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23 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean P&O Cruises Arcadia Cruise Reviews

We picked this cruise because it left from Southampton (no flying) and visited countries we had not seen before at the right time of year. The drive to Southampton was smooth and we arrived at 12.15, with a couple of hours to spare, ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it left from Southampton (no flying) and visited countries we had not seen before at the right time of year. The drive to Southampton was smooth and we arrived at 12.15, with a couple of hours to spare, the port parking were very organised and efficient. We expected to sit in the departure lounge but were processed straight away and on the ship in the buffet by 12.30, cabins were ready by 12.45. Our cabin was a standard inside, C deck forward, adequate but clean and tidy, very quiet at night and a fantastic cabin steward. Arcadia is an adult only ship, with few people on board under retirement age and a lot with poor mobility. We had fixed dining at 18.30, the menus were varied and always well cooked, we used the buffet on black tie nights because we didn't dress up for them (the majority of people dressed up for black tie, some of them going a bit over the top), the buffet food was hit and miss, limited in selection occasionally. Breakfast was a bit "smash and grab" in the buffet so we went to the MDR if we were up early enough. The poolside grill served lovely fish and chips in the afternoons too. The ship was clean and smart, there were always crew to be seen cleaning handrails and surfaces down or painting parts of the ship. There were a couple of buckets about catching water drips, certainly around the retractable roof of the pool. The swimming pools were small but we enjoyed using them in the hot weather, the jacuzzi 's were rather weak but heated. On one day we bought tickets for the hydropool and steam rooms, this was fantastic, hot and powerful, and we were the only ones using them. There were several musicians to choose from to listen to during the day, some better than others, we ended up watching a guitarist/singer most evenings because we found the main headliners show much too loud to enjoy, they need to sort their sound system out. We did not attend any of the daytime entertainment, it was aimed more at the elderly guests than ourselves, other than quizzes there was bingo, ballroom dance lessons, knit and natter, painting, and talks on the Queens household. The crew are all friendly and welcoming, smiling and will try to assist with anything you ask. The excursions booked varied, Easy Marseilles and Port trip wasn't easy and only spent 20 minutes in the port, but the Lisbon amphibious duck tour was fabulous with an excellent tour guide. We also enjoyed the catamaran trip and swim in Palma, not quite what we expected but a good day none the less, I do think there should have been someone checking the safety of swimmers, it seemed a bit slap dash with no counting of passengers at any time but the day was relaxed, I swam with fish, the bbq was ok and the sun shone. Gibraltar we used a taxi tour from the dock, this was great too, we saw the apes, St Michaels cave and the siege tunnels and went to lookout points. Classical Rome and Pompeii tours from the ship were both organised and well run, crowds of people at both sites but we saw what we went for. Cartagena we wandered around ourselves, the museum and Roman amphitheater were marvelous. We self disembarked with ease and were driving out of the port by 07.20, all very organised. All in all a good cruise, it is definitely the way to travel, I would go again but would probably not go with P&O, I would research the cruise line next time and go on a ship which is more relaxed about dress codes and has a younger age group. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
most things pretty good without a wow factor. Dining in main restaurant was a very pleasant experience with good food and great service. The evening buffet sadly was not so good very limited choice and apathetic service We ... Read More
most things pretty good without a wow factor. Dining in main restaurant was a very pleasant experience with good food and great service. The evening buffet sadly was not so good very limited choice and apathetic service We were allocated eight thirty dining which was far to late for us, we tried to change this but request was refused. Entertainment was ok, very good guest speaker relating her experiences as a senior police officer. Dancing ballroom, sequence, and line dancing all available. Shows and guest artists all very good. Arcadia attracts a mainly elderly crowd so may not be the ideal choice for younger people Ship clean and well maintained with cabin stewards excellent as always. Ports of call all interesting, with Cartagena and Valencia great places to wander explore plazas and ancient buildings A must visit is to see the futuristic development in Valencia wonderful buildings in a great setting . Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I have just returned from this cruise as a solo traveller and think some people writing reviews must be talking about a different ship!! ARRIVAL and embarking was fast, painless and friendly (drove to Southampton. Porters took luggage ... Read More
I have just returned from this cruise as a solo traveller and think some people writing reviews must be talking about a different ship!! ARRIVAL and embarking was fast, painless and friendly (drove to Southampton. Porters took luggage and CPS parked my car. Luggage at cabin before I was!!) DINING: chose club dining, largest table (8). Never a que. food was excellent. Waiters fast, polite, sense of humour. Lovely to see same people on table, share the days events and learn about each other over the twelve days. All singles, varying ages, lovely group of people! Buffet breakfast and lunch - never had to que (?? At least six serving stations). Lots of choice of hot lunches or varied salads, and full English breakfast and continental. Amazing staff, tables kept clean. Yes if you were looking to sit on your own it might be hard to find a table BUT you gain much more if you brave it and sit with others - I met so many people who loved to chat - people are friendly if you give them a chance! STAFF - they were ALL so helpful, friendly, courteous and nothing was too much trouble. Only on two days was there an unpleasant smell on lower decks for a couple of hours - it wasn't the end of the world!! I've smelled worse in supermarkets loos! The maintenance crew were also excellent. It was an adult only cruise. At 56 I was one of the youngest but I expected that. There was a wealth of experience and stories shared over a meal or a coffee - I loved it! EXCURSIONS - probably best to book before boarding as everybody else seemed to do so a lot of popular trips were full. Make sure you are aware of walking/standing times if you have problems. Gibraltar secrets of the rock tour - amazing BUT more than 45 mins walking. Some serious up and down gradients and stairs in and out of the caves. ENTERTAINMENT: lots to do during the day. Headliner's evening shows got better as the cruise continued. Other entertainers were excellent too. Plus lots of other things going on around the ship. DISEMBARKING: early yes, but as ship heading off to Caribbean at 5:30 not unexpected. Very organised (would have been even easier if some passengers listened to instructions and waited .. !! Was like being back in nursery school!!) I must have been on a different ship/cruise to the moaners because I wish I could have stayed onboard for the Caribbean cruise leaving later on. Oh! no sign of cabin cough and the Bay of Biscay apparently behaved itself Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
My husband and I chose this cruise because as a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer I cannot cope with the intense heat during the Summer. Having sailed with P&O previously we knew that they catered well for the disabled. I was not ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because as a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer I cannot cope with the intense heat during the Summer. Having sailed with P&O previously we knew that they catered well for the disabled. I was not disappointed, our accessible stateroom was both functional and attractive. The ensuite, was a wet room with plenty of handrails. I asked our cabin Stuart if he could find me a perching stool that I could use when at the wash up. This he acquired in a very short time. The balcony was also easily accessible to me on my mobility scooter. We had decided to take the Freedom Dinning option because we felt that this gave us more freedom when to eat. We also liked the fact that we sat with different people every evening. In 17 nights we only sat with the same people twice and that was on the same evening. Our preferd table size was 6, because it is easier to hold a conversation which includes all. Although we did sometimes sit on a table for 8 which tended to slip into 2 conversations of 4's. The food and menu selection was as usual excellent. The diet must begin now We've returned home! The entertainment during the week was very good consisting of The Headliners, who put on 4 different shows. The comedian Tom O'Connor who was very entertaining. A superb guitarist called Byron Johnston and a group called the Beatles Experience, who were excellent. These are only some of the artists that were on the cruise. We chose this cruise because of the different ports of call. Cadiz, Cagliari, Salerno, Messina ( Where we took a Shore excursion to Taormina which was beautiful.), La Spezia (Where we went on an excursion to see Pisa. The weather forecast on this day was thunder storms. P&O announced on board that passengers who wished not to go because of the bad weather would be reimbursed. We decided to brave the weather and although we got soaked we are glad they we took the opportunity to see The Leaning Tower of Pisa.) Elba, Toulon, Barcelona and Ceuta. Although we only went on 2 of P&O's shore excursions we did manage to see the different places using the hop on hop off buses which had ramps that made them accessibly for me and my scooter. We enjoyed all the ports of call except 1 which was Salerno. This was in our opinion not worthy of a P&O stop. It should have been Naples but we were told of the exchange a few months past. We both enjoy sailing on the Arcadia because we like her size and the fact that it's an adult only ship. The service we received was as usual excellent. The cruise was most enjoyable and could only have been improved by dryer weather.!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Fantastic ship. First time cruising for us, was a bit worried that it would be boring as we had our two boys aged 17 and 12 with us but actually it was brilliant. Embarkation was the quickest process ever, much better than going to the ... Read More
