This was my and my husband’s honeymoon – having never done a cruise before we did not know what to expect and so this is an honest review from first time cruisers ! Embarkation This was swift and well organised. Having arrived at the Cruise Terminal around midday with an embarkation time of 2.30, we were lucky to be sat in Arcadia’s Belvedere Restaurant at 1.45 having lunch with our room ready soon after. Disembarkation This was dealt with very well. We were at our allocated place at 9.45am and in our car by 10.10am Dining There are two main places to dine – Meridian and Belvedere (the latter being the buffet). We dined at The Meridian on 3 occasions and found the food to be average. We had salmon on two occasions and each time it was severely overcooked (crusty almost). It was also disappointing that some of the specified ingredients were not actually included within the meals – ie crab salad consisted of just carrot and onion (no crab !), and a sponge with a hazelnut crumble and a praline wafer had no wafer and just a whole hazelnut placed on top of the sponge ?? We knew that by choosing Freedom Dining we may well be given a pager if there was no available table so that we could “enjoy a drink in the piano bar”. Each time we ate in the Meridian we got there as it opened and were immediately given a pager and had to wait nearly an hour each time. On two occasions of waiting such a length for a table for two we were made to sit on a table for four (didn’t mind this but surprised after waiting especially). Also when you are shown to your seat you walk past many empty tables which just makes one wonder whether being given a pager is to make you spend money at the bar ? The food in the Belvedere Restaurant is also only average – again fish being put out for guests to eat already well overcooked (boquerones completely inedible like cardboard and already burnt salmon). Also there are two rows of food shielded by a plastic screen. Whilst it is appreciated that the screen is to ensure germs are kept away from food, it is also impossible to reach the food at the back and the chefs did not attempt to assist ! The carvery consisted of a small joint of meat with re-cooked frozen roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese with bland, watery carrots and swede – no other vegetables apart from brussel sprouts one day. Also the Belvedere, for some of the evening, was half shut off to paying passengers so that the crew could eat. This was ridiculous as passengers were having to chase free tables and some even had to eat by the Neptune Pool when the half of the shut off Belvedere only contained about 6 crew members ??? Also the air con is on full blast in The Belvedere making it freezing to sit and eat Entertainment The theatre has shows at 8.45 and 10.30 and we understand that these are new timings. However we could not see a show until the fourth night as unless you “claimed your seat” at about 7.30 you did not stand a chance of seeing the show at 8.45. We were told by other passengers that the previous timings for shows worked very well for passengers. There is music at other venues – ie Crow’s Nest, the Rising Sun and the Globe – but these are only for about 30 minutes at a go and were usually on all at the same time and so there are times within the evening that there is no music/entertainment at all. As to the Globe, this is way too small and The Retreat is a waste of space according to other passengers being used only by the dance instructors. The casino was never used, on our trip, by passengers and we felt extremely sorry for the numerous members of staff just standing around for hours on end each night. Black Tie Events We enjoy dressing up – who doesn’t – but we were offended one night in the Crow’s Nest. Unlike others going into the Meridian Restaurant we had dressed up. However due to being overwarm and nowhere to place his suit jacket, my husband left it in our cabin after our meal. We went to the Crow’s Nest for a drink only to be asked to leave because of no jacket ! Despite my husband obviously wearing suit trousers and a tie it was still not good enough. We explained that it was too hot for a jacket and were told that as long as he had it by his side it would be acceptable !! Really -what was the difference in having it by the side or not wearing it !!! RIDICULOUS The Black Tie Gala Dance in The Globe was also poor. We attended the second one only to find it was really a night for the dance instructors to tell everyone what dance they could do and not for general enjoyment of those who did not wish to do The Waltz or whatever Accommodation The ship had a major refurb last year. Well our Deluxe Balcony Cabin was ok – nothing special, dated and in need of modernisation. The balcony was rusty and the panels between balconies were extremely noisy – wooden wedges are used to stop the rattling but these don’t last long before falling out ! Our cabin keys did not work on three occasions and we were told not to place them next to our mobile phones – we had not done this ! In fact the last time they did not work we visited Reception who for some reason already had the new ones ready for us – how did they know that our keys were not working ?? Alcohol Since booking our cruise 16 months ago P&O’s alcohol policy has changed in that you can only bring on 1 litre each of spirits each. They claim that this is in line with other cruise lines and also to ensure that no passengers become unruly – however they are more than happy to sell alcohol to you ! As to cocktails – don’t bother buying them. They may seem a reasonable price but they are not as if you watch them being made no actual measures of spirit are put in – just a swig and so you are paying through the nose just for juice. Cruise Loyalty Staff We attended the Cruise Loyalty and Future Cruise office once (the queues were ridiculous) but did not like the attitude of the lady who we spoke to. She could not get rid of us quick enough and there was not even anyone else waiting. We decided to use the Library to look at the cruises we spoke to her about and found them to be cheaper on P&O’s own website ! Staff The Entertainment staff were ok – never pushing you to do anything but there was a severe lack of things to do but maybe that is because of the general age of the Arcadia’s clientele ? Our Cabin Steward worked very hard – very long hours and always a smile. As to the restaurant and waiting staff – they simply are a credit to P&O. They are so polite and friendly and professional and remembered your drink and your name. Ports of Call It was a shame that on some port days most of the shops were shut ! Summary We have used this first cruise as a learning curve and having booked our second for 2020 will ensure we don’t make the same mistakes !

First Cruise - Long but honest review

Arcadia Cruise Review by debandmick

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was my and my husband’s honeymoon – having never done a cruise before we did not know what to expect and so this is an honest review from first time cruisers !

