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7 P&O Cruises Arcadia Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Norwegian Fjords from Southampton

Cruise Norway 26/11/19 What can I say, been on a good few P&O cruises and enjoyed them all even in bad weather and heavy seas but this one to Norway on Arcadia was bad. The cruise was advertised by Iglu as a 12 nighter with 4 ... Read More
Cruise Norway 26/11/19 What can I say, been on a good few P&O cruises and enjoyed them all even in bad weather and heavy seas but this one to Norway on Arcadia was bad. The cruise was advertised by Iglu as a 12 nighter with 4 stops two of those being overnight, good selling point, to us overnight means overnight so less time at sea but Iglu's overnight meant leaving port at 1 or 2 am so more time at sea not less. Itinerary clearly stated six sea days but with bad weather and not docking at Stavenger because of that weather, we spent 9 days at sea, no joke and not pleasant. Another selling point of this cruise was sailing down Romsdalsfjord where we hoped to take photographs, what they didn't say was we would be going through the fjord in pitch dark at night, (pointless). The weather was bad most of the trip, can't be helped no fault of P&O's, and most of the trip the Arcadia moaned, groaned and creaked day and night the noises she made were very unnerving and scary at times as I said above we've cruised in bad weather before but never had feeling of dread as on this ship the captains broadcasts were no help and never inspired confidence, prophet of doom, you know things are bad when people tell you they are afraidfor their lives indeed so afraid some abandoned Arcadia at Tromso to fly home at their own expense and many first time cruisers on board said they would never cruise again, we held our nerve and stuck it out. On a lesser note but very concerning the food was almost as rough as the weather and restaurant layout illogical. First day there I could find no individual yogurt pots instead P&O have gone down the money saving route and are now using large open tubs of different flavoured yogurt which you scoop from yourself, fine, until I saw a woman dipping her fingerin each tub of yogurt and tasting each in turn, disgusting, needless to say no yogurt for us on that trip no wonder you read of norovirus problems on Arcadia. I enjoy a sachet of brown sauce with breakfast, no more sachets, just bottles of HPwith crusty brown tops, lots of curry on board but if you prefer french fry's instead of rice with it you must queue again on the other side of restaurant while your main course go's cold, no real butter or cream served to go with a scone the list go,s on. As said, I have enjoyed P&O on past cruises and hope to do so in future but I doubt we'll go on this ship again the way the itinerary differed from that advertised I would class Arcadia a tramp steamer not a passenger liner, infactI would have to be press-ganged to board her again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
O.K. so if you opt for a cruise to Northern Norway at the end of November you've got to expect that the weather might be problematic and it was! This was not a great cruise experience and unfortunately this was not entirely due to ... Read More
O.K. so if you opt for a cruise to Northern Norway at the end of November you've got to expect that the weather might be problematic and it was! This was not a great cruise experience and unfortunately this was not entirely due to the various storms and gales that we sailed through. To warn future searchers for the Northern Lights you should research the itinerary carefully. Technically we were in Narvik and Tromso for 2 days each but we left in the very early hours of the 2nd day in each place so less than 20hrs in each case would be the truth.Also luck was not with us. On safety grounds the captain took us to Narvik first ( we were scheduled to visit Tromso).  Narvik was cold,windy and very snowy and there were problems with Shuttle buses into town. It was walkable, in the right gear, but a 15 minute wait to get back on board in pretty poor conditions with no shelter I could have done without. The weather in Tromso, when we did arrive, meant that there was very little chance of seeing the Northern Lights. We had a chat with some local guides and they told us that all trips that evening had been cancelled as there was no chance of a sighting but to add insult to injury they said that on the day that we had originally been scheduled to be there, there had been a fine display. Boo! Also they were busy refunding the ship's passengers who had booked private tours. P&O clearly had better local knowledge, or worse ethics, than the locals as their Northern lights tours at nearly £100 a go, went ahead. I understand that they were unsuccessful. Due to the bad weather going back (as opposed to the bad weather going!) we missed Stavanger entirely, which resulted in 4 sea days before Southampton. We were o.k. as regards sea sickness and coped well with the movement of the ship. Also it didn't seem to affect our appetites but the decks and indoor swimming pool were all closed for most of the time and I must confess to a touch of 'cabin fever'. The ship creaked and groaned, various buckets appeared to catch the drips and there was a spectacular eruption in the floor of the Belvedere restaurant. The ship did show considerable signs of wear and tear. Our first cabin's balcony partition had to be wedged closed with a wooden peg and the emergency exit in the Meridian flew open spontaneously several times at Dinner. Coffee machines malfunctioned and various toilets were out of order. The ship was noisy as you would expect