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18 P&O Cruises Asia Cruise Reviews

We sailed on a 24 night cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong and stayed in cabin E150. The cabin was spacious and had a slightly larger balcony than other deck cabins, as we were aft of the lifeboats. Cabin steward, Mitesh, was excellent and ... Read More
We sailed on a 24 night cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong and stayed in cabin E150. The cabin was spacious and had a slightly larger balcony than other deck cabins, as we were aft of the lifeboats. Cabin steward, Mitesh, was excellent and managed to clean our room most days without us even seeing him. Overall the cruise, entertainment and food were excellent and very good value for money. Although some passengers considered the decor slightly tired we thought it was fine but understand that the ship is due a refit in May. We did have to pay for wi-fi connection, which seemed a little penny pinching for what otherwise was great value. Very much enjoyed Chris Shaw, who was fab on the saxophone and also Iris Gonzales who tried very hard to teach us Spanish! Never short of things to do and had a very enjoyable and relaxing holiday. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We booked this section of the Arcadia's world trip in early 2015 as we were tempted by the stay in Sydney, the airline offered and the Great Barrier Reef. As an afterthought I consulted Cruise Critic and saw that many of the reviews ... Read More
We booked this section of the Arcadia's world trip in early 2015 as we were tempted by the stay in Sydney, the airline offered and the Great Barrier Reef. As an afterthought I consulted Cruise Critic and saw that many of the reviews commented on the "Arcadia Cough". Having just had a terrible time in Florida and New York with a cough and wheezing chest I tried to cancel the trip. Our travel agent refused to cancel and in the end we decided that we should risk it. Thank goodness for that! We loved the Arcadia and I can honestly say that I did not hear anyone coughing throughout the trip. The first night in the Meridian free dining restaurant was not a roaring success as I chose the tomato soup (It was nominated as a favourite of Arcadia passengers) which was worse than any tomato soup I had ever tried. I mentioned it to the waiter who passed on my comment to the restaurant manager who listened politely and said he would pass on my comments to the Chef. From that moment the food became better and better if I can forgive them for the Morton Bay Bug which they served on the first of two Formal nights. I always took breakfast in the Belvedere self-service restaurant which had a huge choice of hot and cold dishes. I would have liked some Indian-style dishes occasionally but that is nit-picking. My mother had her breakfast at 9.30 am in the cabin. Our cabin was a last minute allocation and it was designed for handicap access. It had the biggest bathroom (shower only) I have ever had in a cruise ship and an excellent balcony on the port side reasonably near the forward lifts on Egypt deck. The theatre, the Crow's Nest bar and the pub are all at the front of the ship. It was nice to be able to sit in various places on the ship without having to put up with cocktail pianists and loud singing duos which for me blighted such ships as the Victoria. It reminded me of the QM2 in its sound free zones. We loved the bridge classes and the daily duplicates run by Tony and Sheila Cordery and the mini-concerts in the Globe. but for the most part the theatre acts were forgettable. The entertainment team were great fun and never forgot that they were there for us - I have been on many ships where the Entertainment staff were very highhanded in their approach. We took private tours at all the ports of call and thought that Yorkey's Knob was the most enjoyable and worth another day because of the choice of excursions. Manila was an interesting port but there was very little to do other than shopping. The Queen Mary 2 is till our favourite ship but our Arcadian experience was extremely enjoyable Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this cruise mainly because of price and the itinerary. Our boarding was earlier than expected and as we entered the ship we were welcomed and advised that our cabin was ready. Our balcony cabin was spotless and our steward Stenley ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly because of price and the itinerary. Our boarding was earlier than expected and as we entered the ship we were welcomed and advised that our cabin was ready. Our balcony cabin was spotless and our steward Stenley was wonderful. The refit she in 2014 certainly made her look brand new. We chose Freedom Dining, so we ate mainly in the Medina or the upstairs Horizon Buffet. Since the ship introduced the Beach House for an evening option for an extra 5 Pound, only half of the hot servery was open to the Horizon diners. This caused queue's up to 40 feet long. This looked like just another way of raising another 5 quid out of people. Having said that , the food in the Beach House was magnificent. We did think the Horizon was very "canteen-ish" with not a huge variety from day to day. We had breakfast in the Medina at times, but were surprised they only offered our favourite "eggs benedict" on Mondays. Couldn't work that one out. We went to few shows in the Curzon and they were usually good. We joined in the "battle of the sexes " trivia on sea-days, which was good fun.The service was very good ,although some of the Medina waiters looked dis-interested. We must mention an episode that was really frustrating. Unless you asked for 'slow service', which we didn't realise you could, often we would still be eating our entree when others at the table were being served main course. We had heard that Captain Patrick Maguire was only filling in until Hong Kong at which time Captain Philpott would take over. When we couldn't enter the port of Shanghai because they had closed the port because of weather, we ,along with dozens of other vessels were forced to wait. I believe we were given times to pick up the pilot and enter only to have that withdrawn at the last minute. We therefore lost valuable time and were forced to cancel our Taiwan visit so we could be in Hong Kong on time.We completely understood the decision Captain Maguire had made and we realise reaching a port is never guaranteed. There were however passengers who believed we could have entered the port had he acted more proffesionally. We felt this was terribly unfair to him. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This cruise was a 20 day leg of a world cruise, from Hong Kong to Dubai and was our third cruise on Arcadia, sixth with P & O. The boarding process in Hong Kong was efficient and went very smoothly. One unfortunate aspect of this ... Read More
