and bursting to tell its story. Long before the Americans arrived to lock horns with the V.C., Saigon was going about its business in the most spectacular way. We went to cultural museums, passed the war-time American embassy, wandered around the Saigon post-office (wow - get your camera ready), enjoyed a fantastic lunch with musical accompaniment, visited Chinese temples, took in a water puppet show and much more….what a day! Laem Chebang for Bangkok, Thailand 3/5 Two hours to get there, three hours to come back. Heavy traffic enroute only gets worse once you get nearer to this enormous, sprawling city. It is not practical to travel into Bangkok unless you take a ship’s tour. The cruise company will offer numerous options…all expensive. There is absolutely nothing to see within five miles of the port. P&O offered a free 30 minute transfer into Pattaya; a serious option if you do not fancy a very long day much of it spent on a coach. Pattaya, Thailand 4/5 The thirty minute courtesy coach journey took us through largely port related industrial areas before finally depositing us at the five star Bayview hotel situated thirty seconds from the beach front at Pattaya. The hotel offered clean restrooms and any other services required during our day at the beach. The beach is beautiful, set in a lovely blue bay with water warm enough to take a bath in. A very long and pleasant promenade affords easy access along the interesting waterfront with its water sports, cafes and many other attractions. Running parallel to the beach is a busy road, the other side of which are terrific stylish hotels, indoor shopping centres (welcome given the heat and humidity), Market stalls and more. The resort is said to have a red light district with its world famous lady-boys et al. Singapore 5/5 Not everyones cup of tea it seems, but we love Singapore. It has beaches, theme parks, musical concerts all accessible by monorail on Sentosa Island. Clarke and Robertson Quays offer vibrant nightlife, excellent food and entertainment by the riverside (mosquito central at night!). Merlion Park waterfront is alive with entertainment during the day but really comes into its own at night. Perhaps you prefer something a little more up-market? Try afternoon tea at the world famous Raffles Hotel (book in advance) then visit Orchid World. Advice, if you are lucky enough to be on a world cruise, do not consider buying any souvenirs, presents, clothing etc until you reach Singapore’s China Town. It has it all. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We recently completed Arcadia’s Western Circumnavigation – 99 nights, 100 days, a Super Blue Blood Moon and around 40,000 statute miles. A totally splendid voyage, many thanks to the crew and all the friends that we made. We hope the ... Read More
We recently completed Arcadia’s Western Circumnavigation – 99 nights, 100 days, a Super Blue Blood Moon and around 40,000 statute miles. A totally splendid voyage, many thanks to the crew and all the friends that we made. We hope the following will be of help to other travellers; In no particular order; • Our inside cabin had limited storage especially in the bathroom – on a long voyage consider taking hanging shelves, you can also stash loads of stuff under the bed. • The cabin walls are metal, you can stick up notes, pictures or a world map with fridge magnets. • Food – generally excellent with lots and lots of choice, we settled into a routine and sometimes just enjoyed a freshly made, plain sandwich. Formal dinners were excellent, you simply do not go hungry on a P&O cruise. • Service – exemplary. It beggars belief that some people can be horribly rude to the nicest staff – there were several occasions when we were embarrassed by our fellow passengers. • Entertainment - Pre-book the cinema, it’s very small but cosy – you can find out what’s on from reception or the library. Other entertainment - great in the bars, shows OK, guest speakers excellent. The entertainment team works hard for your pleasure and there is always something on offer. Don’t forget, the choice is yours, there is a lot of it and you (and P&O) don’t always get it right. • Photography - avoid waste by not having your picture taken by the official photographers – they have a quota to meet and just want you to pose for them – we politely declined on the grounds that they then print them all, then throw most of them away – a shockingly wasteful practice. • Wifi - don’t bother on board, it’s expensive with limited functionality. Much better to go ashore and ask the locals where the best location is. We paid for wifi once in 100 days - $5 in American Samoa – but then, they had just had a tornado that week. • Laundry – very small and always busy. Inadequate for demand on a long voyage. Not a place to make friends, better to buy new clothes. • Wildlife – plenty of it but you do have to be patient and then quick (to photograph) when sailing. You are mostly travelling at around 20mph+ and things pass very quickly. • Other Passengers - Most we met were lovely, however with around 2000 on board the chances are you will meet some unpleasant idiots – we certainly did! Nonetheless Arcadia is a big ship and you don’t have to socialise with anyone that you don’t care to. The major naughtiness is rudeness to staff – P&O are pretty good at dealing with this – some people didn’t complete the voyage! • Excursions – we assumed that most people went on a world tour to see things but were surprised how many didn’t leave the ship. Some tours are totally necessary – we would not have ascended the Burj Khalifa, the Petronas Towers or ridden the Maglev in Shanghai without P&O’s excursion service. Other places are a little easier – see the TOP TIP below. TOP TIPS: • Do your research before you go – decide what you want to see and do beforehand and then plan it. Also use the on-board port talks and excursion desk services to fully plan your trips. • Local transport is variable and every port is different. • Booking excursions before sailing is generally cheaper especially if you get loyalty discount. BUT: if you can, be spontaneous and enjoy the local colour, food and company. We did and those are some of our best memories of a fantastic world trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
