We liked the ship itself and our balcony cabin was clean, spacious and comfortable. The public areas were well decorated and tidy with decent carpets and fabrics. The atrium was a little disappointing - not very grand and if you blink you will miss it. We were however disappointed with the cruise in general. We didnt feel that it was a special holiday - a treat, as we have experienced on equal, and lesser graded ships. Arcadia has the potential because we heard several people comment that they had been on this ship in the past and enjoyed it in the past and they said that there had definately been a fall in standards.
We found the food at the evening meal to be fairly average on the whole, with some very good courses occassionally. The buffet lunches were really dreadful and as for the 'chocolate extravaganza' well it was served in the hour before you had to be on board the ship - so it was easy to miss it. waiters served you to one piece of coconut ice which they dipped in the chocolate fountain and then there were 3 small tables of mixed cakes - mostly not chocolate. There were no chocolate dipped strawberries, beautifully decorated gateaux or other luxurious items , it was all very very average.
The ships' staff in general seemed to not really care about providing a good service, one day at sea we were on top deck (11) sunbathing for an hour and no waiters came around at all.I walked around deck and not one customer had a drink, on deck 10 it was the same. When i went to the nearest indoor bar on the deck below there were 3 waiters standing doing nothing and i asked why they werent serving either deck 10 or 11 and was told it was because of the windy weather. One waiter did take my order and bring it to my sunbed, but only after i had sought him out and asked him to. It would have been helpful if a sign had been posted somewhere to let people know there would be no waiter service.
So, overall not good enough, not special, certainly not luxurious.
The evening and daily entertainment seemed geared entirely to the older clientele, the 2 proper shows on the nights were very much the same, singing songs from old musicals. Costumes, singing and dancing skills were very good but the type of show just wouldnt appeal to everyone - hence lots of empty seats in the theatre both nights.During the day there was ballroom dancing, bead necklace making sessions, quiz of 50's music etc etc - there seems to be a theme here.
Norway was nice but 4 days of Norway would have been too much. It is expensive, and there is nothing much to do at each stop. Trips were expensive to book. Thankfully we were unable to dock at Stavanger, our last stop, due to a port strike and our captain diverted to Zeebrugge in Belgium which meant we were able to visit Bruges - the chocolate and beer capital of Europe ! Fabulous , and such a pretty town to walk around. I would definately recommend that P&O keep this in the itinerary for future cruises as it was a definate highlight of the cruise.
So, we did get value for money because we paid a very reasonable price for our balcony cabin. However, we upgraded 3 nights out of 7 to the speciality restaurants on board . They were both well worth the money. If you are under 65 i would definately not recommend this cruise. Sorry P&O but you must try harder, many people said Arcadia must be the poor relative as all the other ships were much better. Shame on you for letting one of your ships become laclustre and horribly average. It has definately put me off cruising with P&O in the future. Sorry.