This cruise was a 20 day leg of a world cruise, from Hong Kong to Dubai and was our third cruise on Arcadia, sixth with P & O. The boarding process in Hong Kong was efficient and went very smoothly. One unfortunate aspect of this cruise was the itinerary change; we had booked this cruise because we liked the itinerary and although we had already been to most of the ports before we had not been to Muscat so were looking forward to going there, but instead of going to Muscat we went to Abu Dhabi. If we had known about the itinerary change at the time of booking we would not have booked a post cruise Dubai hotel, but we were stuck with it because we had none changeable air tickets. Acadia still went to Muscat but this was now on the next leg of the cruise after we had disembarked. P & O stated that the itinerary change was upon advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office regarding civil unrest in Egypt, so they cancelled visits to the ports of Safaga and Sokhna. Arcadia was due to visit these ports on the next leg of the world cruise, not the leg we were on, so we feel that P & O should have left the itinerary on the leg we were on unchanged!!! Internet research appeared to show that other cruise lines were still sailing to Safaga and Sokhna. Meridian Restaurant Owing to the noise level and rushed service in the Meridian restaurant we tended to have diner in the Ocean Grill. The Meridian is quiet at lunch times, but the food was not very good. Ocean Grill The Ocean is an oasis of excellent food and service, well worth paying the supplement to dine there. However it is possible that things might go downhill because an early dinner’s offer of a free bottle of wine. This has placed the excellent and very hard working maître d' and wait staff under great pressure and it is near impossible for the tiny galley to keep up with the all the orders. We hope this ill-conceived policy does not reduce the Ocean Grill's standard of service down to the rushed, bang it down service of the Meridian Restaurant. Wine Package P & O offer a wine discount package, however you cannot purchase a package in the Ocean Grill only the other restaurants or by telephoning the Wine Line. So I telephoned the Wine Line, the gentleman I spoke with informed me of the details and said they should have been a leaflet in the cabin, he confirmed that although a Wine Package could only be purchased in the main restaurants and bars it could be used in the Ocean Grill and East. As there was no leaflet in our cabin I asked if I could have one, and was told to telephone Room Service as they would deliver one to the cabin straight away. I telephoned Room Service, the lady I spoke with said that they did not have the leaflets but would get one from a bar and bring it to the cabin, it never arrived, so I went down to a bar and collected one myself. The Belvedere The food was not up to the standard of the equivalent Restaurant on Princess Cruises. Formal Nights According to the printed information we received when boarding there were going to be 5 formal nights on the 20 night cruise, however this information proved to be incorrect as P & O changed this to 4. We thought this was still too many as it was very hot. P & O might like to consider scraping formal nights and imposing a sensible dress code similar to Oceania Cruises smart casual? Shore Excursions The excursions ran fairly well, a few arrived back at the ship later than the scheduled times, I thought the coaches were a little overcrowded, although there were always enough seats, but very few spare. Immigration All immigration formalities went well with the exception of India. It appears that Indian Immigration Officers should have boarded Acadia in Malaya to process the passengers and crew during the transit between Malaya and India. However they failed to board in Malaya, and only boarded after the ship arrived in India. The passengers had to queue up the entire length of the ship and halfway back again. We were fifty minutes in the queue, ship's crew were going along the queue with cups of water and asking if anyone was feeling faint? This ridiculous immigration process meant that some of the shore excursions left an hour late. Considering the Indian Government charge a high fee in advance for visas, which are compulsory if you are going ashore or not, it was a very poor show. It is very unlikely we would ever book another cruise which included a port in India. Reception All the reception staff were welcoming and excellent at their jobs, well done the reception. Leaks At times when walking around the ship we noticed various buckets placed to catch water dripping out of the ceilings. We didn't know if the dripping water was because of plumbing leaks or air conditioning problems. One of the public area toilets was out of action for days whist the crew was trying to dry it out with a large blower unit. Laundry We used the laundry service 4 times, 3 times the laundry came back in the stated service time and once it was a day late. They charge extra for dress shirts, but they do not do a good job, very poorly ironed. Self-Service Launderette There are not enough self-service laundrettes, they are free of charge but are badly designed with only three machines in each and nowhere to sit. There were several arguments between passengers in the laundrettes, regarding taking other people's washing out of the machines. Acadia Cough We were on Acadia at Christmas, at that time a lot of passengers had what they were calling the 'Acadia Cough', in March and April the 'Acadia Cough' was still prevalent. Cabin B136 This cabin is located in a fairly quiet position Port side aft. It is located opposite a store cupboard but that was not bothersome, however just down the passageway there is crew staircase and it might be this that causes an occasional smell of cooking in the early mornings and evenings. Some of the cabin wall coverings have been patched (rather badly). The bathroom backs onto the bathroom of B134 and appeared to be better insulated for noise than the average cruise ship bathroom. The shower is over the bath, the shower attachment was rather worn and looked like it should have been replaced. One possible problem is noise from B140, the party wall between the cabins is rather poorly insulated for noise. Conclusion The ship is looking a little tired in places, but overall is not looking too bad. However I do believe that P & O are cutting corners to save a pound or two and overall things were not as good as they used to be. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My wife and I have cruised 24 times in the last 16 Years, but this was not a good experience. After 7 Days on board I picked up the 'Arcadia Cough' which lasted for 5 weeks, I have never ever had such a bad chest and cough, ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 24 times in the last 16 Years, but this was not a good experience. After 7 Days on board I picked up the 'Arcadia Cough' which lasted for 5 weeks, I have never ever had such a bad chest and cough, the only other cough I had was on Arcadia 2 Years ago never had another until boarding this ship again. My wife also had the cough and also had conjunctivitis which she has never had in her life before. The Air conditioning was never stable ie hot the cold also smells were also coming thro ie burning etc and other odours . Food on Board was not good my wife could count on one hand the meals that were ok ? . I have never sent so may meals back as being not edible . Food was luke warm , plates were cold also never had a steak that was cooked correctly or edible. Also had a upset stomach for a least 5 weeks now ok that I am at home with food cooked properly. Hot Plates in the Buffet were covered in cling film all over and dishes placed on top hence food not at the correct temp alas never saw any one checking the food temp with probes to ensure temp was ok to eat. Seems that the main chiefs were on Britannia to create a good impression we must have had the left overs. Staff however were very good and did the best they could. Would not book in advance another cruise with P & O again, only deals that are very cheap last minute that all that P & O are worth now I am sorry to say . I would never have thought that standards could ever get this low. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My wife and myself recently travelled on a sector of the world cruise on Arcadia. We joined the ship in Sydney on 21 February 2015 and disembarked in Hong Kong on 16 March 2015. When joining the ship in Sydney we were required to fill ... Read More
My wife and myself recently travelled on a sector of the world cruise on Arcadia. We joined the ship in Sydney on 21 February 2015 and disembarked in Hong Kong on 16 March 2015. When joining the ship in Sydney we were required to fill in a form stating our health was in good condition. How come we were required to do this when a fair few of the passengers already on the ship were suffering from chest infections and a persistent cough?. Naturally after a week or so at sea we also caught the bug. Actually one of the crew members advised that the only way to overcome this is to take plenty of vitamin C tablets. Maybe P & O should advise forthcoming passengers of this tip. It has taken us 2 weeks at home to get healthy again and that is after visits to our local Doctor. Apart from that the cruise was fairly good. The cabin was excellent as was the food. The Headliners were excellent and most of the other performers were good to average. The service from the crew was very good. We felt the Shore excursions were overpriced and definitely not value for money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We have just returned from R 401 world cruise - Hong Kong to Southampton, 47 nights. I agree with others that the food varied from edible to diabolical in quality, and diabolical in quantity. We were in Medina, 2nd sitting. On lobster ... Read More
We have just returned from R 401 world cruise - Hong Kong to Southampton, 47 nights. I agree with others that the food varied from edible to diabolical in quality, and diabolical in quantity. We were in Medina, 2nd sitting. On lobster evenings, I was served lobster amounting to two mouthfulls. Lunches were worse. Crab Risotto had a few minute pieces of Crab Stick, not crab. Plaice, when removed from the batter, was no more than two small mouthfulls. The final straw was the 'sticky lemon chicken'. I had to look for the chicken. Eventually, from among the stir fries, I extracted 4 tiny pieces of chicken. I took a photograph for posterity, and then complained to the officer in charge. I was served more chicken (6 pieces), all with absolutely no sign of 'sticky lemon', which we enjoy at our local chinese restaurant. To sum up, decent food was the exception rather that the rule. We found the entertainment acceptable, although not brilliant. The best, who was outstandingly good, was Bruce Morrison, who did a show based on Les Miserables, given a standing ovation. I heard there were no more that 50 or so people in for the Shakespeare Lecture, and the athlete was worse. A point concerning the On Board Spending Money (OBS). If any passenger is on a loyalty discount of 7.5% or 10%, you are not given this discount on goods bought with OBS. So for every £100 of OBS, you are in fact only receiving £90 (if on the 10% rate). The talk amongst the passengers was of the 'cost cutting' going on in P&O, which seemed to be much more apparent since their previous cruise. P&O do not cater well for the world cruisers with the number of shows now more limited. to 5 or 6. There is too much repetition with the entertainment, and people stop going to the shows. Nicki Chapman & Sue Holderness were very good. I appeal to the new management at P&O to get things sorted out. If that means increasing prices a bit, then so be it. The amount of adverse criticism I have read does not surprise me. Cabin staff were excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation were good. Luggage collection was chaotic. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Please watch out for upgrade. The cabin we had chosen suited us but we were upgraded without our consent. The cabins that are avoided by the informed include the noisiest. From joggers allowed from 4 am jumping on the roof to parties ... Read More
Please watch out for upgrade. The cabin we had chosen suited us but we were upgraded without our consent. The cabins that are avoided by the informed include the noisiest. From joggers allowed from 4 am jumping on the roof to parties raising the roof till midnight just outside the door is not conducive to sleep. It was hell for us for the thirty nights aboard. Not much use complaining because the staff from the top down live on another planet. Those who think the food is good do not know what fresh fruit and vegetables are. The room steward seemed to be the only person who knew about cleanliness. The Orangery staff wafted around grabbing plates before one was finished the excuse for food served. In the dining room the waiters did not use handkerchiefs etc. but the back of hands or sleeves which was a little off putting. There was always staff standing around doing little. On other ships the cleaning was much more thorough with stairs being cleaned regularly. The entertainment was limited, repetitive and not always interesting. We learnt our lesson and will head back to Princess or Cunard and leave the UK P&O to those who know no better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We had 13 nights which was certainly enough. Our only other cruise was with Cunard and the difference is startling. The pressure to buy drinks, especially by the pool, was at times insolent. The food was standard British fare, plenty of ... Read More