First experience of cruising for more than 17 nights. This cruise was. 44 nights with 4 night stay in Sydney. The cruise was great. A few days of rough weather over bay of biscay (as expected). Sea sickness tablets worked a treat, ... Read More
First experience of cruising for more than 17 nights. This cruise was. 44 nights with 4 night stay in Sydney. The cruise was great. A few days of rough weather over bay of biscay (as expected). Sea sickness tablets worked a treat, There were two ports we had to abort because of bad weather: bay of islands and Tonga. This is something you have to expect when cruising which us beyond the control of the captain. Headliner shows always excellent and always generates a full house. Some of the other not always great. Lots of activities during the day to keep you busy during sea days. Spa very expensive. Gym facilities great and free. Food a little disappointing but plenty of it - you won't go hungry! We went on most excursions but a lot of the time you can do your own thing a lot cheaper. Highlights were: Alcatraze, Panama Canal, Pearl Harbour. We enjoyed all the ports on this cruise. Absolutely fab. Best ports San Francisco, Auckland and Sydney. Left luggage - a case on ship which we will collect in April when Arcadia returns to Southampton. We were concerned about the long haul flight for our return journey which turned out great. We flew with Singapore Airlines from Sydney to Singapore and then Singapore to Heathrow. Time just flew. Great current movies on flight, constant drinks and food/meals coming round. Would definitely fly again with them the same journey. 10 out of 10 flight. I think this length of cruise was enough for us but alot of other cruisers were staying on for the full 99 nights. If you are considering this cruise next year I would say go for it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Having been on the Ventura we said we would never go with P & O again. However, with a chance of the Golden Triangle thrown in, we decided to give it another go. What a great trip. The Arcadia does lack the wow factor and could do ... Read More
Having been on the Ventura we said we would never go with P & O again. However, with a chance of the Golden Triangle thrown in, we decided to give it another go. What a great trip. The Arcadia does lack the wow factor and could do with some sparkle , renewal of sanitary ware, a lick of paint. The theatre has too many pillars spoiling the view of the stage. On the plus side, the bed was comfortable, the water constantly hot, the cabin clean, tea and coffee. The food was very good, the staff friendly, helpful, smiling and very hard working. Margaret Gilmore, Brian Conley, Shaun Wallace, Maurice Grumbleweed, singers, dancers etc, very good. We only took one trip and did the rest ourselves. The port talks covered self guiding. Went for set dining and had a fabulous table with excellent waiters. They were helpful and coped with us swapping seats and joking with them. Our steward,Bosco, always smiling. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise along with a trip to India. The ship is very tired and needs total refurbishment. The hot food in the buffet was inedible, cold food acceptable. The restaurants were good with a good choice of menus. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise along with a trip to India. The ship is very tired and needs total refurbishment. The hot food in the buffet was inedible, cold food acceptable. The restaurants were good with a good choice of menus. The entertainment was awful and it was very evident that the ships company were tired and lacked enthusiasm. There was a dreadful smell of sewage on the ship which was so bad we could not sit on our balcony. This ship is not good and certainly not the luxury experience we expected. The only saving grace was the staff who were exceptional and did their upmost to help you. We would never go on this ship again, in fact we are not sure if we would use P & O cruises again. It is a shame as we have been on P & O before and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The standards are slipping and it was certainly not luxury. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We hadn't cruised before but the idea of the Asia cruise with a tour of the Golden Triangle really appealed to us. We weren't disappointed with any part of the holiday, we saw so many places we would probably never visit on a ... Read More
