Our 15th cruise with P&O and our first on Arcadia, which means that we have now been on all ships in the P&O fleet at least once, so can make direct comparisons between them all. We booked this cruise as we wanted to see the Fjords to Flaam and Olden, as our previous attempt (on Britannia) failed as P&O cancelled both ports a few months before (this has happened at least 6 times that I know of with Britannia).
The itinerary certainly didn't disappoint. Both places were lovely and the cruises down the very long fjords were spectacular, especially as we had an aft corner wrap suite, which enabled us to enjoy some evening meals on the huge balcony whilst soaking in the views. Stavanger was pleasant (but we have been twice before) and Haugesund was interesting but like a ghost town - even though we were there Friday lunchtime!
Although we very much liked our suite and we particularly enjoyed the Ocean Grill (Marco Pierre White restaurant), we found the main dining room (Meridian) to be the first poor one that we have experienced with P&O. The food was fine, but the layout is very poor. Tables for four were too small and a large proportion were alongside the main thoroughfare around the restaurant, so were not relaxing at all. We are used to having to take a pager for evening meals at peak times (Freedom dining) but have never had to stand around waiting for a table to become available at lunchtime before - yet we had to do this several times. I was told by a staff member that the waiters don't like this particular restaurant either and, frankly, you could tell. We are great fans of the main dining rooms elsewhere in the fleet (especially Aurora, which is superb) but not this one.
Smaller than the suites on Britannia (especially the bathrooms) but perfectly adequate. Loads of wardrobe space but several had no hangers at all. In total, there weren't enough hangers for a one week cruise, let alone a longer one. The cabin steward provided more (wire ones) on request. Having enjoyed the lovely big marble bathrooms with huge showers with glass doors on Britannia, this one was low rent in comparison, with a tiny shower cubicle and horrible clingy curtain. The balcony was perfect. Very deep at the rear, with 50% covered (for shade) and 50% open, as well as a fully covered side section. We enjoyed a few evening meals, served by the Butler, on the balcony as we cruised down the fjords. Best of all, we didn't have any of the soot issues that blight the aft cabins and suites on Britannia.
The best port to depart from as you transit Southampton Water, then the Solent past the fabulous Isle of Wight. The QE2 terminal wasn't great as the air bridge wasn't working (which resulted in delays) and there was no air con, so it was stifling.
A lovely port although you can have a good look around in just an hour or two. We did a 'Leisurely Stavanger' excursion the last time we visited and it was rubbish, so this time we just wandered around.
A lovely port from where we did the Glacier by Troll Car excursion, which was lovely. Great scenery on the way and we were relieved to have a lift in the troll car as it was a very long uphill walk. We were lucky that, as we reached the glacier, there was a noise like thunder and we saw an ice fall