We had 13 nights which was certainly enough. Our only other cruise was with Cunard and the difference is startling. The pressure to buy drinks, especially by the pool, was at times insolent. The food was standard British fare, plenty of potatoes, at least two different ways every meal, well that will fill you up. Chips everywhere. On this note, Marco Pierre White why did you lend your name to this poor excuse for an exclusive restaurant on board? With a stairwell coming out in the middle, people strolling past, and food no better than the main restaurants I cannot see why he did it. Most cruise ships have a signature restaurant which you make a booking for and pay extra and which you are happy to pay for as the food and service is special Not so here. This one was free except for a dinner surcharge and as such gave no special food or presentation. Menu read well but the presentation and cooking was ordinary. Please Marco review your involvement. The theatres were small and the entertainment was constantly suffled around to fit people kn if an act was popular. On a positive note the cabin, balcony, was excellent, great to have a bath and a good sized bathroom. Our cabin steward did his job well. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
The wife and I are in our late 60's and have been travelling internationally, and extensively, for the past 35 years, but we'd never been on a cruise before. We chose this cruise to Singapore for a "toe in the water" ... Read More
The wife and I are in our late 60's and have been travelling internationally, and extensively, for the past 35 years, but we'd never been on a cruise before. We chose this cruise to Singapore for a "toe in the water" experience (pun intended). We specifically chose Arcadia because of its medium size and adults only status. Boarding the ship at Circular Quay could not have been easier. Our car dropped us and our luggage off just a few metres from the entrance and we ran the usual gauntlet of customs and immigration officials, and P&O staff very quickly. So quick indeed that there was no chance of our luggage reaching our cabin before we did. We did a quick tour of the ship and then adjourned for lunch at the Belvedere. Our deluxe balcony cabin was midships on A deck. The cabin was very comfortable with huge storage space. Décor was uninspiring though. There was a large flat panel tv but the quality and variety of programs was poor. Anyway, who wants to watch tv when there's so much else to do? Our only real complaint about the cabin was that the balcony was often unusable because of the smell of cigarette smoke blowing in from adjacent and nearby cabins. We were staggered to learn that P&O still allows smoking in cabins and on balconies, its time they caught up with the rest of the civilised world. The gym facilities were very good and the instructors could not have been more helpful. Unfortunately, the gym was located directly above the Captain's quarters and he had issued an edict that the gym was not to open before 8:00am. Not that we are fitness fanatics, but we do like to exercise at around 6:30am and retire to breakfast at 8:00am or thereabouts. Our dining experience was very good. Most of our breakfasts and lunches were at the Belvedere and there was a wide range of foods to eat. We had chosen Freedom dining for dinners at the Meridian restaurant, and we usually contrived to come in half an hour after the fixed time sittings to ensure we got seated at a large table, to meet new and interesting people. The table service was excellent. We also used the Ocean Grill where the quality of food was raised a couple of notches and service continued to be excellent. The restaurant was half empty which was a shame. We guess people are put off by the GBP12.50 a head cover charge. Worth every penny we said. Entertainment was terrific. The shows at the Palladium were varied and fun. We had the wonderful Pam Ayres one night, truly a highlight. The entertainment may not have worked so well for us had it not been for the Cruise Director, Dom Hones. He was outstanding; he had the gift of being able to get us elderly folk up and jumping around like the teenagers we once were. There was a guitarist, Paul, who gave us a bit of guitar history at the Rising Sun pub. The first time we saw him he played a rousing version of Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" - not what we expected on this cruise! One regret we had was not taking formal evening wear. Friends had advised us that it was not necessary but that was based on their experience with Australian based ships. The dress code was politely but strictly enforced and we had no objection to that. Crew service levels were mostly very good. Our cabin steward was very efficient and helpful. We particularly enjoyed the Captain's midday report and his take on the origins of many common words or phrases. We did not take any shore excursions because we had arrangements with family and friends in Melbourne, Fremantle and Bali. We did not use the ship's internet facilities or casino either. So, overall, how do we rate our first-time cruise? The word is "Excellent" - we ate well, slept well and relaxed completely. There is little doubt that the passenger demographic resembled a large retirement community, with about 1,200 Brits and 700 Aussies making up 95% or so of the total number of passengers. We were surprised to see many wheelchairs, mopeds, walking frames, oxygen tanks, walking sticks, etc and we congratulate all those frail and infirm folk for getting on with life and having the courage to take a cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was a cruise from Singapore to Cape town. We have cruised on this ship several times but never on a sector cruises so we were unsure what to expect. We were not disappointed but she is starting to need a bit of a refurbishment, ... Read More
