Arvia Activities

Editor Rating
Jo Kessel

Entertainment & Activities

Theatre and Shows on Arvia Cruise Ship

Arvia's two-deck Headliner's Theatre is the main venue for big production shows as well as guest acts. This is the only place in the world where guests can now watch the brand-new stage musical "Greatest Days -- the Official Take That Musical". It's an adaptation of the acclaimed West End musical "The Band," where pop group sensation Take That's singalong hits are woven into a beautiful story written by Olivier Award-winning writer Tim Firth.

There are normally three shows a night in Headliner's but because Greatest Days has a longer running time of 60 minutes it only plays twice a night when it's on the bill. You need to book on the My Holiday app.

Another venue for shows is The Club House, a lounge which hosts game shows, tribute acts and themed music nights.

While scheduled acrobatic shows are regularly performed in the SkyDome, keep a look out for unscheduled, ad hoc acrobatic displays which take place in the atrium as a surprise for guests. Get lucky in the daytime and you might even catch acrobats rehearsing here.

Daily Things to Do on Arvia Cruise Ship

Everything scheduled on Arvia is listed both in the Horizon programme (delivered to the cabin nightly) as well as on the app. There’s always plenty going on from line dancing classes to dance workshops to pub games to quizzes. There are informal table tennis meet-ups as well as archery sessions on the Sports Court. By 8 p.m. most of the activities turn to music, although there is the occasional ‘talk’ about rum in the Duty Free Shop or Jewellery in the Jewellery boutique. There are also screenings of three different movies a day in the ship’s boutique cinema. Listed occasionally are rum-blending classes (when Arvia’s sailing in the Caribbean) or gin-blending when it’s in the Med. There’s a small charge for this.

Nightlife on Arvia Cruise Ship

Arvia comes alive with music at night; it's something the ship does really well. In the space of a single evening you can catch an unscheduled acrobatic show in the atrium, go for cocktails, have dinner, hit the silent disco, squeeze in a theatre production and enjoy a late-night set in Gary Barlow’s very popular 710 Club. After hours the Limelight Club turns into a nightclub with live music and dancing. There are also sometimes DJ sets out on deck under the stars or in the SkyDome.

Arvia has a large casino next to Brodie’s pub on Deck 7. Be warned, there’s a strong smell of smoke here and you’ll need to go up or down a deck if you want to avoid it as you leave the Headliner’s Theatre. The casino offers high-quality gaming for all levels of player, from slot machines to popular table games. Expert croupiers are on hand for interactive tutorials or to pit their luck against yours on a table.

Arvia's Bars and Lounges

Arvia is a trailblazer for P&O Cruises. As well as having the line's first ever swim-up bar, the ship is home to the first rum distillery at sea. When Arvia winters in the Caribbean this distillery makes Tidal Rum (served in certain cocktails on board) and when it summers in the Mediterranean the distillery turns its hand at making gin instead. On no other ship can you have a taste of the place in quite the same fashion.  If you know you're going to order enough drinks to make the Ultimate Drinks Package worthwhile, then it’s worth knowing that for a set daily fee you can enjoy pretty much anything you fancy, from alcoholic drinks to soft and hot beverages. Plus it entitles you to a 20% discount off all bottles of wine. NB: the drinks package does not cover wine tastings or cocktail masterclasses.

Our Picks:

For a drink in a swimsuit: The Infinity is P&O Cruises' first ever swim-up bar. It's on Deck 16, next to the wake infinity pool. There are only a dozen seats actually submerged in the water, so be sure to arrive early if you fancy a pew, especially on a sea day. Pina Colada is the most popular drink here and complements the wake view perfectly.

For an unforgettable rum cocktail: The Amber Lounge in Arvia's atrium has a menu of rum-based cocktails, some of which include the Tidal Rum made on board. But for a glass of bittersweet, refreshing loveliness, order a Tortuga Cobbler, Arvia's most popular rum cocktail.

For the perfect aperitif: The wines at the Glass House have all been personally picked by Food Hero and wine expert Olly Smith. While they go well with the venue’s light bites, they’re also delicious just by themselves. For the perfect, hot weather aperitif order a glass of the Canadian ice cuvee from Peller Estates.

For Something Elegant: The Crow's Nest is a P&O Cruises icon, forward on Deck 17 with gorgeous views and an elegant vibe. For something a bit different order its rhubarb Bellini. It’s packed with champagne, rhubarb puree and lemon sherbet and is a glass of fizzy deliciousness.