in stormy weather and some nights sleep was very difficult.So all this is pretty negative, but there are some positives. We were very impressed by most of the crew. Our cabin steward was superb, most of the waiters at dinner were friendly, efficient and helpful and the staff at reception were cheerful and effective. It was deemed necessary for us to move cabins and the move was well organised by various members of the crew. A problem in the dining room was dealt with in a most sensitive and professional manner. The captain kept us well informed as regards the weather and the itinerary changes but there were times when I felt that I was listening to Eeyore as regards his less than optimistic utterances. "We are all in this together' springs to mind.The food varied from the good to the excellent,the entertainment in the evenings was interesting, in a good way, although one Headliners show fell victim to the weather at the last minute. The lectures by John Maclean were most interesting.So there were some pluses.  However, back in Southampton the failure of the Airbridge caused disembarkation chaos.Sometimes you can't catch a break!  Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We hadn't sailed with P&O before and the dates fitted in with our plans as we live way up N in Aberdeenshire. We drove down the day before & stayed O/N at a Holiday Inn Express which offered 15 days free parking plus taxi ... Read More
We hadn't sailed with P&O before and the dates fitted in with our plans as we live way up N in Aberdeenshire. We drove down the day before & stayed O/N at a Holiday Inn Express which offered 15 days free parking plus taxi to/from the port. Excellent package. Embarkation was very efficient and we boarded very quickly, with the luggage arriving in reasonable time. We booked early May and one of the cabins offered was at the stern, but it had a big balcony and we thought [rightly as it turned out] that we'd have brilliant views of the Fjords. The cabin was spacious with plenty of clothes storage, seating space with a settee and a good sized bathroom. Our steward, Umesh, was efficient, friendly and brought ice for our drinks each evening, so deserved his good tip! The only thing I missed was a towelling robe and slippers, as I would have expected those in a de-luxe cabin. The ship was just big enough for us, although I was grateful for the small map which I clutched for days. The cabin was smart and very clean, but the balcony area was quite rusty in areas and both that and the balcony rail needed painting. Although the balcony was huge, there was an overhang so we didn't get as much sunshine as the deck below. But then they had us gazing down on them as they sunbathed..... Dining standards were very varied and although we tried Freedom Dining on the first night, after a projected hour's wait till 9pm, we reverted to our 2nd sitting booking and were with a great group on our table for six in the window. Two very good waiters looked after us very well during the whole voyage. The food varied from day to day and a few times we had to send food back to the kitchen, including the infamous steaks. My worst choice was lamb, which turned out to be three slices of fat smothered in gravy and should never have left the kitchen The replacement slices were beautiful and it does pay to complain as the head waiter came over personally to apologise. We did eat twice in the Sindhu restaurant and really enjoyed the food in there, although some of it didn't strike us as particularly Indian or Eastern. The staff went to particular trouble for me as I'm allergic to chilli and I never suffered once! Surroundings were lovely and it was pleasant to enjoy a drink in the quiet East bar before strolling next door to eat. We always breakfasted in the Belvedere as there was a good choice of cereals and fresh fruit and we did indulge in the occasional bacon butty. Lunch was usually there too as we prefer salads and there was a wide selection to choose from. If we did have a hot meal, we were generally disappointed as the food was rarely hot and not brilliant. Their curry night was excellent though! Drinks were reasonably priced, especially the wines at the evening meal and there was a comprehensive choice of world wines. We enjoyed most of the entertainment, especially the Headliners with their superb, enthusiastic, high standard, special musical evenings. Definitely West End quality. The comedian was extremely funny and had an appreciative audience. Enjoyed the historian too as her lectures on the Vikings were very interesting with amusing observations which added to the content. Joined in the daily quizzes, though not all the answers were accurate as for just one example, butterflies do NOT eat through their feet! We only took one shore excursion as we love to stroll off the ship in our own time and explore locally. All the small ports seemed to have similar souvenirs and high prices, but Trondheim and Bergen were well worth exploring on one's own.The trip we chose was the Grieg visit, which was well hyped as a special event with a piano recital. Lovely trip round Bergen to begin with, followed by the tour of Grieg's house and museum with the recital as the icing on the cake in a beautiful concert hall. The pianist was talented and we'd just begun to enjoy this treat when it was over after less than half an hour. So disappointing and we did feel rather short changed. Overall we enjoyed our first P&O trip and as we always try and see the good in everything, any little gripes like the costly Wifi and lack of signals to catch up with the home news, [no Brexit for 12 days....bliss!] were easily put to one side. But the great joy was the Fjords themselves in the sunshine from our private little paradise with panoramic views and the sensation of being all alone in this wilderness with the snow topped mountains and towering waterfalls. Loved the experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Our 15th cruise with P&O and our first on Arcadia, which means that we have now been on all ships in the P&O fleet at least once, so can make direct comparisons between them all. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see the Fjords ... Read More