This was a cruise from Singapore to Cape town. We have cruised on this ship several times but never on a sector cruises so we were unsure what to expect. We were not disappointed but she is starting to need a bit of a refurbishment, particularly the cabins. No interactive TV here like the newer ships. Without too much about the ship, the library is well stocked so you don't need to waste valuable luggage allowance on books. The Rhodes speciality restaurant has been replaced by the Ocean Grill by Marco Pierre White. This was good but not as wonderful as Rhodes, a cheaper cover charge but more basic and not as long or memorable a dining experience. The Orchid speciality restaurant was still as good as ever but we were disappointed to find that the evening dress code did not apply here. Meals in the main dining room - Meridian were good and whilst the buffet restaurant has lots of salads and cooked meats alongside hot dishes at lunch time it does become a bit boring. We were on second sitting which is a bit late at 8.30 -8.45pm but better for us than an early sitting at 6.30pm. Pity there is no flexible dining. The crew were all excellent and the Captain was one of the best we had. if you like atriums this ship doesn't really have one and events such as the Captain's Gala party has to be held around the main swimming pool. The weather was good to us crossing the Indian Ocean but if you don't like being out in the sun the daytime activities are a bit limited. The best was a build your own boat regatta. The cruise itself started by flying into Singapore. This was a bit of a shambles P&O rely on agents at the airport and their organisation skills were a bit slap dash. We were treated to a free trip around Singapore which we didn't know about in advance. A good idea but after an extremely long flight none of us were really interestedThis was obviously because we couldn't board the ship until lunch time and we had a few hours to kill. On the day of disembarkation again we were put in the hands of port agents and just dropped at Cape Town airport without any advice or instructions. Ports of call - Singapore is a huge container port so you need at least the shuttle service to get you out of the docks. We only had the complimentary tour here but have visited before and it is a place well worth visiting and is easy to walk around once you get to the centre. Kuala Lumpur - the ship docks at a cruise trminal in the middle of nowhere so a shuttle ,taxi or excursion is needed to go anywhere. We went on a trip to KL and saw most of the sites sometimes on foot and other times from the coach. We thought this was one of the better trips. Those who used the shuttle service said they only went to a shopping mall and saw nothing else. Note you need local currency to use public toilets here. Langkawi. Another docking in the middle of nowhere. The shuttle takes you to the nearest resort about 10 mins away where there is a public beach and a few shops and cafes. Our trip took in the rice museum and a cable car trip to the top of a mountian. It was expensive for what it was , there were long queues for the cable car, we waited about 40 mins. When we reached the top it was misty so the views were not as good as they could have been. We were told not to get off at the first station or else we would have trouble getting back on to the top. At the top there was also a suspension bridge which was worth visiting but lots of steep steps so not so good if you are not steady on your feet. Mauritius. We wished we had taken a trip because we didn't really see anything of the place. We were warned that taxi drivers tended to rip you off and a few passengers said that had been their experience. The shuttle took us across the bay to a tourist type shopping/ eating complex but there wasn't much there and the town didn't look particularly inviting for exploration. Reunion again a working dock and you needed a shuttle to at least take you to the dock gate if you wanted a taxi. We opted for a shuttle to a beach resort about 30 mins drive away. It was pleasant but it was a very small beach and after a couple of hours we returned to the ship. Again we wish we had taken some sort of tour. Durban - this port of call was originally not included as we were meant to go to the Seychelles but pirates put paid to that. We were given the impression that this wasn't a particularly safe place and not to go out on our own. We were told not to try to walk out of the dock but to use the shuttle. This seemed to made passengers book trips, us included but a quick trip around Durban by coach with a 40 min stop at a botanical gardens was about it. The gardens were lovely and we could have spent longer there but the trip was expensive for what is was. Port Elizabeth. This seemed to be a safer place but it was Easter Sunday and the shuttle took us to a shopping complex by a beach so we didn't see the city. Again we were told not to walk out of the dock area. A quick walk around and we were back on the shuttle in no time. Cape Town - this was the highlight of our whole trip. A lovely place, the shuttle took us to a Waterfront shopping and eating complex that was far better than all the rest. Lots of people went out on the two nights we were docked there to eat as it was very safe. We had a trip up Table Mountain as part of an excursion. If we were doing this again we would get the hop on hop off bus which includes this in its route. the beaches along the coast also looked inviting and could be accessed via the bus. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Overall we 'quite' enjoyed the cruise, but it has to go down as one of our least successful. I'll get the problems out of the way first before giving an overview of the cruise ship. Some of the problems on this cruise were ... Read More
Overall we 'quite' enjoyed the cruise, but it has to go down as one of our least successful. I'll get the problems out of the way first before giving an overview of the cruise ship. Some of the problems on this cruise were caused by events in a previous sector, namely a major drug bust of 4 passengers carrying cocaine who were arrested in San Fransisco and Sydney, before we boarded. (Serious enough to have been reported on Sky News.)However, the result of these events meant that we were a marked ship, subject to the most rigorous screening (full cabin searches, dog sniffing and additional baggage and personal searches especially in remaining Autralian ports and in Bali. Bad luck for anybody carrying small amounts of recreational stuff for own use!)The worst aspect was that we were unable to visit Yorkey's Knob, from where we had hoped to visit the Great Barrier Reef after 30+ years of trying. This was because the Australian authorities decided that Yorkey's Knob didn't have adequate screening for such a dodgy ship, so we would have to be screened at Cairns - but our anchorage position remained the same, and it would have taken hours to tender all 2000 passengers