For Gin Lovers: An elegant cocktail lounge adjacent to the rum/gin distillery, Anderson's has a superb spirits menu and is a cosy spot for drinks by day and night. Whether the ship is sailing in the Caribbean or the Med, this is still the perfect place to sip some of the Marabelle Gin that's distilled on board.

Pools, Hot Tubs and Sundecks on Arvia Cruise Ship

Arvia has four main swimming pools, five if you include the swim-up bar. The most popular (and where it’s always hardest to secure a sun lounger) are the two infinity wake pools at the aft of Decks 16 and 18. The third main pool is in the SkyDome which, thanks to its retractable roof, is largely used as an outdoor pool instead of an indoor one. And the fourth is the Beachcomber Pool which is found at the front of the ship on Deck 18. It's generally quieter at this end of the ship and easier to find a sun bed, whether by the pool or out on deck.

Altitude Skywalk, Altitude Mini-Golf and Mission Control on Arvia Cruise Ship

Arvia's Altitude Skywalk high ropes course, mini-golf and Mission Control Escape Room experience are all new-to-the-line amenities. All are beautifully designed, popular and busy throughout the day. The mini-golf is included in the fare and sits underneath the high ropes course on Deck 19, adjacent to the Sports Court. For the high-ropes course, however, there’s a small fee and it must be pre-booked. While there’s no age restriction, there is a minimum height requirement of 1. 4 metres. Under ‘18s need a guardian to sign them in.

Far from being gimmicky and throwaway, this high-ropes course is properly challenging and, at times, a little bit scary. If you suffer from vertigo this isn't for you. One section requires you to walk a plank cantilevered high above the sea and ring a bell from the end -- this is leg-trembling stuff. Another section involves scrambling across a giant spider's web. But the section we found the hardest to cross was a narrow beam topped by mini seesaws. Trying to balance as you navigate the ups and downs of the seesaws isn’t easy. This is hands-down one of the best high-ropes courses we've tried at sea. Believe us when we say that it’s absolutely worth it. Have a go; you’ll be proud of yourself.

Also new to Arvia is the submarine-themed escape room-style experience called Mission Control. It's billed as an "underwater challenge" and decked out like a proper submarine which even moves and vibrates. Thanks to an LED screen displaying sea-life swimming past, it does a great job of simulating being in the depths of the ocean. There is a challenge (all participants are given a role to do to help problem-solve) but none of us were really sure what the challenge was.

Steering participants through the escape is the submarine’s Captain (a member of the ship's animation team) who drip-feeds information. We found this to be more about role-play than a sense of jeopardy or being up against the clock to escape. But it’s priced right and for families and children this could be a fun way to spend 90 minutes.

Sundecks on Arvia Cruise Ship

Our top pick for where to lounge for the day, however, is on the Promenade Deck. This is a quieter alternative to the busier top decks and, while there is no proper swimming pool, there are lots of small hot tubs dotted all the way around this deck as well as two large ones at the stern. Better still this deck has The Quays which offers all-day non-stop food to rival (if not better) the Horizon Buffet.

For a splurge: The Retreat is a sumptuous, pay-for, adult-only sanctuary at the front of the ship which has two hot tubs as well as on tap snacks and drinks (including alcoholic). Book pre-cruise for the best rates - if you’re not on a drinks package then the fee is worth it for the drinks alone.

Services and Wi-Fi on Arvia Cruise Ship

There are self-service laundry rooms on most cabin decks on Arvia complete with free-to-use ironing boards and irons. The ship’s Wi-Fi costs but there are packages available and, depending on where you are sailing (and how many people are using it at the same time) the connection is generally good. The My Holiday App can be uploaded onto your mobile at the start of the cruise via a QR code which is left in your cabin. On the whole it works well and is the best way to see what’s on and to make bookings for restaurants or shows.

Spa & Fitness

Spa and Thermal Suite on Arvia Cruise Ship

The Oasis Spa and Health Club is located over two levels, forward on decks 5 and 6. It's a soothing space, tucked away from the bustle of the ship, with an adjacent hair and nail salon. A wide variety of massages are on offer, from Swedish to Bamboo to Deep Tissue or Thai, as well as assorted facials, acupuncture and detoxifying treatments. They also offer Elemis Biotec treatments which promise to treat fine lines and tired skin. Tips are not included in treatments, although they’re not added automatically. Look out for offers which appear regularly in Horizon, the daily programme.