We hadn't cruised before but the idea of the Asia cruise with a tour of the Golden Triangle really appealed to us. We weren't disappointed with any part of the holiday, we saw so many places we would probably never visit on a holiday, Vietnam in particular. The Arcadia was a lovely ship, not too big, we had always dreaded being on a huge "block of flats" type ship and this was perfect. The entertainment provided was in general excellent with a couple of shows which didn't appeal to us but as the saying goes "you can't please all the people all the time" :) The the entertainment staff were lovely, friendly and multi talented, one of them even led the Spanish lessons. We opted for Freedom dining as we didn't want to be regimented by what time we were to dine and it was a wise choice as there were days we didn't get back on board till close to the first sitting and the later sitting was too late for us. The food was always outstanding and the service was good without being overbearing. Our cabin, a deluxe balcony, was great and our cabin Steward was so hardworking and helpful, even giving us tips for time ashore and where to eat and shop. Some people (long seasoned cruisers) complained about the ship saying it was due a refit but apart from some cosmetic wear and tear we thought she was in good shape. Overall this was a great trip and as we said rounded off by the week in India, we would definitely book a P&O cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Lovely ports of call made us choose this itinerary and adult medium ship. Dining was excellent, lectures varied and interesting, the evening entertainment was on the whole very good but the Headliners on ship singers and dancers were ... Read More
Lovely ports of call made us choose this itinerary and adult medium ship. Dining was excellent, lectures varied and interesting, the evening entertainment was on the whole very good but the Headliners on ship singers and dancers were absolutely excellent. All very talented and ranked as good as any west end show. The cabin was the problem A86 mid aft four down from midships on port side. See cabin review and beware! Not worth the money. Excursions were varied and we took advantage of many in countries as Australia, New Zealand, Papa New Guinea, Japan, South Korea and China all well organised on time and educational. The dining area was well laid out although our table 48 was over the top of the propellor shafts and not only noisy but juddered from the vibrations. Most ships seem to think that rear ship for dining front for theatre and entertaining all at low level. Better if higher up, less shaking and stick the night club and gyms down the rear. Conversation had to be raised when ship moving above 17 knots, obviously designers never take a holiday on cruise ships. Still did not spoil a wonderful holiday (except cabin) see below. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Having sailed with P&O before, and previously flying back to UK, as I live in Malaysia, I found this cruise perfect, only 8 hours from Malaysia to Sydney and at the end of the cruise in Singapore, just 1 hour flight home. As usual, ... Read More
Having sailed with P&O before, and previously flying back to UK, as I live in Malaysia, I found this cruise perfect, only 8 hours from Malaysia to Sydney and at the end of the cruise in Singapore, just 1 hour flight home. As usual, the staff, from Reception to Cabin Stewards, Bar Staff and Restaurant staff were fantastic. The Restaurant, Meridian offered a wide choice of menu and catered for all tastes. The Bars were well stocks with a great choice of beverage, knowledgeable staff and good prices. My Cabin was kept very tidy, I might say due to the good work of my Steward. Entertainment nightly in the Theatre was of a very good standard, and music to suit most tastes could be found in bars around the ship. Day time entertainment/activities were good and varied. Boarding the ship In Sydney, with a large number of British Cruisers on board and then joined by a large number of Austrlaian, the banter would always be good, and taken by almost all in good fun. There were a small number of people who joined in Sydney and left in Brisbane, who felt they could not follow the basic dress codes, trying to use the main restaurant at night dressed in shorts, an incident that I witnessed myself. But for the most part everyone enjoined each other's company. Excursions were in the main good, but Shanghai proved a little disappointing due in the main from the continual rain, and the delays following our sailing by the Chinese Port Authorities. Apart from that, another enjoyable cruise on Arcadia, with 2 more already booked. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
A family group of 6 booked 5 cabins for a quick getaway. Embarkation at Sydney was so quick due to a wonderful staff member giving us priority boarding. That is when our troubles with passengers started. A very angry man tried to accuse ... Read More
A family group of 6 booked 5 cabins for a quick getaway. Embarkation at Sydney was so quick due to a wonderful staff member giving us priority boarding. That is when our troubles with passengers started. A very angry man tried to accuse the younger ones of cutting in but thanks to lovely staff we tried to ignore them. The ship was nice but I was not impressed with such low ceilings and missed having a central atrium where it was nice to sit and relax with a great coffee. I found the rooms were a decent size but my carpets were very badly stained. We had fantastic dinner companions but I was quite upset by the stares from other passengers constantly. I know some had originally thought we were entertainers (due to the young girls having very bright coloured hair). Most meals were wonderful, my family's only wish was for crispy bacon of course being British they only served boiled bacon. I did enjoy the shows but found no real entertainment during the day, probably due to it only being the short sector. Our biggest concerns were the rudeness of the British passengers and comments that were made to the girls even though they were dressed quite appropriately. Most staff were excellent the only problems were the usual with new staff starting as the same day as us. Bar staff fantastic, reception staff need to be made more aware of Australian rules and regulations( in regards to immigration) as we kept being given different info in regards to our disembarkation in Brisbane. Coming from Brisbane myself I felt embarrassed about where we had to dock but the staff there were amazing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
