Embarkation was a shambles as we arrived at our allotted time to find the queue snaking out the registration hall and for a hundred yards round the drop off area. It took us over an hour to get on board. We had booked with another couple and asked for adjoining cabins. We were allocated C67 & C68 which sounded great until we looked on the plan to discover they were on different sides of the ship. Evens one side and odd the other. According to the plan there was a passageway straight across between us next to the laundry. On board we found the passageway no longer existed and we had to walk through the incredibly narrow laundry. (Everyone complained about the smallness and restricted space and constant flooding. Anyone using the iron had to stop ironing to let someone through.)
The food was good although the waiters seemed a bit stretched especially at breakfast. P & O no longer do silver service so all food was plated to the table. We ate at the signature restaurant 'East' on a couple of occasions and the food and service was superb. If you sat down by 6.30 your table got a free bottle of wine.
We also booked for Ocean Grill specifically for the free wine, arrived at 6.25 to be told their rules were different and that we should have sat down by 6.15 so no free wine!! A bit churlish as we were the only ones in there.
I was surprised to find there was a continuous phone and internet service available through MCP Maritime. Phone calls were £1.60 / min to make and £1.30 to receive, texts about 50p. Internet was £35 for 100mins (110 if booked within 3 days.) The service was fairly dismal with an extremely flaky logon and logoff system which saw many people queuing at the desk every morning complaining they had lost all their minutes. I consider myself computer literate as I use them every day but I struggled to get the system to log off with the egg timer just going round and round. Considering the average age and ability of the customers I found this to be a dismal offering from the software writers.
As usual the trips ashore were quite pricey but the real rip off was the Behind The Scenes tour of the ships spaces, engine room, galley, bridge etc. They wanted a whopping £75 per person for a tour which effectively cost them nothing apart from a glass of champagne on the bridge with the captain.
To finish on a high note we found the staff, cabin boy and waiters very friendly and the Footlights dance troupe were superb putting their heart and soul into their performances.
Having been previously on the Oceana (excellent) and the Ventura (dull and too big) we will not be rushing back on the Arcadia. Friends who have just been with Fred Olsen say they are now clear winners over P & O.
The cabin was a good size with binoculars, fridge, safe, flat screen TV etc. If the ship moved at all there was a loud creaking and cracking noises both inside our cabin and out in the passageway/laundry area. This seemed louder at night when the cabin above was occupied and woke us up on several occasions. This seemed to only affect this area of the ship. The glass balcony screen were not cleaned either for our embarkation or at any time during the cruise so were opaque with salt residue.