Embarkation

This was swift and well organised. Having arrived at the Cruise Terminal around midday with an embarkation time of 2.30, we were lucky to be sat in Arcadia’s Belvedere Restaurant at 1.45 having lunch with our room ready soon after.

Disembarkation

This was dealt with very well. We were at our allocated place at 9.45am and in our car by 10.10am

Dining

There are two main places to dine – Meridian and Belvedere (the latter being the buffet). We dined at The Meridian on 3 occasions and found the food to be average. We had salmon on two occasions and each time it was severely overcooked (crusty almost). It was also disappointing that some of the specified ingredients were not actually included within the meals – ie crab salad consisted of just carrot and onion (no crab !), and a sponge with a hazelnut crumble and a praline wafer had no wafer and just a whole hazelnut placed on top of the sponge ??

We knew that by choosing Freedom Dining we may well be given a pager if there was no available table so that we could “enjoy a drink in the piano bar”. Each time we ate in the Meridian we got there as it opened and were immediately given a pager and had to wait nearly an hour each time. On two occasions of waiting such a length for a table for two we were made to sit on a table for four (didn’t mind this but surprised after waiting especially). Also when you are shown to your seat you walk past many empty tables which just makes one wonder whether being given a pager is to make you spend money at the bar ?

The food in the Belvedere Restaurant is also only average – again fish being put out for guests to eat already well overcooked (boquerones completely inedible like cardboard and already burnt salmon). Also there are two rows of food shielded by a plastic screen. Whilst it is appreciated that the screen is to ensure germs are kept away from food, it is also impossible to reach the food at the back and the chefs did not attempt to assist ! The carvery consisted of a small joint of meat with re-cooked frozen roast potatoes and cauliflower cheese with bland, watery carrots and swede – no other vegetables apart from brussel sprouts one day. Also the Belvedere, for some of the evening, was half shut off to paying passengers so that the crew could eat. This was ridiculous as passengers were having to chase free tables and some even had to eat by the Neptune Pool when the half of the shut off Belvedere only contained about 6 crew members ???

Also the air con is on full blast in The Belvedere making it freezing to sit and eat

Entertainment

The theatre has shows at 8.45 and 10.30 and we understand that these are new timings. However we could not see a show until the fourth night as unless you “claimed your seat” at about 7.30 you did not stand a chance of seeing the show at 8.45. We were told by other passengers that the previous timings for shows worked very well for passengers.

There is music at other venues – ie Crow’s Nest, the Rising Sun and the Globe – but these are only for about 30 minutes at a go and were usually on all at the same time and so there are times within the evening that there is no music/entertainment at all.

As to the Globe, this is way too small and The Retreat is a waste of space according to other passengers being used only by the dance instructors.

The casino was never used, on our trip, by passengers and we felt extremely sorry for the numerous members of staff just standing around for hours on end each night.

Black Tie Events

We enjoy dressing up – who doesn’t – but we were offended one night in the Crow’s Nest. Unlike others going into the Meridian Restaurant we had dressed up. However due to being overwarm and nowhere to place his suit jacket, my husband left it in our cabin after our meal. We went to the Crow’s Nest for a drink only to be asked to leave because of no jacket ! Despite my husband obviously wearing suit trousers and a tie it was still not good enough. We explained that it was too hot for a jacket and were told that as long as he had it by his side it would be acceptable !! Really -what was the difference in having it by the side or not wearing it !!! RIDICULOUS

The Black Tie Gala Dance in The Globe was also poor. We attended the second one only to find it was really a night for the dance instructors to tell everyone what dance they could do and not for general enjoyment of those who did not wish to do The Waltz or whatever

Accommodation

The ship had a major refurb last year. Well our Deluxe Balcony Cabin was ok – nothing special, dated and in need of modernisation. The balcony was rusty and the panels between balconies were extremely noisy – wooden wedges are used to stop the rattling but these don’t last long before falling out !

Our cabin keys did not work on three occasions and we were told not to place them next to our mobile phones – we had not done this ! In fact the last time they did not work we visited Reception who for some reason already had the new ones ready for us – how did they know that our keys were not working ??

Alcohol

Since booking our cruise 16 months ago P&O’s alcohol policy has changed in that you can only bring on 1 litre each of spirits each. They claim that this is in line with other cruise lines and also to ensure that no passengers become unruly – however they are more than happy to sell alcohol to you !

As to cocktails – don’t bother buying them. They may seem a reasonable price but they are not as if you watch them being made no actual measures of spirit are put in – just a swig and so you are paying through the nose just for juice.

Cruise Loyalty Staff

We attended the Cruise Loyalty and Future Cruise office once (the queues were ridiculous) but did not like the attitude of the lady who we spoke to. She could not get rid of us quick enough and there was not even anyone else waiting. We decided to use the Library to look at the cruises we spoke to her about and found them to be cheaper on P&O’s own website !

Staff

The Entertainment staff were ok – never pushing you to do anything but there was a severe lack of things to do but maybe that is because of the general age of the Arcadia’s clientele ?

Our Cabin Steward worked very hard – very long hours and always a smile.

As to the restaurant and waiting staff – they simply are a credit to P&O. They are so polite and friendly and professional and remembered your drink and your name.

Ports of Call

It was a shame that on some port days most of the shops were shut !

Summary

We have used this first cruise as a learning curve and having booked our second for 2020 will ensure we don’t make the same mistakes !
debandmick’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin E5
Adequate but dated In need of modernisation Very noisy balcony separators - need to be looked at Noise transference from theatre below
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