Fantastic ship. First time cruising for us, was a bit worried that it would be boring as we had our two boys aged 17 and 12 with us but actually it was brilliant. Embarkation was the quickest process ever, much better than going to the airport and dealing with all what goes on there. Basically we arrived at Southampton, followed the guys directing us to our spot, they took our suitcases, next time we saw them was when we arrived on the ship. Fantastic. So quick and no pressure all. When I first encountered the long skinny corridors of the ship I was unaware of how closed in I would feel, but that lasted all of about 5 minutes and then I just got used it. Our cabin was an inside cabin, much more spacious than I'd imagined and furnished in a clean and basic way, everything I needed for my 6 day stay. More than adequate. Our boys room was 2 doors down so perfect too. Can't really comment on the Kids Clubs as we didn't use them, although they seemed pretty busy with happy kids and parents picking up, our kids weren't interested in doing anything other than playing football, once they'd seen the pitch up above the 15th floor, basically they spent the whole holiday rooted to that place. Never would I have imagined they would love this cruise as much, considering they moan about everywhere we go on holiday, spoilt brats! (well, the teen does anyway). The ambience on the ship was nice and laid back, which I also hadn't expected, for some reason I thought it would all be a bit po-faced. Nothing further from the truth. The food was absolutely fantastic in The nice restaurants, a real dining experience, from the quality of the service from the sheer broad range of recipes. Even my children enjoyed wearing shirts and ties and getting dressed up for what was a lovely family occasion each evening, 5 or 6 courses, with just the right amount on your plate, not full up to the brim but just the perfect amount, beautifully thought out and presented dishes, everything I tasted was stunning. The waiters were cheerful and hospitable and couldn't have been more helpful. Personally, the food was one of the best things about the ship for me, although the buffet restaurants were good for the kids on a couple of nights (when they wanted to rush through dinner quickly), although adequate, I much preferred the longer sit down dining experience of the silver service restaurants. The entertainment covered every aspect, you could never be bored on that ship. From good old Tom O'Connor, (for those of you under 40, a stand up comic/tv presenter from back in the 70/80s) who put on a clean fun hour with a few chuckles, although clearly not to everyone's taste, some people in their forties (my age) were sat there looking like their face had been slapped, I only wish they'd have left the show and done us all a favour as I felt bad for Tom, although I expect he didn't really see too far into the audience after the front row. Bless him, he did well for a man of his age to stand there and recall all those gags & stories. Good lighthearted evening was had by my husband and I anyway! So much entertainment, think we saw The Beatles and Queen cover bands, which were ok, then there was the casino, which we didn't go any gambling in but looked fun if you wanted to partake. From sewing to ballroom dancing to wine clubs, there was a club to suit every person's fancy, even if you didn't want to do any of it you could just relax on the ship's sundeck or pool area and take it easy. We didn't go into the spa, even though we were given the hard sell, 'as you always are' but it worked out very expensive, which you kind of know anyway so we gave that a miss as it wasn't high on our priority list. The shore days were good, easy instructions were given to manoeuvre to and from the port, we enjoyed going to Bilbao and experiencing all the art installations at The Guggenheim , although our children were bored, uncultured urchins that they are, but easily remedied by sitting in the 'very' expensive cafe and eating while they waited for us! We visited Guernsey, La Rocha and Bilbao on port days which were all pleasant ways to spend a few hours mooching about with helpful instructions on what to do and how to get back without too much effort. Disembarkation was just as quick as embarkation. Good trip, thoroughtly enjoyed by all and would probably go again, although not to the same places and with a gap of a couple of years, as wouldn't want to spoil the memories. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We have travelled with P&O before and indeed in 2012 enjoyed a cruise on Arcadia. How things have changed on the Arcadia. The first negative was the dining arrangements, after one night of a table for 6 in the stern, we asked to be ... Read More
We have travelled with P&O before and indeed in 2012 enjoyed a cruise on Arcadia. How things have changed on the Arcadia. The first negative was the dining arrangements, after one night of a table for 6 in the stern, we asked to be moved because it was very difficult to hear anyone speak above the vibration noise. We were moved to another table and sat with four friendly people and in that respect dinner was a highlight. However, the food left a lot to be desired. The plated up meals were an insult and although I am not a big eater, one of the stewards' suggested I might like some chips to add to the parsimonious helpings. The staff worked very hard and unlike the suggestion that plating meals would free the staff up to talk to passengers, the opposite was true. In respect of entertainment it seemed geared to those passengers in their 80s, 1940s show tunes from singers of limited ability. The acts that came on for a few days were by contrast good. On one occasion we had recourse to use the medical service and we found the staff to be uncaring and the instructions given contradictory. It did feel on occasions to be like a care home and the ship broke its own stated policies in respect of allowing people with limited mobility to board the tenders to go ashore. Certainly,it would have been difficult to leave in an emergency as the hatches were blocked with mobility scooters. The future cruises staff told us that to avoid the preponderance of mobility scooters we should go on a fly cruise. Gratuities were an issue. It was not clear who got what when they were added to the bill. We had two explanations from staff and also heard a senior officer in the hotel department, saying it was to help the Asian crew demonstrate their income when applying for a mortgage in their own country! We like many others gave cabin and dining room staff a gratuity to reflect their efforts. Like ourselves, other passengers noticed the poor morale of the crew. We were not alone in experiencing rudeness. In response to comments on the end of cruise critique, we received a letter. What characterised it was to blame another department on the ship. Perhaps the lack of a purser overseeing the passenger experience by all departments could be blamed. In summary P&O have dumbed down, the cruise was not good value and only good dining companions and some of the ports saved the day. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Overall an enjoyable cruise on a beautiful ship. The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. One of the highlights of the holiday was the food in the Meridian restaurant, which we found to be excellent, as mentioned ... Read More
Overall an enjoyable cruise on a beautiful ship. The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. One of the highlights of the holiday was the food in the Meridian restaurant, which we found to be excellent, as mentioned by other reviewers the service was slow on some nights, but that was not a problem to us, as we enjoyed a leisurely meal with good wine, company and good service. The public areas of the ship were all very impressive and well maintained with a good choice of bars with musicians, restaurants and sitting areas, Our cabin decoration, was a bit jaded, especially the bathroom, but was spotlessly clean, very comfortable and our cabin steward was excellent. We enjoyed the Ports we visited and took P&O excursions in all of them but we did not have enough time in most of the destinations. It may be helpful to include travelling time and length of time which will be spent in Port in the description of the excursions. The entertainment programme was disappointing. We would have liked a wider variety of lectures or perhaps some art related classes and a more varied programme of music. The 'port talks' were little more than a sales pitch to sell the excursions. There were endless quizzes, but we did enjoy the nightly 'Syndicate' quiz in The Crow's Nest and the Headliners dancers were excellent. We also enjoyed the dance classes with Paul and Carole Anne. The service across the whole ship was excellent, especially the waiters who were very professional, but so serious. There was no friendly welcome or chat (apart from the bar staff in The Crows Nest), We felt that the advertising campaign of 'having a little fun' was not evident on the Arcadia, no-one appeared to be having much fun, there was also no 'wow' factor. In our (admittedly limited) experience of cruises there has always been surprises ie. speciality midnight buffets with ice or fruit carving, chef's parade accompanied by music and flaming baked alaskas etc. Nothing like this happened on this cruise - or if it did we missed it! However, we did have a lovely holiday, we appreciated the Captain's sense of humour in his daily bulletins and will probably have another cruising holiday - but possibly not with P&O. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Arcadia J416 Western Mediterranean Another lovely cruise! Weather was much better than we expected for mid-September. Temperatures were mostly in the 30’sC. We drove down on the day of the cruise and traffic was fine, the new roadworks ... Read More