What a wonderful adventure we have been on! We originally chose this cruise for the itinerary and it didn't disappoint, however we ended up enjoying our sea days so much more than we expected. There is so much to do on board the ... Read More
What a wonderful adventure we have been on! We originally chose this cruise for the itinerary and it didn't disappoint, however we ended up enjoying our sea days so much more than we expected. There is so much to do on board the ship, but the highlight of our particular cruise were the ballroom dance lessons taught by the very talented, kind and funny teachers Jeffrey and Brenda. They were so good that by evening number two we were up and having a go in the Globe Theatre. We met some lovely people and have some very happy memories of our evenings there. The staff were friendly and helpful, there was so much choice when it came to eating and the menu, when the sea was rough the captain slowed the bost/sped it up so we travelled through the worst of it overnight. The deck parties when leaving port were grat fun. We had to leave the boat in San Francisco, but would have happily stayed on. What a fabulous way to see the world! I can't recommend it enough, I know some people have a few niggles with things, but don't let it put you off. Most people are happy and friendly and pleased to be on board and are more than willing to share their top tips for making the most of the holiday. We would love to go back someday and do another leg of the World cruise with P and O. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise after having been on the 2016 version which wasn't a full circumnavigation. This one was and it's cold in the UK in January. Some comments follow: 1. Embarkation/disembarkation was very good. (We'd ... Read More
We chose this cruise after having been on the 2016 version which wasn't a full circumnavigation. This one was and it's cold in the UK in January. Some comments follow: 1. Embarkation/disembarkation was very good. (We'd reached the top Peninsular Club tiers so it wouldn't be so good if you are below the Caribbean tier). 2. We had the same balcony cabin as last year. It was "OK". P&O regularly clean the balconies but it never makes much difference. They just range between slightly dirty and pretty mucky. The balcony chairs and tables never seemed to be clean. 3. The cabin steward was pleasant enough but there was never enough time in the day to properly clean all the cabins. I was never aware of our cabin being hoovered. When you store your suitcase under the bed there will be years of accumulated fluff on it when you need it again once your 4 months is up. 4. We had a table for two in the Meridian restaurant for our evening meals. The food was usually pretty bland but perfectly edible. (Apart from the frogs legs and rabbit that appeared on the menu a couple of times - I've no idea why P&O offer these). Overall, the food standards have slipped over the years. Oddly, the food seemed much better when we had lunch in the Meridian. 5. We ate once on the Ocean Grill, entirely thanks to a "freebee" from P&O. I thought I'd change from the usual steak option and had the Buffalo burger instead. I can't recommend it. 6. The port itinerary was generally very good. The Papua New Guinea visit was a waste of time though, but I think P&O only stop there to let the Australian Great Barrier Reef pilot off. 7. Our favourite ports were San Francisco, Sydney, Osaka, Nagasaki, Singapore and Aqaba (for Petra). Bora Bora (rained and not much there), Nha Trang (not much there) and all the UAE ones (courtesy coaches to Malls that were in the middle of nowhere) were disappointments. The worst was Colombo but that was because the courtesy coach dropped us at Mall with hardly any shops in it. Even the Arcadia crew, who were looking forward to what they called 'decent food', were more than a little disappointed. Looking at Colombo as we drove through it in the courtesy coach , there certainly looked to be much nicer places we should have been taken to. 8. We booked a limited number of Shore Excursions since we were well aware of the high P&O prices from previous cruises. Often it's possible to get to the same places P&O take you to for a tenth of the cost. Most of the excursions we did take were fine except for the Shanghai one where the rain just poured down. It didn't help that our bus was the one that didn't turn up on time. 9. We didn't visit the Palladium Theatre to be entertained during the whole cruise. I just do not like the Headliners and my past experiences of other acts has put me off going to the shows completely. (Yes, I know, other reviewers really rate the Headliners). I did watch some of the guest speakers on the in-cabin television and they were actually all very good. 10. I am proud to say that I did not go to any Sailaway party around the Aquarius Pool and I feel I'm a better person for that! (My wife went to one or two, but we never talk about it. She was probably just there because she needed a cigarette). In summary, P&O standards have slipped a bit over the years. There are various things that aren't just quite right with the cabins, the food, the entertainment and even the ship.(I forgot to mention that the bow of the Arcadia was looking pretty rusty compared to some other cruise ships we came across). All that said, I think it's still reasonable value for money and I'll probably go on another cruise with them in 2018 or 2019. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Two captains, two deputy captains, two entertainment managers and eighty two nights later, we reflect on a much anticipated cruise experience. Positives: Arcadia is a comfortable ship...like an old armchair. Overall, the dining ... Read More
