We are veteran cruisers and first sailed on P&O Arcadia in her maiden year of 2005. This was our fifth cruise on her. Oh dear: I really hate to be the one to say it, but P&O are a shadow of their former selves. Their standards have not so much dropped as plummeted. While the positives, on the whole, outweighed the negatives, we did find a couple of issues to be more than a little annoying/worrying. These were:
1. The general maintenance (or lack thereof) of the ship. The ship is only 17 years old but we have been on 50-year-old vessels that have been better maintained. Not only did her white paintwork on the hull have lots of rust streaks, her plumbing worryingly left a lot to be desired. We came across lots of buckets around the ship, placed to catch the many leaks coming in the ceilings; one of them, outside the Crow's Nest, had the water coming through the smoke detector! A H&S issue if ever there was one. In addition, I would say approximately 75% of the public toilets around the ship had "Out of Order" signs stuck on the doors. If you were lucky enough to find a toilet that actually flushed, your next challenge was finding a sink with hot water or even any water at all. We never saw anyone around the ship doing any maintenance, and these issues persisted during most of the 10-day cruise.
Considering there were a number of norovirus cases on board where we were continually reminded to wash our hands with soap and hot water, it would have been good if we could have actually found any working hot taps!
Spacious balcony cabin on deck 4. Larger than average balcony. Pleasant cabin, but is now only serviced once a day. There is no turndown service and no chocolate on your pillow.
We love Oslo and it was our third visit. It was very cold, -14 degrees. We took the bus to the Fram and Kon-Tiki museums and spent all day in there as there was so much to see and do. Fantastic stuff.
At Christmas a visit to the Tivoli Gardens is a must and it was magical at this time of year. We were in port overnight so it gave us an extra day to explore, and we used the hop-on-hop-off bus to get around. We had visited several times before but there's always plenty to see and do.
Who doesn't love Amsterdam. We did our own thing in port and visited the Van Gogh museum which is an absolute must. Plenty to see and do in Amsterdam, it's a pity our visit was cut short as we had to leave early due to adverse weather.