Our 15th cruise with P&O and our first on Arcadia, which means that we have now been on all ships in the P&O fleet at least once, so can make direct comparisons between them all. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see the Fjords to Flaam and Olden, as our previous attempt (on Britannia) failed as P&O cancelled both ports a few months before (this has happened at least 6 times that I know of with Britannia). The itinerary certainly didn't disappoint. Both places were lovely and the cruises down the very long fjords were spectacular, especially as we had an aft corner wrap suite, which enabled us to enjoy some evening meals on the huge balcony whilst soaking in the views. Stavanger was pleasant (but we have been twice before) and Haugesund was interesting but like a ghost town - even though we were there Friday lunchtime! Although we very much liked our suite and we particularly enjoyed the Ocean Grill (Marco Pierre White restaurant), we found the main dining room (Meridian) to be the first poor one that we have experienced with P&O. The food was fine, but the layout is very poor. Tables for four were too small and a large proportion were alongside the main thoroughfare around the restaurant, so were not relaxing at all. We are used to having to take a pager for evening meals at peak times (Freedom dining) but have never had to stand around waiting for a table to become available at lunchtime before - yet we had to do this several times. I was told by a staff member that the waiters don't like this particular restaurant either and, frankly, you could tell. We are great fans of the main dining rooms elsewhere in the fleet (especially Aurora, which is superb) but not this one. P&O had just introduced new lunchtime menus on this ship, which are downright confusing. Rather than just list starters, main courses and desserts, you now have all sorts of random headings and now don't know whether what you have ordered is a starter or main course size - or whether it's hot or cold! This was catching a lot of people out, not just us. Given how poor the main dining room was, we really missed not having a Glasshouse (which we enjoy for a late lunch after a morning ashore, or when the main dining room menu doesn't appeal) or a Beach House (for when you are after something more casual). We avoid the buffet like the plague, but our adult daughters used it and said that the food areas were too small and had limited choice. We very much enjoyed the ability for suite passengers to have breakfast in Sindhu and the staff there were fantastic. It also saved us 7 further visits to the poor main dining room. We had one evening meal there and, again, the table was too small for four (tables for two were the same size). Even though curry is my absolute favourite food, I do not like Sindhu's take on it (same on all the other ships) but the three ladies all loved it (as they always do), so do not be deterred. The Headliners troupe on this cruise were all very good (that's not always the case) but none of the other entertainment appealed and, as has become the norm, daytime entertainment was dire. Embarkation was a little delayed due to a problem with the air bridge at the QE2 terminal. This still hadn't been fixed by our return, so we disembarked at City Cruise Terminal so, as well as now having travelled on all P&O ships, we have now used all Southampton cruise terminals! So, overall, it was the itinerary and the fact that we were very relieved to have booked a suite that made the cruise acceptable, but we wouldn't rush to return to Arcadia as it is now our least favourite P&O ship. By contrast, Aurora is our favourite, although the absence of an Epicurean restaurant (the one on Britannia is our favourite restauarant at sea) means that no ship is perfect. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I was not sure what to expect as a first time cruiser but I was pleasantly surprised with it. I was on the cruise with my husband and his brother (who had an inside cabin). Our cabin with a balcony was clean and the steward, Ritesh, was ... Read More
I was not sure what to expect as a first time cruiser but I was pleasantly surprised with it. I was on the cruise with my husband and his brother (who had an inside cabin). Our cabin with a balcony was clean and the steward, Ritesh, was fantastic, He was polite, courteous, friendly, helpful and cheerful. Nothing was too much trouble. We had our evening meals in the lower Meridian restaurant and the 2 waiters (Kevin and Richard) who looked after us made us feel as if we were the only passengers that they were looking after. I found the food to be very good but my husband (who is a very fussy eater) was sometimes disappointed with what he had chosen. But the waiters tried to rectify the situation. The entertainment in the palladium theatre was fantastic. It was lovely to listen to a comedian without being bombarded with foul language. We did 2 trips from the ship and the one from Olden was amazing but the trip from Flaam was not so good and I did put in a written complaint to the shore excursion team. We are hoping to do another trip on the Arcadia next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise as we wanted to return to Norway, see the Art Deco town of Alesund & try Arcadia. The trip was excellent. There were no queues for embarkation when we arrived (2.20) and were on the ship within 10 minutes. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted to return to Norway, see the Art Deco town of Alesund & try Arcadia. The trip was excellent. There were no queues for embarkation when we arrived (2.20) and were on the ship within 10 minutes. The ship has recently been re-furbished and has an elegant feel. The three-tired theatre is particularly impressive and there are plenty of places to sit, drink and relax . Like Aurora, Arcadia has a skydome - so plenty of swimming opportunities if you don't want to use the main outside pool. The theatre company's shows were very good and we particularly liked the classical guitarist. Jacqui Scoot - a singer- had a good choice of programme - but we only went once, as the amplification was so loud it spoilt her excellent voice.Again the 2 female violinist amplification was too much and I wondered if they could play anything other than fast, loud music? However I'm sure that others will have enjoyed them.-Commentating on entertainment is probably a mine-field, as it is so much a persons individual preferences. We chose freedom dining (having done both previously) However this time it didn't seem to work as smoothly. On a couple of occasions there was a 15 minute queue before another 15 minute wait for a table ( & that wasn't waiting for a table for 2 - of which there are many more now) Staff were most apologetic and once in, the choice of menu was good, staff pleasant & attentive (they always seem to know when water/wine glasses are ready to be re-filed), we were neer rushed and vegetables were always hot - rather than luke warm (which we had on Queen Mary 2) We also tried Ocean Grill and Sindhu (2 speciality restaurants) - worth paying the cover charge. Delicious food, in lovely surroundings. As we had been on a previous cruise to Norway, we often went off the ship, exploring & doing our own thing. However would recommend the following:-(1) The Rauma Railway from Andalnes. This trip is 3 hours & goes one way on the train & the other by coach, so giving you the opportunity to stop and take photos of the magnificent scenery. We preferred this to the Flam railway. (2)The Flor & Fjaere garden (from Stavanger) A gardener's delight and you do need to go on an organised trip here if your departure time is before 6pm. See trip advisor for my detailed write up of all the ports visited. I think the only way to see the fjords really is by cruising and as we were ahead of our timing near Hellyst, the captain took us on an extra journey in the Geiranger fjord and turned the ship completely round so that passengers did not have to charge from one side of the ship to the other for photos of the various waterfalls. This was a treat, with clear blue skies, temperatures of 23 degrees and stricking scenery. Other very scenic trips include going to Mountt Dalsnibba; taking the venicular or cable car in Bergen and the Birksdal Glacier. Disembarkation was efficent & timings were kept to. Altogether and excellent holiday & we might even go again to Norway some time. Now looking forward to part of a world cruise segment next February on Aurora. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first P&O Cruise and the last!! We did not pre-book any excursions prior to the cruise. When we boarded the ship we saw the woman on the Excursion Desk. She said most of the excursions were full. We asked if they were ... Read More
This was our first P&O Cruise and the last!! We did not pre-book any excursions prior to the cruise. When we boarded the ship we saw the woman on the Excursion Desk. She said most of the excursions were full. We asked if they were putting on more slots and she said they probably would be. Two days later, we ended up only booking one excursion. Obviously we had to take some of the blame but as I had cruised with Thomsons twice, there had never been a problem with them putting extra coaches on. So I assumed that P&O would be no different. The woman on the desk was really unhelpful and unfriendly. The other problem we encountered was that the toilets outside the Meridien restaurant on at least 4 nights out of 7 had no toilet paper at all in them. On reporting it to Reception, again not very helpful or approachable. We also experienced a problem with our toilet in the cabin and reported it 3 days before we disembarked. The day of disembarkation the bathroom was flooded at 5am and somebody came to look at it together with the cabin steward. We were 'accused' of putting foreign objects down the toilet, which we did not and then were told 'it's probably from the upper deck'. No apology. Also the cabin steward looking after our cabin (G51) was so rude, he walked away whilst I was trying to have a conversation with him. This is no way to treat paying passengers! Also, we had to leave our cabins by 8am (why so early??) but the thing that really has upset us that the cabin steward had already made up the bed and cleaned the bathroom with new toiletries and tea/coffee etc at 7.20am when we returned from breakfast. The new sheets had also been put into our room the night before for the next guests. Obviously they can't wait to get rid of us. I would never recommend P&O and have made a formal complaint re the cabin steward. I am now going back to Thomsosn where we had wonderful tours with exceptionally good crew. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
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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