Two captains, two deputy captains, two entertainment managers and eighty two nights later, we reflect on a much anticipated cruise experience. Positives: Arcadia is a comfortable ship...like an old armchair. Overall, the dining experience was good (Belvedere excluded). Entertainment; the Headliners Company were exceptional. Some wonderful ports of call Alotau, San Francisco, Napier, Nha Trang, Singapore. No fighting for deck chairs on Arcadia...acres of space. Service was uniformly excellent throughout. Dance hosts Brenda & Jeffrey converted many non-dancers. Superb. Quiet ship, most go to bed early...little to do after the theatre. Negatives: No meaningful second entertainment venue. Due to the above, the ship was quiet from 9.30pm (i.e. post theatre). Areas of the ship smelled foul throughout the cruise. The ship needs an overhaul not just an engine refit. Extremely dated. Too many quizzes, day and night. Cheap and cheerful? No, just cheap! If we want a quiz we go to our local. Not what we hoped for on a world tour. Dining 3/5 The Meridian Restaurant delivered a good (not great) selection of food served warm (rarely if ever hot). The levels of service were influenced by variables such as the waiting team, distance of your table from the galley, dramas in the kitchen etc. Comparable with banquet catering served at say, a wedding rather than a fine dining experience. None the less, the Meridian (main dining room) would score 4/5. The Belvedere buffet was another story. The choice, quality and presentation of food was mediocre to poor. Even by P&O's moderate standards this 'restaurant' left a lot to be desired. With the possible exception of Curry Night, this place should be avoided if possible. Score 2/5. Hence the overall dining score of 3/5. Sindhu, P&O's asian fine dining restaurant seemed to attract mixed views; rather like Marmite! We don't like Marmite so 3/5. The Ocean Grill (by day the ship's officers mess, by night Marco Pierre White's fine dining experience) was incredibly popular, with generally good to excellent reviews. Whether this popularity was due to the need to utilise the copious on-board spending money to be found on a World Cruise or, truly reflected the quality of food and service on offer might be debated. In our opinion, it is not as good as say The Epicurean Restaurant on Azura/Ventura where the extra charge is double that for The Ocean Grill. None the less, in terms of food quality, service and value for money it rates 5/5. Room Service was generally good to excellent. Of course it was somewhat limited in choice when compared to the restaurant however it was cooked to order, often hot and for the most part, delivered on time. This is probably the only way to get warmish toast on board. 4/5. Cafe Vivo, tucked away in the dark, no doubt as an afterthought of the ship's architect; was illuminated by excellent staff who brought sunshine to it's customers. Much too small. 5/5. Entertainment 3/5 It is not so long since P&O Cruise Directors proudly introduced their entertainment team of sixteen staff. On this cruise (a world cruise) the now Entertainment Manager introduced his team of six. A sign of the times? Headliners Theatre Company were excellent on this cruise as were the ship's orchestra. From memory, they presented nine different shows; although these were repeating for the third time during our 82 days on board Arcadia. Guest entertainers (the usual suspects) were flown out to join the ship and varied in standard. For example, a "comedian" who normally performs in the Havana or Manhattan night club venues on Azura/Ventura would be starring at Arcadia's theatre. No choice really since there is no alternative showroom venue such as on Oriana, Oceana, Aurora etc. The Globe, a 200 seater utility room is used for dancing (users complain that the floor is much too small with tensions often mounting between sequence and ballroom dancers as they vie for space), classical recitals, occasional musical 'jams' featuring the ships orchestra and other in-house musicians. There is music of some description in each of the bars and lounges as the same in-house musicians play musical chairs and change venue each evening. Somewhat repetitive over the nearly three months on board. The Retreat, another small, utilitarian facility is primarily used for ballroom, sequence or line dancing, either for lessons during the day, or, as an alternative to The Globe during the evening. The Retreat is much smaller than The Globe, therefore not ideal for dancing. Guest speakers were shipped out on a regular basis and once again varied in attractiveness dependent on your taste. Most notably, Eric (Knocker) Knowles, Wayne Sleep and Lord Michael Howard offered lectures on their chosen subjects and life in general. The Ocean Room is a multi-purpose facility busy delivering art, crafts and card lessons by day but idle at night. Could be better utilised as a second venue after dark. Service 5/5 The service throughout the ship was uniformly excellent, particularly the reception. Often receiving the brunt of complaints from frustrated passengers we witnessed the reception staff defuse potentially difficult circumstances. Dragana and Sandra were outstanding. Shore Excursions 4/5 Not normally fans of organised shore excursions, we found that for the more exotic ports of call to be found on a world cruise itinerary they were essential. Yes, they were painfully expensive but to our surprise, more often than not, they delivered great value for money. 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Sail Date January 2017
Arcadia is one of my favourite ships and I have sailed on her a few times. The fact it is adult only is lovely and makes for a more relaxing cruise. As a single lady I fine this a safe way of travelling and a way of meeting like minded ... Read More