Arcadia J416 Western Mediterranean Another lovely cruise! Weather was much better than we expected for mid-September. Temperatures were mostly in the 30’sC. We drove down on the day of the cruise and traffic was fine, the new roadworks seem to be progressing nicely and as long as you follow the signs and not the satnav it was fine. We arrived at Ocean Terminal just before noon and the car was picked up by CPS. We were quickly checked in as we had priority due to our cabin being a mini suite. Once on-board we were directed to the Meridian restaurant for a lovely lunch. Starting with a glass of bubbly is a lovely way to start a cruise. Our cabin B87 was the same one as on our last cruise a few weeks ago and the room was laid out exactly as we had asked, impressive! It is a lovely spacious cabin with lots of wardrobes and drawers. The balcony is lovely, a large table, a small table, 2 upright chairs and 2 recliners with foot stools and still space to walk about. The bathroom is large, 2 sinks, a separate shower and a Jacuzzi bath this shower over it. We had Macqueen as our cabin steward for the first 3 days and he was so lovely, then Celeste took over our care and did a good job too. The extra touches are so nice in a mini suite, the flowers, chocolates and champagne, the daily canapés and the never ending bowl of fruit. The Bay of Biscay in both directions was as calm as a mill pond!! I do miss the band on the quayside as we sailed away from Southampton, it’s a pity that has stopped. But the other sailaways were lovely by the pool led by the Entertainments team. Cruise director Jon Bartram was excellent throughout the cruise. In particular the Great British Sailaway with was on the afternoon immediately after the Scottish vote so it was quite emotionally charged and had excellent choice of music. The weather joined in too… thunder and lightning with style!! We need to use an adapted shuttle as mum uses a rollator and needs to roll onto the vehicle not use the steps and this was the first cruise we have done where this was availatble at nearly every port. Consequently we got off the ship everywhere except Gibraltar. All the staff on these shuttles were incredibly helpful and this gave mum lots of confidence to be a bit more adventurous than we normally are. The food was excellent; we were on Table 60 in Lower Meridian second sitting. Superb waiters and Robert the Head waiter who saw to Mum’s allergy each evening was so helpful and considerate of her needs. Our table companions-table of 8- were a delight and we were often rushing along the ship to get to the theatre before the show started – we were talking so much we had to miss coffee some evenings!! The entertainment was very good, great Headliners troupe and good ‘stars’. We loved Tom O’Conner, Roger Wright and Jimmy Lowe – Elton John tribute, we thought he was the real deal!! All in all it was another excellent cruise and we are looking forward to next year’s already. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our 4th cruise with P and O and will be our last. In general the ship is very tired and a little tatty around the edges. CABINS Bed linen very worn and pillows had musty smell. Carpet not clean in corners. Corners of skirting ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with P and O and will be our last. In general the ship is very tired and a little tatty around the edges. CABINS Bed linen very worn and pillows had musty smell. Carpet not clean in corners. Corners of skirting falling off. Burn in rather dirty settee. Mirror in bathroom needs replacing as silver coming off. Light over bed falling apart. Balcony not very clean and several nights we had the dividing screens between balconies rattling badly. Tried to wedge myself. Avoid cabin E038. PUBLIC AREAS Carpets in some areas very worn and possible trip hazard to elderly. Stairways could be cleaner with lots of fluff and dust in corners. DINING Freedom dining OK but a bit chaotic and very slow. On several evenings it took over 2 hours to serve evening meal. Many people complaining and consequently missing shows. Food-well have eaten better, quality again declining. Self service food on deck 9 could only be described as poor and more like canteen food. Always chaos here with nowhere to sit. Avoid!! CREW Mostly Asian but could not fault. Best part of cruise. ENTERTAINMENT Only fair. Ships entertainment crew good with Headliners excellent. Tom O'Conner first rate. Elton John tribute act fair but was not playing piano! Headliners Killer Queen was first class. OVERALL Will not cruise with this company again. Seem to have their hand in your pocket at every opportunity.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
After taking a while to persuade my husband to give cruising a try a doubt we will do any other type of holiday! From start to finish it was a wonderful, relaxing holiday.We had read reviews on here and were a little worried about Arcadia ... Read More
After taking a while to persuade my husband to give cruising a try a doubt we will do any other type of holiday! From start to finish it was a wonderful, relaxing holiday.We had read reviews on here and were a little worried about Arcadia from some of the reviews but all concerns quickly left us. Arcadia is a beautiful ship, spotlessly clean with wonderful, friendly staff. I would have absolutely no problem either cruising on her again or recommending her to others. Our cabin was lovely and spacious and the air con was a Godsend in the Med!There are a few issues I will mentions but all very minor. The Belvidere buffet restaurant is too small for the amount of passengers and some times it was a bit of a rugby scrum. We chose to have breakfast in our cabin everyday which sorted that and at lunch time mainly we ate at the Neptune grill. But when we did brave it in there the food was lovely!The main client group was elderly and some people really can moan but for every moaning person there were a good amount of lovely people.The trips were not disabled friendly and again considering most passengers were elderly and a large amount of people (myself included) had mobility problems this made thing difficult.But nothing can distract from thee fact that we have had the most relaxing, lovely holiday ever. I would strongly recommend Arcadia and her lovely crew Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and ... Read More
Having broken the back of the laundry after Xmas & New Year cruising in the Med onboard Arcadia (Cruise J218) we can now reflect on the cruise .... at our dispassionate leisure. It is nice to get back to simple fare like mince and tatties, beef hotpots and the like, although the food on board was excellent too - despite the hi-falutin' names given to some of the courses. (Our previous (and first) cruise on Arcadia (J202) in April/May 2012 was not a particularly pleasurable experience for us. However, we are very pleased to report that our initial misgivings of a repeat cruise aboard Arcadia were largely dispelled.) We're both getting on in years. My wife is disabled and 95% confined to a wheelchair so it is always a welcome break for me not to have to shop, cook and look after the household maintenance and fiscal admin and, instead, getting some sea air, visual stimulation and gastronomic pampering a la P&O style. Arcadia was completely free of noro-virus on boarding. It remained so for the whole of the 18-night cruise thanks to the particularly strict hygiene protocols imposed by P&O for the first two days of the cruise and, of course, the compliance of all the passengers and crew. (I 'elbowed' my choice of deck in the lifts etc.) The weather was a good deal better than we expected for December and January even for the Med. We were on the starboard side (that's the right hand side looking towards the sharp-end for you landlubbers.) and we were favoured by being on the sunniest side of the ship especially in port (it really is the luck of the draw between which side of the ship gets the sun when berthed alongside). In Livorno (N Italy) it touched 100F full frontal (but only 90F in the shade) on the balcony of our cabin. Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) touched 94F full frontal the day before. Outbound the Bay of Biscay was a bit choppy but a mill-pond on the return crossing but otherwise never too turbulent elsewhere. Online, I had pre-booked a private taxi tour of Lisbon which turned out to be cheaper and better than any arranged P & O excursions tour. Our charming and helpful mini-skirted driver, Maria, was there waiting for us at the bottom of the gang-way with a freshly-valetted, sparkling car. (This is the second time we have successfully used the 'Net to book a taxi-tour - the last time being Madeira on a previous cruise.) At the ship's side in Livorno we joined 4 other passengers on an ad hoc 3-hour mini-bus tour to Pisa for Euros 20 each. It was well worth it. Even the cups of cafe latte and cappuccino we had in a cafe were no more than one would expect to pay in Starbucks back home or even in the Cafe Vivo on board ship - with a direct view of the Leaning Tower thrown in for free! Our favourite port-of-call was Barcelona - we both loved the relaxed atmosphere of the warm and sunny Ramblas and surrounding areas with visitors of all ages just strolling about, care-free. Everywhere was neat and well-kempt with easy wheelchair access. Our least favourite port visit was Gibraltar where the shuttle-bus driver was very curt, rude and most unwelcoming. So much so that we returned to the ship rather than go shopping and spend our money for Gibraltar's economic benefit. (It just so happened our side of the ship gave us an awesome view of The Rock itself .... and to make us feel at-home, a Morrison's grocery store directly opposite to us!) We were told afterwards that the driver was probably a Spaniard from Algeciras. Cunard's Queen Elizabeth was also berthed alongside so there was a total of 4,000+ passengers and up to 1,600 crew let loose on Gibraltar .... we were afterwards told it was jam-packed and not easy-going for wheel-chairs. The ever-attentive, cheerful, friendly, mostly Indian waiters and cabin stewards are a significant part of the P & O brand of cruising - we only hope that P & O never lose sight of this fact. They are not excessively subservient nowadays and will engage in friendly repartee when given half the chance. Be stuffy with them and they'll be stuffy with you. We thanked our cabin steward for some little deed he had done for us - he replied, with a broad appreciative grin that it was his duty! Try and find that attitude in the UK - if you can! We cannot comment on the entertainment provided on board as we didn't partake of any part of it. Being on 2nd sitting for dinner - complete with a G & T before, a large glass of wine during, and usually a large Courvoisier to accompany coffee ... we were only too happy to return to our cabin, get comfortable in pyjamas and dressing gown and relax, even sit on the balcony looking up at the stars, perchance to dream. We feel we have to comment about some of the moaning minnies and maurices we encountered on board. It may be the downside of Arcadia being an Adults-only ship(?). Some were uncomfortable with us joining their lift and looked down their noses at my wife in her wheelchair almost as if being unable to walk might be catching! (Beware the mirrors in the lifts that catch all the expressions of all the occupants from all angles!). We encountered some older passengers who languidly strolled the corridors without a thought for any others. There were times when they'd just stop dead to look at something (like a photograph in The Gallery or a ship in a glass display case.) and who'd get an unexpected surprise of some part of a wheelchair gently but firmly reminding them that they could be more aware of who and what may be just behind them. I just cannot stop the momentum of a wheelchair as quickly as they can stop! We encountered an elderly trio (who we came to refer to as the Gruesome Threesome) who, within minutes of our asking to join their table in the crowded Piano Bar for a pre-prandial drink, who then spotted an just-vacated table nearby and quite abruptly moved to it, without a by-your-leave. It was then we noticed that they didn't have any drinks to move ... so they were maybe rabidly tee-total. The Temperance Three? But how UNfriendly and intolerant can you get? There was one memorable breakfasting old dear who complained at length that the knife provided for buttering her toast was rather too heavy for her! We guessed that she just had to find something to moan about. (And that was at the very start of her day!). Where's all that indomitable spirit that's often said about the older generation? And my goodness! Some of those apparently frail little old dears can seriously pack the food away. 