and crew up to Cairns. So Captain decided not worth it at all - we wouldn't have got the the GBR that day. So that was the first disappointment. But there were other difficulties, including a taxi blockade in Bali preventing P&O shuttle buses leaving the pier (so going nowhere)coupled with the pontoon on the pier getting damaged by waves, so preventing tender boats coming to pick up stranded passengers. (Many of whom spent the whole day in a bar off the pier who must have thought it was Christmas birthday and anniversary all come at once.) The Bali authorities appeared to be unable to mend the damaged pontoon, such that engineers from Aurora were despatched to do the job. This took until about 3pm, by which time tours buses that had got through before the taxi blockade were returning. We got to the pier around 5.30 after our tour, to face a 2 and a half hour queue. Medics from the ship had been brought over to identify any urgent medical cases to get priority. Aurora finally left Bali several hours late, with some very disgruntled people (also some very drunk ones). The other 'external' cause of passenger fury was that local tender boats were used as well as ship's tenders in Koh Samui, and the one we were on had a completely incompetent crew incapable of tying up to the Aurora, so passengers sat or stood on open decks in 39 degree temperature stewing while senior P&O officers were sent down to sort things out. Being overheated temperature-wise certainly raised the emotional temperature too.On the ship itself, the only significant problem was the continuous dripping from the air conditioning. The sight of buckets everywhere, and dehumidifiers to dry out soaking carpets, became the butt of continuous jokes both by the entertainers on the ship and the passengers. The staff did what they could, but it was not an edifying sight. It has to be said the weather was very hot and humid for most of this sector. So having got the problems out of the way, how did I rate Aurora? We liked it / P&O a whole lot better than Cunard, which we also experienced this year. Drinks and excursions half the price, so less feeling of being ripped off. Most staff very good, especially cabin and dining room service. Loved the spa, and the gym (though gym far too small given the number of people attending classes), the pools were nice. Library was quite good, there was plenty of public area space, reasonably well kept (ignoring drips). There were some quite good enhancement offerings like art clubs, photo clubs and dance lessons. The theatre was quite nice but too small to accommodate half the passengers (i.e. all of first or second sitting) - which might not have been a problem had there been any alternative entertainment while the show was on. But most nights at 8.30 everything else shut down, so if you weren't having dinner and didn't want to watch the show (or couldn't get in) there was absolutely nothing to do, not even live music in a bar - oh, and the occasional quiz, which is fine if you watch TV a lot and can answer those type of questions. The standard of the food was mostly pretty good (much the same as Cunard, not as good as on the smaller luxury ships). However, the alternative dining venues were a disappointment. Marco Pierre White would not want his name put to what is served in his name in the Cafe Bordeaux. It was 'OK' but much the same as in the Alexandria / Medina restaurants. Te Pennant Grill was maybe slightly better but the heat and humidity made it a less than enjoyable experience up there. Overall, I think most passengers would have had a good time, there are a lot of very loyal P&O passengers. But for us, it confirmed what we thought after our Cunard cruise: we never want to go on such a big ship again. Having a large number of tender ports (over half) plus being forced to moor in big industrial docks well away from city / towns centres, requiring some long shuttle buses rides, the continual queuing for one thing or another, and fixed seating / timing in restaurants - not for us. We also would never go on a sector of a world cruise again.Too few ports and too many sea days, and a different atmosphere with some passengers doing the whole world cruise and the rest continually changing. I like embarking with everyone else (preferably fewer than 400 people) ans sharing the whole cruise in common with them. I did meet some nice people, and would not try to deter anyone from taking a P&O cruise. I just know I won't be doing it again. The itinerary wasn't that great either, once we'd lost Yorkey's Knob for the Great Barrier Reef. I haven't been able to rate all the ports because several are not on the list, and probably for good reason. The last few ports were very repetitive - basically the main attraction was the beach, which when it is really hot is maybe not where you want to spend hour after hour. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I joined Arcadia in Singpore for a very relaxing cruise through Asia visiting Sihanoukville, Bangkok, Phu My, Ha Long Bay, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Nagasaki, Osaka, Rabaul, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney. Overall it was an excellent ... Read More
I joined Arcadia in Singpore for a very relaxing cruise through Asia visiting Sihanoukville, Bangkok, Phu My, Ha Long Bay, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Nagasaki, Osaka, Rabaul, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney. Overall it was an excellent cruise with some fantastic ports and excellent weather. I really did enjoy the cruise and found it very relaxing and entertaining. It had that laid back type of atmosphere onboard opposed to the fast paced mood of short cruises. Public Rooms - were all clean and well presented. Allot of the lounges and bars were spacious and it was very easy to find a place to sit down and relax and do whatever you wanted to do. Cabin - I had a balcony cabin on A deck which was clean and well presented. There was a little cosmetic wear and tear in the bathroom and on the walls, but there was no more wear and tear than you would find in a standard land based hotel. The cabin is excellent for a ship. It in no way compares to a 5 star hotel and if you wanted to compare it to a land based hotel you would be looking at around a 3 star + hotel. Dining/Food - Food is always subjective to the individual and what they like to eat. What I found on Arcadia was that the food served was far superior to any land based fast food chain like McDonalds, KFC, the average hamburger store, RSL/bowling club type food. If you have eaten at some place more upmarket then you will find the food on Arcadia does not compare to that. I found the Neptune Grill