Arcadia is one of my favourite ships and I have sailed on her a few times. The fact it is adult only is lovely and makes for a more relaxing cruise. As a single lady I fine this a safe way of travelling and a way of meeting like minded people. The only downside to travelling alone is the price P&O charge for a cabin it is often double the price! The food is good but standards have dropped over the years no silver service and no portion control in the resturant. The entertainment was exellent and a good variety . My cabin was on G deck and was lovely all but there being a few problems initially with cleanness . I worry that the staff cuts are leading to poorer service in all areas which isn't the fault of the staff! The staff rush around and no longer have time to interact with passengers and on occasions can present as rude. Arcadia was going in for a refute which was due and I look forward to seeing the improvements on my next cruise in March 2018. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
As I wanted to sail the Panama Canal, this was an ideal trip. A really lovely cruise, commencing with smooth embarkation at Southampton, as always. The ship, thankfully, was adults only (also a better class of person) and although most ... Read More
As I wanted to sail the Panama Canal, this was an ideal trip. A really lovely cruise, commencing with smooth embarkation at Southampton, as always. The ship, thankfully, was adults only (also a better class of person) and although most were doing the world cruise, a lot of passengers were doing various parts. I disembarked and flew back from San Francisco, which went extremely smoothly. I note someone has referred to the Arcadia as an 'enormous ship'. Far from it, it's a P&O mid-sized ship. If you want 'enormous', I suggest the Britannia! As a 'solo' traveller, each morning, on sea days, there is a 'solos coffee morning', which was fairly well attended. This gave us a chance to meet, have a free coffee and chat over plans and previous days etc. I do feel there could be more organised for the solo traveller though. The staff are, generally, very polite, friendly and attentive. Having said that, one of the female hosts was very rude to the passengers on one of the quiz evenings. The cabin was roomy with a lovely balcony (shame the glass was never cleaned). Plenty of wardrobe space, a good sized bathroom (shame the extractor fan hadn't seen a duster for weeks), but lacking in television programme choices (take a tip from Britannia) and the map could barely be read. I ought to add, although a solo cruiser, I always book a double cabin to ensure comfort. The food, as a freedom diner, was good in the Meridan Restaurant, although the menu did start to become monotonous and I certainly wouldn't be keen to do the world cruise with the menu choices. The buffet choices were excellent, although at times, not well replenished. Sindhu (Atol's restaurant), was excellent and I dined there twice, likewise Marco's Ocean Grill. One experience not to be missed is Eric Lanlard's Afternoon Tea!! The Oasis Spa is worth a visit, although it must be said, they do need to tidy up and be careful of the trailing cables (H&S?) in the hairdressing salon. The Shows weren't that professional and a lot of mistakes stood out. The talks I attended were excellent. Some of the tour organisation was not so good, especially in the US, in fact at times I'd say organised chaos. Madeira, Barbados and Curacao were lovely. If you get the chance I do recommend the 'Sunset & Champagne' evening cruise at Barbados - wonderful. Not sure about the 'champagne', but the very generous free G&Ts went down a treat!! The Panama Canal was exceptional, what an experience. A shame a few hogged the seats in the Crow's Nest Bar from crack of dawn, which didn't allow some of us to get a view or take photos. I thoroughly recommend doing the Canal, the trip, for that alone, was worth every grand spent!! The only down-side is that the Captain didn't mix, even on his Gala Evening. When met in the lifts, not even an acknowledgement. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We wanted to visit many of the ports offered on this leg of the World cruise. Embarkation was poorly organised as there was little room at HongKong terminal. Our cabin was fine and what we expected ie Queen size bed,balcony and good ... Read More
We wanted to visit many of the ports offered on this leg of the World cruise. Embarkation was poorly organised as there was little room at HongKong terminal. Our cabin was fine and what we expected ie Queen size bed,balcony and good bathroom with bath and tea making facility.There was poor hanging space in the wardrobe but we managed. Meals we found a bit dull,do not go on PO expecting food to wow you,they are often very ordinary,it was sometimes dried out or overcooked in the Belvedere which is similar to a works canteen.Salads are ok and you can get tea or coffee anytime,deserts were also so,so. Evening meals we took freedom dining option which we liked as you are able to choose time to eat and not be stuck with people you may not get on with.These meals are also hit and miss,we always found soups were best part,meat was sometimes very fatty or tough,othertimes they were fine,very inconsistent. Entertainment was first class with great singers,dancers,modern and classical shows we thoroughly enjoyed.A special mention to the young people of the Headliners show team,magnificent The ports especially in the Far East were all we expected,loved Japan.Crossed the Pacific visiting Hawaii,San Francisco,San Diego and Mexico. Transversing the Panama Canal was another highlight we would not have missed. Caribbean isles of Aruba and St Martin were to follow ending