'Full English' breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and 6-course dinners ....... their plates were cleared. Maybe they complained about the food because they couldn't get enough of it? Any way - to round off and despite some of the foregoing, this Christmas and New Year cruise was most enjoyable and memorable for us. (We are both determined to spend our money rather than allow our savings interest be taxed to contribute to the free provision of a 4/5 bed-roomed detached house in a desirable area of London for the likes of Hook Hamza and his family. So, to this end, our next cruise is already booked for April/May 2013 on board Adonia (the smallest of the seven P & O ships accommodating only 710 passengers instead of the Arcadia's 2000+). The cruise is to the central Med this time. Because it is a smaller ship it can get into the smaller ports that cannot accommodate the bigger ships like Arcadia. The cruise dates cover both our birthdays (don't ask!) and visits eight ports amongst which are Cartagena in Spain, Sarande in Albania (should be very interesting?), Kotor in Montenegro, Rijeka in Croatia, and our very favourite destination city of Venice .... for the second time.) It hardly seems worth unpacking from our last cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
But there was no need to worried and the negative reviews seem completely unfair and/or overly critical. There was no sign of the "Arcadia cough" mentioned in other reviews. Our cabin was lovely, nice and roomy with plenty of ... Read More
But there was no need to worried and the negative reviews seem completely unfair and/or overly critical. There was no sign of the "Arcadia cough" mentioned in other reviews. Our cabin was lovely, nice and roomy with plenty of storage. The bed was massive and very comfy. Little touches like a pre-threaded sewing kit and airer in the bathroom were great. Comfy chairs on the balcony. Our only complaint was that the shower was a bit lackluster. Our steward made up our room twice a day and it was so nice to come back to a tidy room with the bed turned down and chocolates on the pillow following the chaos of getting ready for the black tie nights - which we did love. The cabin was very quiet and we couldn't hear either of our neighbours so sleeping was a breeze. The dress code was perhaps a bit stuffy for us, we enjoyed the black tie nights but on the formal/smart nights the men in particular did not seem sure what to wear. We both felt that it would be easier if the ship stuck with just casual and black tie nights but that was just our view. Having said that we learned a lot on this cruise so next time we will be a bit clearer on what to wear. All the ports we visited were interesting, disembarkation at the ports pretty easy without too much waiting. The excursions were interesting and well organised. On the 3 days we chose to explore on our own getting to the main areas was easy and the crew gave good advice on this. For example in Oporto a free bus was provided to the centre. Entertainment was varied and even though we were younger than the average passenger we still found things we enjoyed including a Beatles tribute act, John Virgo, a bit comedy, quizzes and movies. There are a lot of musical themed shows which are not to our taste but clearly appreciated by many. We were pleasantly surprised by the varied age of passengers, there were certainly many young adults although the majority were over 50. It was nice to see that so many gay couples felt comfortable in a cruise environment. The food was of an excellent quality. The fine dining restaurant starters were a bit pompous and therefore not very interesting. The main courses were more varied although portion sizes are small - for example "roast potatoes" is actually one roast potato, extra vegetables and potatoes were brought out though. I also found that the gravy portions were small but had not trouble in being given extra when I asked. On several nights we did fill up on cheese and biscuits following our dessert an option that did not seem to be frowned upon. The buffet restaurant served good quality food and quite varied, as many have said before the curries are good. The buffet can get busy and frustrating with many passengers, particularly the older ones, feeling the need to carefully study the food before choosing. On one occasion I had to wait for a man to put down a pair of tongs which took him 4 attempts before he was happy with their position! We found it easier to just eat at less busy times like brunch and afternoon tea. We did not try the specialist restaurants but heard good things about them so probably would do next time. We enjoyed the spa although felt it was a bit expensive to use the hydropool which was often quite busy. We did enjoy it but I'm not sure we'd both another time. Prices for drinks etc were ok, not too dear. The shop was a bit expensive but with all the free food on board I'm not sure why you would need to buy chocolate too. The jewellery seemed overpriced, personally if you fancy a nice piece or jewellery and you are going to Gibraltar I'd get it there. Overall we had a great time. I've included in this review a few niggles as I wanted to be honest but they really were just niggles and in no way detracted from our enjoyment. We loved it so much that when we came into the first port we were really tempted just to stay on the ship! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was our first trip on Arcadia although we have travelled on several other P&O ships. We didn't get the 'wow' factor when boarding Arcadia and initially the ship felt a bit 'bland'. CABIN - ... Read More
This was our first trip on Arcadia although we have travelled on several other P&O ships. We didn't get the 'wow' factor when boarding Arcadia and initially the ship felt a bit 'bland'. CABIN - Our cabin was a good size. We had an excellent cabin steward who kept the cabin spotlessly clean. Everything worked and we didn't suffer any cabin noise. My husband and I do take ear plugs just to be on the safe side. I had breakfast in my cabin on sea days. The breakfast steward asked if I wanted breakfast in my cabin each day. I said no - just on sea days. My breakfast arrived on time every sea day with a cheerful smile and good morning from the steward. DINING - we had lunch in the buffet restaurant. Plenty of choice but a bit hectic at times. EVENING MEAL - we dined in the main restaurant in the evening - club dining - on a table for 8 people. Our waiters were efficient and chatty - nothing was too much trouble. One couple on our table were celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary. P&O made it a special day for them from breakfast time and then in the evening with a cake and champagne. Well done P & O and also the waiters. We did not use the 'specialist' restaurants. Our previous trip on the Oriana left us with the impression that standards in the restaurant had 'slipped'. The quality and quantity of food had, in our opinion, deteriorated. However, I am pleased to say that the food on board Arcadia was far superior and our faith has been restored!!! I am vetarian. P&O have a separate veggi menu if there is nothinn on the main menu that you fancy. I have found the choice and quality of veggie food to be excellent. My husband enjoys a steak and this is always available as an option. The theatre usually very crowded with standing room only sometimes. The entertainment was not very inspiring and we did not go in to the theatre every night. I did use the gym - the facilities were excellent and I was always able to get on a treadmill. The ship did grow on us. There was plenty to space and it didn't seem overcrowded. We will certainly sail on the Arcadia again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Had an absolutely fabulous world cruise on board Arcadia, we have no complaints at all. Every member of staff that we encountered was marvellous and went the extra mile. The speciality restaurants were amazing. Lots of public areas to sit ... Read More
Had an absolutely fabulous world cruise on board Arcadia, we have no complaints at all. Every member of staff that we encountered was marvellous and went the extra mile. The speciality restaurants were amazing. Lots of public areas to sit inside and out, also quiet spots to be found if you wanted to read or enjoy the peace and quiet.. Never had to ask our cabin steward for anything our cabin was always fully stocked with all our needs. This was supposed to be a once in a lifetime trip but we will certainly be doing it again. Although we had 54 sea days we managed to find something to occupy us whether it was listening to the lectures, watching a movie, learning about our next port of call, walking on the promenade deck, spending time in the gym, or the more conventional cruise activities like eating and drinking.The food availability and choice was hard to beat, I don't know how they can cater for the needs of 2000 people over a couple of hours at lunch and dinnertime, I struggle with 6!! On the days we were in port, we had a good idea of what we wanted to do. The staff were very helpful with advice and their own experiences in various ports. This includes waiting staff as well as shore excursion staff. We have no complaints about the actual choice of ports. We thouroughly enjoyed our time both onboard the ship and ashore.We have never had so many complimentry champagne receptions as we did on this cruise, a great way to meet some lovely fellow passangers. We were kept informed of important information on the ship, via the ships tannoy or talks in the Palladium. Some of the acts in the theatre were not our cup of tea but they can not please all 2000 of us all the time, "The Headliners" were our favourites, what a lovely bunch of talented young people with loads of energy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We travelled by train from Durham to Southampton via London and stayed the night at Jurys Inn. After a tasty breakfast at Wetherspoons we took a taxi to the Ocean Terminal and arrived at about 11.45. A very civilised and quick ... Read More