for burgers, hotdogs and fast food outstanding during the day and probably the best for day food on the ship. The Belvedere Buffet Restaurant was great for cold meats and salads but for lunch it was the slops line. Breakfast in the Belvedere was excellent as was Dinner. The Meridian Dining Room was always great and my selection always med with my satisfaction. As said above the food was much better than average land based places but not as good as the more up market places. In the 10 years I have been cruising with P&O the food standard has dropped considerably since the Carnival merger. Entertainment - This was excellent and the Headliners Theatre group always impress. The entertainment was run by a great Cruise Director and team who were very energetic and involved with the passengers. We had random guest entertainers to varied tastes on board. If you liked their style and genre then they were great. If the performer does something that your not interested in then obviously there is no point seeing them as you wont like it. Ship/Facilities - Arcadia is showing a bit of wear and tear. Whilst the public rooms that I described above are acceptable there are some small things that do pose a problem. 1. None of the whirlpool spas/jacuzzi's work at all. None of them blow any bubbles or have any jet pressure. They just dont work. 2. The pools are not being heated to a comfortable level. The Neptune Pool (the covered pool) is not heated due to it being under a closing roof and causing too much humidity when the weather is bad. Unfortnately the pool is unusable in cold climates. 3. Some of the decking is coming apart as well as some areas around the ship have leaks. There are pot holes in some of the carpet from the leaks. It is obvious that there are areas of the ship that need attention. It is not bad enough to ruin a holiday, but the lack of maintenance speaks volumes about the attitude of the management and their upkeep of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
I agree with all that 'graham 100' has said about his leg to Dubai. To start with the boarding organisation in Southampton was chaotic. The cabin was very clean and tidy - we had a good steward in Peter. The TV was about a ... Read More
I agree with all that 'graham 100' has said about his leg to Dubai. To start with the boarding organisation in Southampton was chaotic. The cabin was very clean and tidy - we had a good steward in Peter. The TV was about a 15" flatscreen which was pathetically poor together with the service it gave. The ship and decor could have done with some attention but overall it was satisfactory. The food in the Main restaurant was very inconsistent ranging from good to inedible. The Belverdere had fresher food but limited choice. We have cruised on Arcadia before and the food standards were much higher. Generally speaking the restaurant service was not good - the waiters were poorly trained and rarely smiled. Their supervision was almost non-existent. The drinks were fairly priced and the bar service was good. The Captain's 'Cocktail Party' was held in the enclosed swimming pool which was highly inappropriate/too small. The free wines were awful/undrinkable and we opted for a g and t. We had a glimpse of the Captain when he said a few words which was more than some experienced. We didn't bother to subject ourselves to the second 'party'. The elusive Captain was spotted twice when most of the passengers were on excursions! His officers were also rarely seen. The excursion programme was mostly a disaster according to most we spoke to. We had two 50% refunds because the excursions were disastrous. The guy that gave the pre-excursion talks was partly to blame because his information/photos were years out of date. The coaches used in Aqaba and Egypt were old and dirty - something P&O should have checked. There were some good speakers but some should never been allowed on board. The entertainment provided was mixed with a few good acts but mostly they were ruined by poor direction/sound control. The regular group The Headliners (Headbangers)danced quite well but their singing was dreadful. P&O's cost cutting I suspect was mostly to blame for this average and disappointing cruise. P&O are not the only cruise line that is falling into the same trap probably promoted by accountants! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
My husband and I embarked on Oriana with great expectations. What a terrible disappointment this cruise proved to be. Between Sydney and Brisbane we had two engine breakdowns. In Yorkeys Knob the tenders were so late that we were unable ... Read More
My husband and I embarked on Oriana with great expectations. What a terrible disappointment this cruise proved to be. Between Sydney and Brisbane we had two engine breakdowns. In Yorkeys Knob the tenders were so late that we were unable to go ashore. The refrigerator in our cabin did not work and it took four changes of frig in eight days before we got one which cooled. It took three days for a light bulb to be changed in my bedside lamp. We must have had the worst cabin on the ship. In rough seas it was like being on a bucking horse and I was violently seasick. The noise from the thrusters was apalling and we had to leave the cabin to get away from the noise, which was difficult at 5a.m. The meals were poor other than in the Rhodes restaurant where there is a hefty cover charge. Reception staff were offhand and did not know what was going on. To cap it all off we were told that as there were few people disembarking in Bangkok we would have to take our luggage ashore ourselves. P&O have not even had the courtesy to respond to the letter we sent them on disembarkation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
GENERAL OVERVIEW: This was my 21st cruise, so I guess that I have now enough experience to offer a valid assessment of a cruise product. This was my first cruise on P&O. It exceeded my expectations and I left the ship ... Read More