Tip: Book a treatment and access to the spa's thermal suite is free -- it's a serene area, with a decent-sized hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam rooms and heated lounge chairs. There’s also a cooling chamber. While this area can be accessed without booking a treatment, it costs to do so.

While Arvia has a new dedicated area for men’s grooming with a barber station, it’s tucked into the corner of the clothes shops on board instead of being in the Health Club.

Fitness and Gym on Arvia Cruise Ship

Arvia has a large gym, located on Deck 5, with everything from treadmills to rowing machines and free weights. There's a separate studio for classes which include Tour de Cycle, Body Sculpt Bootcamp, Pure-Form Pilates and Yoga. Most of these incur a fee. There are just a handful of body conditioning and stretch sessions which are included.

Outdoors there’s a jogging track which wraps around the funnel on Deck 18, although its miniature circumference makes it feel a little bit like you're running around a tiny fishbowl time and again.

Tip: For a good free workout check out the fantastic Fitsteps classes in the Limelight Club, hosted by the ship’s dancers. The routines are a mix of ballroom and Latin steps (no partner is required) which have been choreographed by some of the pro dancers from Strictly Come Dancing. These sessions will really raise your heartbeat and build up a sweat.

For Kids

Is Arvia Cruise Ship Family Friendly?

Arvia is incredibly family-friendly, with children’s clubs available for youngsters aged from six months to 17 (see below). Children’s tea is served at 5 p.m. daily in the Horizon Buffet to help kids stick to their at-home routines.

Tip: Ice-cream is offered here as a dessert, so even if your kids don’t want to eat dinner this early, they should come here at 5 p.m. to get a free gelato instead of having to pay for it at the Ripples ice-cream parlour.

The new high-ropes course, mini-golf and Mission Control Escape Room experience are all a great addition for families, though be aware that there is a height restriction on the high ropes. There’s also an Altitude Splash Valley wet zone (it’s located a deck below the high ropes course and is great on a hot day) which is fun for little ones. At the Ocean Studios Cinema at least one of the movies playing every day is PG and kid-friendly while most of the shows in Headliner’s Theatre are also suitable for younger viewers, offering kids a fun introduction to the world of musical theatre.

Given that there could be 1,000 children on board during the school holidays, there’s plenty for families to enjoy, from sports activities like archery, football and basketball to a splash pool. Children who are in nappies and not completely toilet-trained are only permitted to use the children’s water play area Splash Valley (on Deck 18) as well as the Panorama Pool.

Kids Clubs on Arvia Cruise Ship

P&O Cruises is renowned for its superb children’s clubs and Arvia doesn’t disappoint. The Reef, the main kids’ club, is divided into rooms for different age groups and occupies a large part of Deck 17. There are also action-packed outdoor spaces including a climbing wall, football court and splash zone to keep the little ones cool on a hot day. Teens have their own funky room, Scene, hidden away on Deck 6. All clubs stay open when the ship is in port, but parents cannot disembark and leave their children on board.

Babies and Toddlers on Arvia Cruise Ship

Night Nursery (6 months to 4yrs): Open from 6pm to 2am, the peaceful, supervised night nursery is free of charge and a much-loved solution for parents who want to enjoy the ship’s nightlife in the knowledge that their children are being supervised and are, ideally, asleep. Parents are given a pager, should they need to be contacted.

Nursery (6 to 24 months): Babies and toddlers need to be accompanied by a parent here. There’s a lovely soft play area and a good assortment of colourful toys.

Splashers (2-4 years): Children can be left here. Slides, a soft play area, toys, books, craft activities and a cool dressing up box are all part of the fun for younger children.

Surfers (5-8 years): kids from 5 to 8 years have their own computer games area, puppet shows and soft play space. Children can also enjoy special themed activity days such as Pirate Day with treasure hunts around the ship and other themed activities.

Tweens and Teens on Arvia Cruise Ship

Scubas (9-12 years): Air hockey, pool, computer games, movies and even DJ mixing decks are on offer in Scubas.

Scene (13-17 years): The teen space is a seriously cool hangout zone on Arvia. It’s well away from the little kids, with a chilled-out vibe and comes with interactive gaming tables, on-trend games and activities. During the school holidays sports coaching and talent shows also run.

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