at the Azores in Punta del Gardaga before home again.Disembarkation went smoothly. We did get the notorious Arcadia cough (hoped it was a myth)My husband was so bad he went to the doctor and could not leave the cabin for several days which was a pity as there were lots of hobbies and activities to join in,name it and there was something for everyone. Public areas were lovely,enjoyed the piano bar after dinner,praise to Natalie,John and the saxophonist. Swimming pools were ok,heated but the jaquzzis were a joke,never bubbly (excuse given that they were only spa baths) why then were there dials etc to make the tubs active? Drinks on board were affordable and the staff in all areas were well trained,polite and very friendly. Being such a long cruise laundry areas are small and cramped and difficult to get a wash done but we managed ok.Also very small and cramped was the Cinema with only 30 seats. We loved our time except when not well,were disappointed with the cuisine(too many curries)enjoyed activities we joined but will probably not use Arcadia again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I have held back from posting the following critique of Arcadia for almost 9 months . After writing it I thought ; Well P&O is just like this now and you can take it or leave it. However, I am currently on the Aurora and many of my ... Read More
I have held back from posting the following critique of Arcadia for almost 9 months . After writing it I thought ; Well P&O is just like this now and you can take it or leave it. However, I am currently on the Aurora and many of my critiscisms of Arcadia, simply do not apply. For example, I have seen the Captain almost every day and exchanged pleasantries on numerous occasions. The jacuzzis are hot and, yes, the water jets work. The pool is warm..ish and therefore passengers actually swim in it!! Etc etc I have friends who concurred with my original views and who also travelled on the Aurora recently and, like me, feel that it is managed better than the Arcadia. Finally, yesterday, I was talking to some fellow passengers who commented, without prompting, that the Arcadia has issues. To my mind, the Arcadia, which was a ship originally built for the more up-market Cunard brand, should be the pride and joy of the P&O fleet but, unfortunately, it is not. Sad really as run well, they could charge a premium. What is therefore clear to me is that P&O give a great amount of freedom to the management team on each ship. This means that the brand offering can be different on each ship and better or worse, depending on your viewpoint of course. This therefore begs the question...What value the P&O branding? I have to ask, therefore, whether their marketing department is keeping tabs on the feed back and whether their reports are read by a Senior management team who take action. To my mind, when something small goes wrong, it is often symptomatic of a larger problem. In my experience of business, most customer experience enhancements cost little, or nothing, to implement. So here is my post and if anyone feels that it is factually incorrect then I hope you will let me know and I will tell you my exact experience. Arcadia is great if you… Are happy with good to very good general service Like to spend time in a well equipped modern gym with spinning bikes and treadmills etc , where most of the equipment functions correctly. Like a good size cabin with a very large and comfortable bed. Like a cabin with a half bath as well as a shower. Want your cabin to be always well cleaned and tidied and to have good quality linen. Don't mind waiting 45 minutes to an hour for room service. Like to have a cabin with a modern and large TV which connects to your own storage devices (USB) and plays almost every film and audio format available as well as photo files. Aren't too bothered by a poor quality (Fuzzy) picture on said TV when watching all of the ships channels. Like swimming in unheated swimming pools that are cold unless they have been warmed by the sun in a tropical location. Are happy to sit in a tepid jacuzzi that doesn't have jets or bubbles as they have been purposefully disconnected, for "health and safety reasons" Don't want to eat high quality or Gourmet food. Like onions, mustard, pesto and an odd assortment of other additions, being added to all and every one of their pre prepared sandwiches. Like odd food combinations. Eg pineapple slice and Edam cheese toasties, fresh prawns always in Pesto sauce or with some other weird addition , Mackerel curry?? Like eating food that can have different ingredients than described on the menu. Understand that the quality of the ingredients in the Marco Pierre White restaurant is substantially lower than you might expect in his UK restaurants. Like poor quality Sirloin or Rib-Eye steak that is pre cut and only served 1/3 inch thick. Don't mind having to ask the occasional member of staff to repeat themselves two or three times because you don't understand them. Are happy to watch a film in the wrong Aspect Ratio where James Bond is 7ft tall and his Aston Martin looks like a bus. Are tone deaf and can't tell that some of the bar singers are occasionally out of tune or are just not very good. Want to enjoy some of the best production shows you are ever likely to see on a ship. Don't mind seeing the same shows repeated on long voyages. Love watching some great guest singers perform to a very high standard. Like watching great shows in a beautiful theatre. Like a wide variety of entertaining guest speakers who make presentations on a multitude of interesting topics. Like to watch recent release films in a purpose built cinema with comfy chairs and great viewing positions and don't mind the poor quality of the picture projected onto the screen