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Arcadia Review

4.0 / 5.0
447 reviews
See all photos
Editor Rating
Very Good
Jeannine Williamson

Arcadia is one of the line's three adult-only vessels and became one of the first P&O ships to offer weddings because its Bermudian registry allows captains to marry couples at sea.

Arcadia offers a raft of attractive facilities including excellent entertainment and top-notch speciality dining to appeal to P&O's mature and predominantly British passengers who rate style, ambience and a relaxed atmosphere over gimmicks and adrenaline-fuelled activities.

Arcadia has an interesting background: Unlike P&O's purpose-built vessels, Arcadia was originally ordered in 2000 by Holland America Line, destined to become the fifth Vista-class ship. Then it was allocated to Cunard as the next Queen Victoria, before being launched in 2005 under the P&O Cruises brand. (Ship aficionados can spot tell-tale signs of its previously intended guise, such as an adapted Cunard-style funnel). The atrium is also smaller, and not quite the heart of the ship as it is on its sister vessels.

Based in Southampton and sailing on a variety of itineraries from short taster cruises to round-the-world voyages, the bright (but tasteful) refit brings Arcadia in line with the fleet's newer vessels.


Adult-only vessel that's great for couples, singles and groups of friends


There's no ballroom and limited space for dance enthusiasts

Bottom Line

Mid-sized traditional vessel aimed at the British market, benefitting from a 2017 £34m refurb


Passengers: 2094
Crew: 866
Passenger to Crew: 2.42:1
Launched: 2005
Shore Excursions: 826

Fellow Passengers

The majority of passengers are British, and typically a mature, over-60s crowd, many of whom are fiercely loyal to P&O and have sailed with the line for years -- often decades. This demographic changes dramatically on mini-cruises, which attract lively groups of families and friends celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions.

Arcadia Dress Code

By day the atmosphere is easygoing, and most passengers opt for casual shirts, shorts, trousers and beachwear. From 6 p.m. the dress code is formal or "evening casual" in bars and restaurants. There are usually four formal nights on two-week cruises (usually on sea days) and for cruises over seven nights there is a black and white themed ball. P&O cruisers love to dress up and even on three-night itineraries you can expect one formal night.

P&O defines evening casual as separates or dresses for ladies and open-neck polo shirts and casual trousers (not shorts) for men. Smart dark denim is also fine but not trainers, football shirts or tracksuits and passengers typically err towards the smarter side of casual.

Black tie nights are glamorous affairs, with passengers keen to go with the flow rather than buck the trend. If you want to break out a full-length ball gown on formal evenings you won't look out of place. For men, dinner jackets or tuxedos are the norm, but a dark lounge or business suit and tie can be worn as an alternative.

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Arcadia Cruiser Reviews

P+O quality suffering

Chose Arcadia for a number of reasons - been on before, adults only + Fjords for 1st time. Few positives but many negatives. Positives ...Read More

many10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Fabulous time lovely staff nice ship

We have just had a great trip to Amsterdam on the Arcadia .Its an older ship but very nice ,our cabin was very comfortable and spotlessly clean .It was a bit wear and tear in places but the staff wereRead More
Bluebell Hill

couple2-5 Cruises

Age 70s


My wife and I have been on 25 Cunard cruises and just three on other lines, one on the P&O Iona with the family, so were interested to compare Arcadia with Queen Victoria and Elizabeth.Read More

many10+ Cruises

Age 80s

P&O service gone downhill.

It may well have been that particular ship, the Arcadia, but had that of been my first cruise with P&O I would be in no hurry to go back.Read More

few6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

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