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.
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