by the out of date projector. Like to learn ballroom dancing and to have the chance to practice every night with professional and entertaining dance coaches. Like to play table tennis. Like to play Bridge. Like to buy Original Art at sea. Like to spend an evening down at the local pub with a good choice of beers and music and quizzes etc. Like to gamble in a Casino. Want to be able to have your own spirits in your cabin and don't mind paying £6 a litre for the mixers. Eg Tonic or ginger ale etc . Always take your own thick cushions with you so that you can enjoy sitting on the very uncomfortable reclining beds by the indoor pool. ( they have an iron rail in an odd position that sticks into your buttock ) Understand that the crew are much too busy to respond to your complaints and have to keep a straight face when they pass on what their senior mangers tells them, even though they know it is total rubbish. Understand that there will be times when there are no cups available in the buffet or that the tea box will not always have the one tea you prefer. Understand that the buffet will not always have the one dish from the menu that you want, unless you ask for it. Want WIFI and don't mind paying a premium rate for a very slow connection. Don't think that the huge rust patches on the outside of the ship are symptomatic of the crews attitude. Don't mind not seeing the Captain around the ship very often and don't expect him to personally attend the Captains Cocktail Party or make the daily announcements. Don't mind paying the doctors fee of £60 plus, when that is the only way the pharmacy will give you a "non prescription" cream. (which they have dozens of on the shelf in the pharmacy.) Like a ship with a modern and well thought out interior. Enjoy using a hydropherapy pool with strong water jets and don't mind paying extra for the privilege of using it or that it is occasionally closed with no explanation of why. Don't mind going to occasional ports of call that have little to offer but are probably cheap to Park at. Notes: My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years and have cruised on P&O, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Cruise and Maritime, NCL, Costa, Cunard and Fred Olsen. We believe that almost every cruise ship and itinerary combination has a price at which it is good value providing you are happy to accept any known limitations. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We choose this cruise as previous passengers always spoke highly of Arcadia and the itinerary was very attractive. Unfortunately, excursions were poorly planned and organised: black tie events and smart jacket events were changed I.e. ... Read More
We choose this cruise as previous passengers always spoke highly of Arcadia and the itinerary was very attractive. Unfortunately, excursions were poorly planned and organised: black tie events and smart jacket events were changed I.e. reduced and cancelled, from the original itinerary; the only (very small) dance floor is taken over by the dance club so no where to party in the evening wearing the evening outfits bought for the cruise; liveliest bar in the evening for a drink and everything stops at 10:30 for (another) quiz; no quiet reading area as all are in bar areas where you are expected to order drinks by constant bar staff. There is more but no point as P&O not interested. Many passengers as disappointed as us and had said used to be lovely cruise ship but experiences had been changing over last couple years. Excursions were poor and none allowed for special opportunities to make most of local traditions such as cherry blossom time in Japan, church procession in the Azores port, poorly planned trips to Great Wall and Forbidden City. immigration arrangements ate into our limited port time which meant we could not explore independently as committed to poor excursion departure times. Very expensive holiday when add in 50 X daily drinks, tips, spa treatments as everything is chargeable and promoted deals are not honoured. Real shame as the staff are so lovely and 50 days together does create a working bond with them. Needless to say, husband says never again :- Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We joined the world cruise in Sydney with about 1000 others. It does seem a tad disappointing fore 'around the world' cruisers that they have so many fairly transient passengers with them. The standard of the food was excellent ... Read More
We joined the world cruise in Sydney with about 1000 others. It does seem a tad disappointing fore 'around the world' cruisers that they have so many fairly transient passengers with them. The standard of the food was excellent as was the service we received in the Meridaian restaurant. The cabin steward also provided excellent service. What was lacking ? Perhaps the Entertainment team was not able to galvanise the passengers to the extent that we have experienced on other world cruises. Another common problem is the lack of or even misinformation provided to dependent travellers for shore visits. Obviously P & O are very keen to push their own over-priced excursions. Another continuing disappointment is the expensive and unreliable wifi. Surely in 2016 Carnival can provide such a basic service as Wifi to all passengers and include it in the cruise price. They should also be able to provide a good quality coffee service - the Costa served in the coffee lounges is not the sane as you would get in a Costa anywhere in the world. But this is all nit-picking - we did have a fabulous time and appreciate the overall quality provided by P & O. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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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