We travelled by train from Durham to Southampton via London and stayed the night at Jurys Inn. After a tasty breakfast at Wetherspoons we took a taxi to the Ocean Terminal and arrived at about 11.45. A very civilised and quick boarding meant we were enjoyind a tasty curry in the Belvedere by 12.30pm. Our balcony cabin on C deck was ready at 2.30pm-our cabin steward ,Morris, inroduced himself and was happy to inform us that we had new mattresses and very comfortable they were too!He kept the cabin clean and tidy and well stocked with tea bags etc. All cabin drinks were speedily delivered and very reasonable priced. We had breakfast and lunch in the Belvedere-a good selection and always found a table. Dinner was in the Meridian-a quiet table for 3 with 2 charming and attentive waiters Moona and Jaison. The menu choice was excellent ,food always hot--the soup too hot and we were never rushed. We dined once at the Orchid restaurant-a superb meal in a beautiful restaurant-well worth £10 each. The entertainment was varied-we enjoyed the comedian Andy Wilkins-often chatted with him on deck and the Headliners were excellent. The retired Concorde captain gave several very interesting talks. Disappointed with the classical entertainment-2 very talented sister on the harp and oboe but a little too highbrow-really Apart from the weather for Italy and missed port we were lucky with the weather and the lovely ports of Barcelona,Monte Carlo,Alicante and Gibraltar. Most passengers dressed according to the dress code apart from a few men who wore polo shirts each night and one'gentleman' whose idea of Black & White night was a white football shirt,black tracksuit bottoms and white trainers. Overall,a very enjoyable cruise-the Arcadia is a very friendly,comfortable ship. We are looking forward to a 42 night world cruise sector in 2012. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
The usual fayre on a Cruise which didn't disappoint. Food was good, excellent service from Cabin attendant and Waiters. This was my first time on a ship with no children on-board and there did seem to be a lack of vibrant-type energy ... Read More
The usual fayre on a Cruise which didn't disappoint. Food was good, excellent service from Cabin attendant and Waiters. This was my first time on a ship with no children on-board and there did seem to be a lack of vibrant-type energy amongst the passengers on the first few days at sea. However as the ambiance of the peace and quiet took hold it was easy to forget the 'missing' children. I wouldn't rush to get back to Gibraltar again nor was Ajaccio particularly memorable but visits to Rome, Florence, Santa Margherita, Villefranche and Barcelona were more than adequate compensation for these two disappointments. Perhaps an excursion on Corsica would have promoted the Isle in a better light. I have to admit to being a P&O fan when it comes to cruising holidays so the criticisms I have have to be balanced against the fact that I still intend to sail with P&O in the future. So to my criticisms. I first cruised in 2000 and the programme for the theatre entertainment remains very 'samey'. Some tired routines, tired jokes and on this cruise a tired DJ, Lulu, who made it obvious that she wasn't enjoying life on board and she didn't intend to make life enjoyable for anyone else who was thinking of enjoying themselves. The excursions are outlandishly priced which encourages my partner and me to adopt independent travel arrangements to view the sites. The Ship's photographs are also too expensive which is a pity because there are many memorable moments captured on camera and buying them all would be prohibitive. And finally the Captain needs reminding without the passengers he is out-of-a-job. It's one thing to refuse to shake a hand, presumably because of health and safety considerations, but at least be apologetic to the person politely offering the hand rather than give the curt response 'I don't shake hands'. With an attitude like that I am sure everybody would be only too pleased to oblige him. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Impressions of the P&O Ship Arcadia After our First Class rail journey from Durham to Southampton, we were delighted that our check-in was swift and we were soon directed to an inside Cabin C 184, which was spacious and very well ... Read More
Impressions of the P&O Ship Arcadia After our First Class rail journey from Durham to Southampton, we were delighted that our check-in was swift and we were soon directed to an inside Cabin C 184, which was spacious and very well appointed. My only criticism of the check-in and the security procedure was that the staff concerned showed little interest in the many mature and aged people. A pleasant word would have been comforting to some anxious customers. The cabin C 184 had plenty of storage facilities. However the lighting in front of the wardrobes was poor. Our cabin steward introduced himself and soon agreed to exchange the duvets on the beds for sheets and blankets. We attended the routine boat drill before dinner. Having attended many Captain's cocktail parties in the past, we decided to miss our invitation and relax before dinner on the second evening. Dining. Throughout the cruise, we ate in the Meridian Restaurant. We shared a table for eight. The standard of our meals was extremely high. The waiters were efficient and patient. We had no complaints. On one evening, my wife quietly stated to her table companion that she wished that she had chosen a different course. Our waiter overheard and pleasantly and quickly changed her meal. There was much choice at all meals, from the exotic to the simple. I heard no complaints. Sanitisation of hands was available. We used the gel on every occasion, but many diners did not. We think that there should be more insistence by P&O for this safeguard. Entertainment. We made our way to the Palladium Theatre after dinner on the first night of our cruise. There were no seats available, so we stood at the back. The singing was raucous. Even the song "I'm leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street", a romantic song, seemed to be sung at the maximum volume. We tried other shows later, but the amplification offended us and we did not stay for very long. The classical pianist Naomi Edemariam gave us much pleasure. Her playing was of a high standard. Our grumble concerning her concerts was that they were badly timed. A 5.15pm start for First Sitting cruisers, left very little time for us to prepare for the evening meal. The cinema on the ship was abysmal, with few seats and a poor screen. We thought that the choice of films was depressing. The art lectures were very informative and I must say that the one on "Turner" was one of the best I have heard. We also attended two lectures on health by the Deputy Manager of the Spa. He was both amusing and very interesting. He has left us with much to think about after the cruise. It was somewhat annoying that the lectures were given in open areas, with passing cruisers, whose chatter could be disruptive. It would have been more satisfactory if the lectures had been given in the many closed areas of the ship. Fellow Guests. Throughout the cruise we found much friendliness among those whom we came into contact. Politeness and good conversation made for a pleasant atmosphere. We thought that the disabled passengers were heroic and, despite their difficulties, very good humoured. Ports of Call. June 4th. Our first call was to Malaga, where we were very keen to visit the Cathedral. We were not disappointed and at a cost of 4 Euros each we spent a fruitful time in The Cathedral and in the Museum. We were also able to join in a Mass service in an adjoining church. A satisfying morning excursion. June 7th. We wended our way on to Dubrovnik, via the Straits of Messina, with good views of the Italian and Sicilian coasts. One could see the snow covered Mount Etna in the distance. The Captain announced that on arrival in Dubrovnik, he had permission to enter the port for only one and a half hours, after which he would manoeuvre the ship to anchor in the bay for the rest of the day. This meant that we could go ashore by the gangway, but we had to return in a tender. This did present a problem for some elderly passengers. Dubrovnik was magnificent, with its glittering walls and pavements. One felt that one was experiencing a perfectly preserved medieval city. There was little evidence of the bombing of the city by the Serbs. We returned to the ship with a pleasant memory. We were able to attend a Mass at the Monastery of St. Francis. June 8th. The entry into Venice was spectacular, as the ship slowly sailed past the many interesting sights. At a cost of £8 each, my wife and I joined others on a large motor launch and were deposited at a landing stage very close to St. Mark's Square. We achieved our objectives, visiting St. Mark's and seeing the Titian painting in the Frari, but at great effort. The crowds in the streets were enormous and we were pleased to take the launch back to the ship. With all its wonderful sights, I do not think that this visit was too sensible. The majority on the Arcadia were mature people and those we talked to said they found the visit exhausting. June 9th. The visit to Split was a revelation. Leaving the tender, we were faced with a very modern front to the harbour. Thoughtful construction had resulted in the idea of antiquity in a modern setting. Glittering pavements combined with simple garden areas to give a most pleasant result. However it was the remains of Diocletian's Palace which gave us the greatest thrill of our holiday. There was much exciting evidence of life in Roman times. The Catholic Cathedral had been built on the site of the palace and the building seemed to merge into what was left of the original buildings. A museum adjoining the Cathedral had many fine exhibits, which demonstrated the history of the area. Our short visit made us contemplate a holiday in this city in the future. June 10th. Our visit to Corfu was very disappointing. On leaving the ship, we were faced with a continuous excess of traffic, pollution, crowds, litter and overwhelming heat. We visited a Catholic church near to the harbour and made a pilgrimage to the famous cricket ground. We returned early to the ship. We would not return. June 11th. Our voyage from Corfu to Zakinthos was short and completed overnight. A cloudless warm evening, combined with a very calm sea, plus the slow movement of the ship through the water, created a magical atmosphere on deck. We strolled on a deserted Promenade Deck after dinner. Our fellow cruisers were busy at shows or at activities within the ship. We would not have exchanged our romantic moments with anyone. Anchoring at Zakinthos, we were taken ashore by tender, where our first local attraction was the sight of a dead dog in the harbour. Moving into the town, we were face with heavy traffic, much litter, dirty streets. Visits to a Catholic church and two Orthodox churches were interesting. We were particularly impressed by a number of men who were making visits to the Orthodox churches. They sang as they moved around and kissed a number of icons in various parts of the churches. Gibraltar our last port of call, was largely unchanged from our previous visits. Alistair, in Reception, directed us to the Cathedral in Main Street, where we attended the Cathedral for the 9.0am Mass. Incidents. As regular cruisers, we were invited to an evening party aboard