We embarked on P&O Arcadia on the 11th September 2016 at the Ocean Terminal in Southampton on a transatlantic cruise to New York and the Eastern Seaboard including Canada. It was one more destination ticked off our Bucket List. We had ... Read More
We embarked on P&O Arcadia on the 11th September 2016 at the Ocean Terminal in Southampton on a transatlantic cruise to New York and the Eastern Seaboard including Canada. It was one more destination ticked off our Bucket List. We had stayed at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, which is very nice, the night before where we left our car, and got a taxi to the port. Embarkation in Southampton was efficient and we were on board by 2:00 pm. Our bags appeared outside our cabin on C deck at 3:30 pm.
The inside cabin was clean but wardrobe space was a little inadequate for a 24 night cruise. We set sail across the Atlantic and the weather was not too bad for the time of year and we arrived in New York at 11:16 am but it was not until 4:00 pm that we cleared customs and walked up to Times Square. We returned at 6:00 pm and took the night time tour up the Empire State Building which was brilliant and then we went to the Brooklyn Bridge and finally Times Square which was still very busy at 11:30 pm when we returned to the ship. The second day we went on a 3 sights tour by coach which was disappointing as the traffic was grid locked and it rained. We managed to see Fifth Avenue, Macys and the 9/11 Memorial. The coach pick up points were changed at each point and caused confusion and time delays which meant we were late going to Central Park and half the Coach group was dropped off at the ship before continuing. I tried to talk to the Tours Desk on the ship about the shambles but I was dismissed with a wave of the hand and told to ‘put it in writing’, extremely rude and unhelpful.
The next stop was Newport, Rhode Island where we went ashore by tender and just walked about Newport which is a pretty town. Next was Boston where we did the Freedom Trail Walk and visited the Quincy Market. We thoroughly enjoyed Boston. It is a wonderful mix of new and old areas. Portland was next where we did our own thing. Very quiet but a nice port of call. Next was St Johns, New Brunswick where it absolutely chucked it down so we walked along the front to a shopping centre, had coffee and walked back. Next was Halifax where we berthed in the industrial port and got shuttle buses to where we should have docked at Pier 22. But the shuttle bus would only go to Pier 23 which presented a small problem to those of limited mobility. The Boardwalk at Halifax is a lovely walk and we enjoyed a quiet day strolling along and enjoying the town.
The next port of call was Quebec where again we were berthed in the industrial area and not the Cruise Terminal which meant the walking tours of which we participated took and extra 20 minutes to reach the city. The tour guide confirmed that all her paperwork showed we should have been at the Cruise Terminal but we were usurped by Celebrity Summit. Quebec is a fabulous city and we enjoyed it immensely and spent the second day doing our own thing. The final stop was Sydney, Nova Scotia where we went ashore by tender. Celebrity Summit was berthed at the cruise terminal even though the Harbour schedule showed Arcadia should be berthed. I assume Celebrity paid more money. The return trip by tender was lively as the wind had got up and caused quite a swell. Sydney is very run down and in hindsight it would have been wise to do a tour but once again we did our own thing which wasn’t up to much. Our trip back across the Atlantic was a little rough but we have had worse. Unfortunately we were late arriving in Southampton due to a combination of the weather and a problem (not specified) in the engine room. This meant we did not disembark until noon being one of the last groups to disembark.
The ship is well maintained and it was very clean and well looked after. The waiters, Bar Staff and Cabin Steward worked tirelessly and were friendly and helpful. We had Freedom Dining in the Upper Meridian Restaurant. Service was very slow at times although the food was good and hot. We did not use the specialist restaurants but we did use the Belvedere Buffet Restaurant for breakfast and the occasional lunch and we found it to be very good but with less selection at lunch than we have been used to on previous P&O ships. The Reception Desk was not very helpful and appeared to be under instruction to protect the company from the passenger and offer as little information as possible. This was commented upon by a number of people we talked to on board. The Tours desk is there to sell tours. They are completely disinterested in any feedback and at times were extremely rude. P&O must address this concern as it is driving customers away. The entertainment by the Headliners was as good as usual and the visiting acts were all very good and we very much enjoyed the entertainment.
P&O have changed the way they charge for Wi-Fi access from cost per number of minutes to cost per 24 hours. This ranged between £7.75 for basic access to £24.95 for all the bells and whistles. There was much complaining on board about this change. I have never seen so many Tablets and Smart Phones in use on a cruise before.
This was our first cruise to the Eastern Seaboard of North America and our seventh cruise with P&O. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and would recommend it although every time we travel with P&O we see more evidence of cost cutting. Read Less