We chose this cruise because it went to a few ports we hadn't visited before, and it was at a time (April) when we thought the weather would be good but not too hot. We have sailed with P&O 6 times before and 3 of those on Arcadia, and have always enjoyed ourselves. Not on this occasion. We were surprised when our Cabin Steward advised us there was no evening turn-down and that he wasn't allowed in the cabin unless the Make Me sign was on the door. We found later that this meant towels weren't changed regularly in the evenings and ordering water etc meant we had to be in our cabin when it was delivered. We weren't too fussed about the lack of chocolate on our pillows but other passengers were!. We were on Freedom Dining - a misnomer as it should have been called Queuing Chaos Dining. Our first experience was an hour wait for a table for 2 and although it got down to about 30-40 minutes that was still not what we expected, and have experienced on other ships. The system and processes don't work and even bringing in more staff didn't improve much. Tables were left uncleared while people were still queuing outside, and is quite off-putting for this still eating.
There was very little to do during sea days compared to other cruises. On a 19 night cruise we had only two speakers, one of whom we had seen before. There were lots of quizzes and even though we like quizzes we got bored with 4 or 5 a day. There didn't appear to be a Cruise/Entertainment Director or Manager for the first half of the cruise and some of the entertainment staff were new and inexperienced. That was also true of many staff and crew - after the world cruise it seemed a lot of experienced crew members had been transferred to the new ship or had finished their contracts and gone home.
Somewhat concerning was the report of 2 fires on the ship. One was in the Incinerator, where you might expect a fire but not one to be reported over the ships tannoy, and the other in the Medical Centre, where you don't expect a fire at all. The Italian authorities took that seriously and we were delayed from leaving port for several hours.
Deluxe Balcony but unfortunately just above the lifeboats so a small balcony. Otherwise cabin facilities were fine but no water on arrival, we had to order that regularly, and some difficulty in getting towels as no means of contacting Housekeeping except via Reception.
We thought about getting the train and doing it al ourselves but eventually decided to go on a ships tour - thank goodness as it is a long way up to the village from the railway station! Beautiful village and well worth a visit.