ship in the Viceroy Room, given by Chief Engineer Jewkes. Making our way to Deck 10, I asked a passing white-suited member of the ship's crew for directions to the party. He answered, "I'll show you". He then led us up stairs and along corridors to the party venue. As he turned to leave us, I said, "What do you do on the ship?" He answered, "I'm the Captain". He was not joking. We both laughed. As the cruise developed, my wife Mary complained of a unpleasant smell in the toilet area in our cabin. We complained to the cabin steward, who reported the matter to the Deck Supervisor. He visited the cabin and ordered the steward to use more chemicals. This made no difference and we pursued the matter, both with the Deck Supervisor and with the staff at Reception. A plumber attended and after an attempt at repair declared that the problem could not be put right quickly. I pressed for another cabin and eventually we were transferred to cabin B85, which was a mini-suite. We were pleased at the upgrade, but were disappointed that it took so long (four days) to remedy the unpleasant situation. My pressure brought an interview with Helen Skoins (Head of Passenger Oganisation), who pleasantly arranged for her deputy, Karen Wright, to transfer us to the better cabin. Strangely, our experience with the defective toilet did not spoil our holiday. On the whole our accommodation was good. The cooking on board was of a very high standard. I have often praised the food on the Queen Mary 2, but the meals on Arcadia were better. Service by staff was excellent. We enjoyed our cruise and would not hesitate to sail on Arcadia in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
As this was our Wedding Cruise we were really excited when we arrived at Southampton early at 11am. We waited to board the ship and were guided to "Priority Boarding" as I had my wedding dress and bouquet in separate bags which ... Read More
As this was our Wedding Cruise we were really excited when we arrived at Southampton early at 11am. We waited to board the ship and were guided to "Priority Boarding" as I had my wedding dress and bouquet in separate bags which was brilliant. We were in our cabin by 12.30 pm and immediately went to lunch whilst waiting for our suitcases. As we had been on Arcadia for Christmas 2006 we were really looking forward to another brilliant cruise which unfortunately didn't turn out to be the case. Although being senior citizens ourselves we were quite shocked to see that a lot of the guests were a lot older than ourselves and seemed to go to bed very early. The rush for the first sitting at dinner, made our second sitting in the Meridian restaurant very quiet with a lot of tables with spare places or completely empty. We were looked after brilliantly by our wedding coordinator and P&O and nothing was too much trouble. We were really treated like VIP's with lots of little extras in our cabin on arrival, i.e. flower arrangement and bottle of champagne. Later a basket of fruit arrived also which was replenished every few days. We were also treated by the Executive Chef when a small Christmas Cake,Stollen cake and shortbread biscuits were delivered also. Each evening we received canapes whilst we were getting ready for dinner in the evening. Our Christmas Day wedding day dawned and I went to the spa for hair, nails and make up to be applied. Our wedding at 5pm was brilliant with Captain Ian Walters taking the small service. Our guests really enjoyed themselves and we went into the Orchid Bar for canapes after the many photos taken by the ship's photographer all around the ship. We arrived fashionably late for Christmas Day evening dinner and a round of applause was given to us as we went down the stairs to our table on the ground level, with balloons decorating the table. All in all a lovely day! The rest of the cruise was OK but we were disappointed that the ship seemed to be very quiet after leaving the restaurant in the evening, most of the bars seemed deserted. The shows were brilliant and the Headliners Group really worked their socks off to entertain everybody. Another sore point was the fact that the new top deck wasn't completed after the refit and all the cruise we were not allowed to go on it as the decking was still being completed and sanded down, which caused shavings etc. dropping onto the Acquarius deck furniture leaving it covered in dust! Also the carpets outside the Spinnaker Bar were completely soaking wet and had a dehumidifier constantly on plus the men's toilet outside the Globe Bar was permanently closed due to a breakdown and the smell that came from that area got progressively worse throughout the cruise. At the end of this cruise I felt a little disappointed and have decided to go on another P&O ship Aurora to celebrate our 1st Wedding Anniversary Christmas cruise as hopefully it will be a little more upbeat and lively as there will be children on board!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Cruise J824 - Arcadia - Dec 20th 2008 to Jan 5th 2009 Embarkation We arrived at the terminal in Southampton at 2:10 pm to find a huge queue ahead of us. When we finally entered the terminal building the check in desks were unmanned, ... Read More
Cruise J824 - Arcadia - Dec 20th 2008 to Jan 5th 2009 Embarkation We arrived at the terminal in Southampton at 2:10 pm to find a huge queue ahead of us. When we finally entered the terminal building the check in desks were unmanned, staff were milling about but no announcements were made regarding the delay for at least an hour. Asking a staff member we were told there were "technical issues" and they couldn't embark anyone at the present time. A few clowns were present to entertain the waiting masses but cold drinks would have been more appropriate. The building was very hot and not even cold water was available. The usual procedure took place at check in, photo for ship pass, registration of credit card etc. 2 days into the cruise we received a call from reception saying they had no record of our registered credit card on the system, it seems our credit card details were lost somewhere between check in at Southampton and the ships database. When we questioned the staff on reception about this once again their response was "technical issues", poor show P&O. At 4:40 we finally got on board only to find the lifeboat drill had taken place, no other drills were arranged for the passengers who had missed this vital information. A 2 hour 30 minute wait to embark is inexcusable. Cabin The cabin (D-deck with balcony) was spacious with plenty of wardrobe space. Luggage fitted easily under the bed with room to spare. Adequate lighting in the bathroom, shower had good pressure and was easy to use. A range of Temple Spa toiletries were present, only the shower gel was replenished. The balcony was showing signs of wear, peeling paint. One small table and 2 chairs took up the majority of balcony space available. Good sized fridge. Decent size, height adjustable table in the cabin. The bed was very comfortable, pillows soft yet supportive. Overall the cabin was clean, fresh and inviting. Our cabin steward was a real gem and easily the most professional crew member we encountered aboard the ship. Entertainment The entertainment aboard ranged from poor to outstanding but most of it was aimed toward the more mature passenger with very little provided for those not in their twilight years. To any readers under 50, I would suggest doing some research on alternative cruises before doing a cruise on Arcadia. Other member reviews have said the same thing and I can only echo their warning. It does seem to be a ship of mainly older folk, average age was around 75. Our first day at sea had a fluid retention and swollen ankles talk in the spa, if you were out of there by 11 am you could head up to The Crow's nest for a game of bingo. Headliners Theatre Group, the ships entertainers, were outstanding. Each cast member was an accomplished vocalist and competent dancer. All the shows they performed were wonderfully executed with superb costumes and sets. Highlights of the cruise were the performances given by Gerald Dickens, great great grandson of Charles Dickens. His performance of 'A Christmas Carol' on Christmas day was joyous and worthy of the West End. It's just a pity that the other entertainment provided in the various bars around the ship was so mundane. Not everyone enjoys listening to repeated sets of what sounded like elevator music day after day. The refit of Arcadia allowed P&O to provide a small cinema on deck 3. As it only seats 30 people you have to get there early in order to ensure a seat. The seats recline and are very comfortable...if you can get one. An annoying thing was the extreme rudeness of some passengers who would barge in 5 minutes before the end of the previous film with no thought to the passengers already there and enjoying the end of the movie they had chosen to watch. On more than one occasion the wrong movie was shown and staff had to be informed, as they didn't hang around to check they were actually playing the correct film. A cinema on board is a great idea but pointless to have one that seats 30 on a ship that carries 2000 passengers. The cabin TV was supposed to have a dedicated channel devoted to movies, Christmas movies especially. When we tried to watch channel 9, all that we saw was a screen of interference. When we called reception to ask about the problem we were told that channel 9 wouldn't be available for the entire cruise, it's a "technical issue", seems that term was the answer to any query P&O encountered. The Disco was usually always empty and seemed to be a complete waste of space, extending the casino into the disco area would be a better utilization of that area of deck 2. As it is the casino is very small with an outdated selection of slot machines. A Christmas Bazaar was listed as a shopping experience to take place in the upper level of the Meridian restaurant. We were disappointed to see that this shopping extravaganza was merely the shop inventory laid out on some of the restaurant tables with nothing new whatsoever. The newly extended Aquarius deck was the main venue for Hogmanay celebrations. The generally friendly fellow passengers and crew enjoyed many hours of music and dancing. The party went on into the wee small hours as can be testified to by the Alpha alert over the tannoy system at 4 am, it seems there was a passenger in difficulty after falling down some stairs We got chatting to long standing P&O diehards who mentioned that this was the first New Year party on a P&O ship that they were not given a free drink. The consensus seems to be that the standards are dropping year by year with passengers being charged for more extras. Crew The majority of the crew we encountered were polite and friendly with the exception of an extremely rude member of the photography team. Our cabin steward couldn't be faulted; waiters were pleasant and chatty once we got to know then. Our wine waitress left a lot to be desired, on more than one occasion drink orders from ourselves and our table companions were completely forgotten by her and she only remembered as we passed her on the way out of the restaurant. Some crew had a personal hygiene problem; we noticed this numerous times. 3 separate barmen had a particularly strong B.O odor that was quite off-putting. Ship and dEcor The ships dEcor was fresh and bright, plenty of Christmas decorations and trees on every deck added to the festive atmosphere. Beautiful sculptures in the lower entrance to the theatre that are easily missed if you enter theatre on a higher deck. Lots of interesting artwork around the ship, it's certainly worth walking around all the decks to have a look at what's on display. It was easy to see the ship had been re carpeted throughout. P&O must have encountered a problem on deck 2. Just at the Spinnaker Bar, there was an extremely obvious musty smell coming from the carpet, which they tried to rectify by having an industrial drying machine plugged in for the first week of the cruise. The toilets near the Globe on deck 2 were also experiencing problems, the stink passengers encountered when passing them was horrific Food The food in the Belvedere was plentiful but not of the highest quality. A lot of the cakes on offer had synthetic cream and were not at all appetizing. The selection available from midnight onwards tended to be dried out and uninspiring food that looked like it had come from the local freezer center. Salads and fresh fruit were of good quality as were the accompaniments, coleslaw, bean salad etc. Long queues were not apparent, we seldom had to wait for more than 1 minute to reach the food we were in line for. The juice dispenser in the Belvedere was switched off at 12 noon, I must say that this was rather mean and penny pinching of P&O, there can be no other reason to switch of the juice other than to increase passenger spending on drinks over lunchtime. Some of the best lunchtime food was available at the Neptune Grill, always fresh and cooked to order. A particular favorite there was the blueberry cheesecake, very tasty indeed and of much higher quality than the desserts in the Belvedere. The Meridian didn't live up to expectations. The dreaded potato croquettes that have been mentioned on the forums, accompanied dinner on the first night. They are of very poor quality indeed and have no place on an evening dinner menu of a cruise ship. Fellow dining companions ordered the steak one evening. What they received could have been hidden under a small bread roll, it was tiny! Food in general in the Meridian ranged from distinctly average to a few excellent dishes. The Indian food was especially good; the Dhal soup was one of the best I've ever eaten. Afternoon tea was a huge letdown. Hard, tasteless scones, small cakes with synthetic cream and measly filled sandwiches were the order of the day. The vegetarian sandwich was Rocket, one Rocket leaf between 2 slices of bread. I asked the waitress for some cheese sandwiches only to be told that I would need to order them 24 hours ahead. When we spend 3k per person on a cruise we don't expect to have to give a days notice for a sandwich. As I am a vegetarian, I informed my travel agent and also called P&O in person to inform them of this fact. Despite doing so I didn't receive the vegetarian menu until the 5th night, neither the staff in the restaurant or the staff on reception had any record of my dietary requirements. Yep, you've guessed it, technical issues were to blame. Come on P&O spend some money on competent admin staff and computer systems that actually work. During the last sea day passengers could enjoy a galley tour and a chocolate buffet. After previously cruising with Celebrity I expected big things from the chocolate buffet, sadly it was another indication of cost cutting measures. The layout wasn't at all spectacular with more of those thawed out gateaux that can be seen in every supermarket in the land. One or two pleasing ice sculptures couldn't lift the lackluster affair of the tasteless selection on offer. Ports We didn't book any of the P&O excursions preferring to do our own thing. Every port had regular free shuttle buses provided by P&O. Ports of call varied. Palma was a washout, being Boxing Day everywhere was closed and it rained incessantly. Our favorite had to be Malta, beautiful harbor and surprisingly warm weather for the time of year. Certainly a place we shall return to. We arrived in Barcelona on the morning of the 30th of December expecting to leave again as 2am on January 1st. Due to mechanical problems with a generator we didn't leave Barcelona till almost 5pm on January 1st, a full 15 hours behind schedule. As a result of this delay our last post of call was cancelled. Each passenger received £100 as an apology for not getting to Vigo. £40 per person was also refunded during the cruise; this fuel supplement refund was deducted off your shipboard account. The cruise log that each passenger receives at the end of the cruise mentioned nothing of the delay. It states "Arcadia extended her call in Barcelona until late afternoon, allowing a whole extra day for the opportunity for passengers to go ashore" That's not the case, passengers had to be back on board by 1:30-2:00, rather economical with the truth there P&O Disembarkation Disembarkation was smooth considering the number of passengers onboard. Passengers are given color-coded cards the night before with your time to disembark on them. Luggage in the terminal building is sorted according to your deck so is easy to find. In conclusion all I can say is that this was our first cruise with P&O...and our last. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We are in our late 50s - not uncritical (we were very critical of our Ventura cruise earlier in the year) - but we're not "professional moaners" either - sorry, but we all know they are out there, waiting to ruin a good ... Read More
We are in our late 50s - not uncritical (we were very critical of our Ventura cruise earlier in the year) - but we're not "professional moaners" either - sorry, but we all know they are out there, waiting to ruin a good lunch. We've been on about 12 cruises - four different lines, and on P & O we'd tried Aurora,Arcadia and Ventura. For others like us out there, here's a positive review for the Arcadia for a Med. cruise October 2008 This was a "good standard" cruise on a "good standard" ship and excellent value for money. Food was possibly the best of any cruise, both in the main restaurant and the buffet. Only possible regret was that gala nights did not have anything particularly outstanding. Rhodes specialist restaurant had been more than excellent two years ago and was more than excellent again - it was the highlight of the cruise for us and we ate there 7 out of 14 nights - well worth the extra £15. Note that there are special offers (£10) on the first two nights and also two gourmet nights. (Yum yum as my wife would say) Staff everywhere were excellent. Attentive and friendly, without being servile (thank heavens!) We've sailed with this Captain (Ian Walters) before and like him and the feeling on his ships - friendly - you see the officers and staff around the ship. We weren't really aboard for the excursions, but had pleasant ones to Etna and Gibraltar. Note that if you don't fancy Rome, Civitavecchia is OK for a wander round - decent main street and market. Even at Palau we found a worthwhile ceramics shop about 15 mins up the main street on the left. All ports had free coaches where needed. We're not show people, but found the shows perfectly acceptable and some other reasonable entertainers. Speakers could maybe have been a bit more entertaining - but I'm OK with a book from the library. My wife liked the spa - as usual a bit expensive - but a cruise pass to the big hydropool, steam rooms etc. at £60 for 14 days was reasonable for a bit of luxury. She only swims in warm water and the covered pool was fine most days. We love our cruises but are sensible about what we can expect for the price. Excellent product P & O Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
We were a bit concerned that we had done the right thing for our 30th wedding anniversary by booking a P & O cruise to the western Med for 14 nights June 2008. We found the queue to embark at Southampton long and it was a tiring 3/4 of ... Read More
We were a bit concerned that we had done the right thing for our 30th wedding anniversary by booking a P & O cruise to the western Med for 14 nights June 2008. We found the queue to embark at Southampton long and it was a tiring 3/4 of an hour wait, but it was very well organized and after registering our credit card and going through the security checks, were on board soon enough, and shown to the Belvedere dining lounge for lunch. Our cabin was then ready and we went down to E deck and found our luggage had been delivered very efficiently. I must say it was more enjoyable than flying and far less tiring at the end of the day. We did not have far to travel to the docks so that most certainly helped in our case. We found the Arcadia a lovely ship, very large, and it most certainly took us several days to get accustomed to it all and where to find places on the ship. Our ports of call were Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Santa Margherita, Rome, Alicante and Gibraltar. We booked 6 shore excursions and found most of them very good value and good fun. We went to Elche when at Alicante and although it is not mentioned in the itinerary of the trip, we were finally taken to a shoe factory for a film show.. all very fast, so not much time to browse at the shoes!! Rome was very warm, and we just did a one stop tour of it. Dining on the Arcadia is very good, we found the standard of catering en masse surprisingly hot. Breakfasts can be either waiter served in the Meridian, or buffet style in the Belvedere.This is the same arrangement for lunches or dinner. Even though you are allocated a dinner table in the Meridian you can choose to dine in the Belvedere buffet, or pre book the Arcadian Rhodes or Orchid Restaurant at extra cost which we did on our anniversary, and the wine and extra charges came to £55 extra. We found all service on the Arcadia very good, the staff are of course trained to a high level in the restaurants and we found the Arcadian Rhodes restaurant even more efficient and polite! It certainly is above what we expected..and having read a lot of reviews before we went I was really quite concerned that we were "doing the right thing" but after a day or so we both agreed we had never expected it to be so lovely as we were experiencing. Entertainment in the Palladium was truly excellent and I suppose I was expecting a cirque act as according to many reviews that it all that was mentioned, but in our case we had a wonderful group of extremely talented young singer/dancers for the whole two weeks along with Carlos Santana of Paper Lace fame who entertained us one evening and a comedienne magician on another night. Anyone that dances should have a wonderful time to the big band sounds in the Crow's Nest or disco. We found our cabin very comfortable, two single beds, but these can be put together if you so wish and a small balcony. We found our cabin adequate in size for the time you spend there, as there is alot going on all over the boat throughout the day and for anyone that enjoys art auctions,or jewelry shows, beauty shows, ice sculpting, internet lessons, and much more beside the deck games, golf etc. We took our own laptop but was unable to connect to the internet, we waited for an assistant for half an hour then gave up. If you use their computers, they are expensive, and at the start of the cruise it was £8.50 for only 15 mins. I had an Indian/Balinese head massage in the therapy room, followed by a wash and blow dry £55. I must say I did not like the oils used for the "massage" if you can call it that, as it was for me very sore indeed, and I was very pleased when it was over, which was not long thank goodness. The hair "do" was very quickly done, as it was a "formal night" and I guess they were very busy in there... however I was back combed and sprayed, which I haven't had in years !!! Maybe they are only used to much older clients !!!!!!! I am 55. Anyway it gave my hubby a laugh when he saw my Cilla Black hair do as he called it. I went again a few days later just for a wash a blow dry and had a young man who was more switched on and it looked really nice when he had finished. My advice on that one is to be very strict about what you would like done and refuse to be bullied into anything else. Regarding the massage thing, make sure you know what they intend as if you have any tender bits it can really hurt for a few days afterwards as it did in my case. We found the disembarkation a bit long winded, but when you consider how many people have to get off, it has to be done by Decks and as we were on E deck our time for going was 9.25 am. Others of course were before starting at 7 am. You have to vacate your cabin by 8 am. (Big suit cases are collected the night before so you have to have your clothes to dine the last night in which is a smart casual night and to go home in) We just about made it 7 am taking our hand luggage down to breakfast, had breakfast, then waited to be called to disembark, which was done very quickly and we had a taxi waiting so we were relieved not to be stopped in the customs hall on the way out. We will be cruising again soon!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
We travelled on the new (2005)child-free Arcadia from Southampton down to Lisbon calling at Vigo,La Rochelle and Brest. The embarkation,as with all P&O cruises was smooth and very rapid and with the minimum of fuss. THE SHIP; As has ... Read More
We travelled on the new (2005)child-free Arcadia from Southampton down to Lisbon calling at Vigo,La Rochelle and Brest. The embarkation,as with all P&O cruises was smooth and very rapid and with the minimum of fuss. THE SHIP; As has been mentioned before,Arcadia is less spectacularly appointed than other ships in the fleet and has a more modern and contemporary feel to the decor. However we liked the muted colors of sage,cream and taupe which runs throughout the ship and also into the cabins,creating a calm and soothing atmosphere. We had a balcony cabin at the stern of the ship on deck 8 (Australia}with a vast balcony well able to entertain a dozen or more people! The cabin was of an average size for a stateroom,although the doorway was very narrow and a certain amount of juggling had to be done with the bathroom door and wardrobe doors which were directly opposite each other. There were no drawers in the cabin just two large ones in the base of the sofa. The wardrobe was very dark -an interior light might have illuminated the Stygian gloom! However,these cabins are invariably designed by men who have no concept of how to struggle into a ballgown in a 3ft space whilst trying to find one's evening sandal at the back of a wardrobe by touch alone! FOOD; The main formal restaurant,The Meridian had reasonably good food,which tended to arrive tepid. There were also 2 additional restaurants on board-Gary Rhodes and the Orchid which served Asian food. There was a cover charge for both venues and they were excellent,but book early on the cruise as there is great demand for tables. ENTERTAINMENT; We are not huge fans of cruise type shows,but if you like old comics,a few hoofers and lots of dry ice,you will not be disappointed! We also had twin illusionists "THE TWINS" who were doubly awful. The usual teeth whitening seminars and TANZANITE-mysterious gem of Africa enlivened sea days,along with those impossibly dreadful art auctions selling daubs by bad artists to punters who have no idea what they are purchasing! The one entertainer we did enjoy was a very talented guitarist who played in solitary splendor in The Crows Nest Bar to a small select band of us who were prepared to go up to the eleventh deck! PORTS OF CALL: All were fine,but we couldn't dock at Brest due to a force 8 gale and so benefited from another sea day of line dancing teeth whitening seminars and Snowball bingo! Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
Never Again ! There are I think 2 types of people in the world. There are the "I'll try anything once" types and there are the "I'm happy with what I know and love types". For P&O cruisers the dilemma ... Read More
Never Again ! There are I think 2 types of people in the world. There are the "I'll try anything once" types and there are the "I'm happy with what I know and love types". For P&O cruisers the dilemma facing most of us is "shall I try out the newest ship in the fleet?". Sadly I fell for this psychological trap and booked a short mid-year 7 day break on Arcadia. It will never happen again! There are plenty of reviews that will inform you of the practical design differences to the other ships and they are pretty much accurate. Design is poor, period. Main restaurant is right at the aft so those with a tendency for seasickness will be at maximum discomfort during the most important eating time. Layout elsewhere is confusing and it's hard to get anywhere in a straight line on one deck. Bars, lounges and cafes all have main walkways through them so are not at all nice places to chill out, relax and say read a book. As I said, plenty of other reviews around on those differences. The main problem you need to be aware of when being tempted by that "shall I, shan't I" dilemma is that Arcadia, being an adult only ship, is in fact packed full of geriatrics. They fall out of every room, bar and lounge and spend their cruise lolling asleep in chairs with their mouths open. Arcadia is an old folks home at sea. Now, I'm not ageist in any shape or form, but given a choice, I would not knowingly choose to spend a holiday as important as a cruise with 1500 pensioners all waiting to spend their final days in the best way possible. It's truly awful. I'm just over 40 myself and although we had excellent table companions who were full of character, this didn't make up for the overall atmosphere on board. If you are intent on doing the "Arcadia" thing, then you need to be prepared for the practical realities that you will be faced with. In general these worldly wise veterans spend their days getting up well before everyone else at about 5-6am. Their purpose and motivation in life is to get to places first, before everyone else, to get that all important seat. First sign of this was the muster drill. I left for the drill 5 mins early just to avoid the busy corridor rush that normally happens. What greeted me at the muster station was a sea of elderly people who had clearly already bagseyed their chairs and settled in, probably an hour before! Everyone else was stood in the corridors for the 45min drill. I'm not discourteous mind, but I always felt the heart and soul of any cruise was consideration for fellow passengers, queuing patiently, tolerating and so on. Old people show very little of this, it's dog eat dog and boy, they're going to get up as early as it takes to get there before you. And once there, they ain't gonna move any time soon. They're going to sit quietly ordering coffee after coffee to justify their continued presence in those seats like the people who used to make a cup of tea last 3 hours in a Little Chef restaurant. It's an ethos they have for the duration of the cruise. As with any cruise, we had some days at sea and some of these were in bad weather so everyone was looking for things to do and places to go inside the ship. Could we find even one empty armchair in one bar or lounge or cafe to get a coffee? Not a chance! Every single seat was packed out with geriatrics who for all I know had been sitting there from 3 o'clock in the morning just to make sure they got that seat. And many of them were just lolling there asleep. It makes for a truly horrible atmosphere I'm afraid and is very frustrating. I walked the length of the ship 3 times on different decks looking for somewhere to have a coffee. Took me 40 mins to find a dark unrelaxing corner. To further perpetuate the old folks home experience P&O ensured that all the activities were in tune. So during the day expect workshop sessions telling you how to grow Clematis or how to cultivate cuttings ! Computer lessons for the completely technophobic and so on. No doubt I have now offended every mature cruiser that reads this review and I apologise for that, however, I want people to go into an Arcadia cruise with an informed decision. Had I known beforehand I would not have spent those precious holiday days and all that money on a "let's see what Arcadia is like" venture. I would have stuck with the ships that I know and love. Carnival/P&O need to understand pretty quickly that Arcadia looks to have quickly become an old folks home. No doubt there is a great market for that and I wish the best of luck to P&O and to all the older people sailing with Arcadia. However, be mindful of the fact that there are hundreds of other cruisers being slowly alienated, who might otherwise expect a "normal" cruising experience. One where there are seats available and where occupied seats are buzzing with life and banter and atmosphere. We all have choices. It looks like the Arcadia is the place for the elderly. That's just fine. I wrote this review just to ensure everyone else is suitably informed before they book their first time Arcadian experience in the hope of something new, different and exciting. For me it wasn't any of those things. Personally, I will never sail with her again. The design, the ethos and the atmosphere on-board are just not to my taste. I love the formality of the other ships and the courtesy and liveliness on-board. Everyone is different, you must make your own choice, but at least be informed and prepared. The scores I have recorded reflect the normal aspects of those services but all are tainted and spoiled by the wider problem. Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
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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