GENERAL OVERVIEW: This was my 21st cruise, so I guess that I have now enough experience to offer a valid assessment of a cruise product. This was my first cruise on P&O. It exceeded my expectations and I left the ship quite satisfied. The itinerary, Singapore to Southampton, was not port-intensive but I love sea days. A cruise to relax indeed and enjoy the ship. Oriana is a beautiful vessel, which offers a variety of lounges and bars and its onboard activities were plentiful to keep one active if so desired. Most memorable were Anderson's, the Libary and Reading Room (Thackeray's) designed by HM's nephew and the panoramic Crow's Nest. Shore excursions were well organized and not expensive compared to other cruise lines. Incidentally, we always prefer booking the ship's own shore excursions for the peace of mind that they offer (the ship will not depart without you in case of a delay), especially in ports out of Europe or USA. This cruise was a great value for money for an excellent cruise product. Other companies charge much more for what P&O delivers. I liked the fact that tips were not automatically charged to our on board account, but we could tip individually at the end of the cruise. The suggested amount ot tipping is what I see as another sign of P&O's honesty towards its customers, as it is much lower than that of other companies, which offer similar standards and experience. Unlike them, P&O does not try to pay its employees by its customers' tips, and this was something that I appreciated much. Price of the drinks in the bars and restaurants were very reasonable and another welcomed feature of the cruise. We found that Portunus, P&O's repeater cruisers' club, offers 5-10% discount on your onboard account, which we found a very nice guesture, especially when compared to other cruise lines. Overall it was a beautiful cruise experience. I would recommend P&O without a doubt and I would travel on them again in a heartbeat. DINING We liked the variety and taste of food in the casual restaurant, the Conservatory. Actually I ended to have lunch exclusively there, while going to the main dining room for dinner only. Food and service in the main Peninsular restaurant were flawless. The menu offered many selections to keep one satisfied. Oriana keeps the old traditions of Silver Service and Petit Fours, which was another nice touch. Interestingly, I did not try the alternative restaurant. Food and service in the main dining room was so good that I didn't feel the need to try something else. ENTERTAINMENT I like going to lectures and these were generally interesting. I especially liked General Sir Michael Rose's presentations. Shows in the Theatre Royal offered a nice variety, following the standards of more expensive cruise lines. The singers and dancers of the Headliners Company were talented people and deserved much praise. STATEROOM We had a wonderful oceanview stateroom on Deck 11. Although we have travelled on larger cabins or suites, it was wisely designed, nicely decorated and we missed nothing. The position of the sofa in the corner enabled one to face directly to the window and enjoy the view when sitting or having lunch. It is a pity that this configuration is not used more widely in other ships and cruise lines. Storage space was ample for a long cruise, with many drawers. The bathroom (with bathtube) was so well designed that it put to shame baths on much more expensive ships and even rivalled some mini-suites in other companies. Our steward provided excellent service and my requests were promptly fulfilled. SERVICE I found the service in restaurants, bars, reception and my cabin flawless. All my requests were kindly and effectively addressed and the crew deserved all their tips. PORTS I would like to speak about ports rather briefly. Singapore was one of the highlights of the cruise. We stayed there pre-cruise at the Changi Village, a nice 4-star hotel with wide spaces and interesting design. We had a private tour of the city before embarking and were impressed by its cleanliness, its wide avenues and modern buildings. A 'Garden City' indeed, it is a western city in the heart of Far East. Don't miss Raffles Hotel in its characteristic British colonial style. Kuala Lumpur was similarly impressive, with its many trees and modern buildings, including the famous Petronas. Like Singapore, it was a pleasant experience to find a clean, western-type city in the East. Mumbai was a slight dissapointment. The city has wonderful buildings, many of them from the time of the British Empire, but they are not well maintained. I heart that New Delhi or Aggra are more interesting. Of special interest was Ghandi's house and the Museum of the Prince of Wales. Sharm-el-Sheikh in the Red Sea is a nice, if somehow sterile and soulless resort. Of special interest is the surrounding desert and its nice beaches. But the top highlight of the cruise in my opinion was the passing of the Suez Canal. As far as I know it is a rare opportunity to cross it by ship, and this is the best way to appreciate its uniqueness. Here the Crow's Nest, Oriana's beautiful front panoramic lounge proved valuable and provided exquisite views. Europe has its own beautiful charm and always fascinates with its culture. Athens, in the 'craddle of the Western civilization', with its Acropolis and Museum is just a 'must' for every traveller and I am sure most fellow 'Cruise Critics' have been there. Lisbon also is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This was my third visit there and I am always delighted with its characteristic atmosphere and its wonderful avenues and squares. Overall very interesting ports of call. As they were cushioned within enough sea days it was relaxing and convenient to visit them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
As regular cruisers we chose our first P & O cruise for its exciting itinerary. Hong Kong to Dubai on a leg of the Arcadia World Cruise. The itinerary did not disappoint and there were some good features on the Arcadia, tea and ... Read More
As regular cruisers we chose our first P & O cruise for its exciting itinerary. Hong Kong to Dubai on a leg of the Arcadia World Cruise. The itinerary did not disappoint and there were some good features on the Arcadia, tea and coffee facilities in the good sized balcony cabin, which you do not get on many American Boats, good headline acts in the theatre, and our evening waiters were efficient. The problem was the standard of food which they were given to serve. The menu was filled with fancy descriptions but what was produced was reminiscent of school dinners. Universally sloppy the only thing with texture was the steaks which were as tough as old boots. A piece of salmon, one scallop and one prawn does not make for a gala night seafood grill, vegetables were either overcooked or stuck together. Breakfast in the buffet offeredplenty of 'English' fare but bacon and black puddings were swimming in grease and the one and only omelette station kept breaking down. We tried the main dining room for breakfast and found slow service and food not cooked to order, i.e. I asked for dry scrambled eggs and after a full 40 minutes got slop! To top it all the lack of finesse was astounding. We drink decaffeinated coffee and the best on offer in the main dining room was a sachet opened and poured into a cup in front of us then topped us with hot water. We tried, in some desperation, to get a decent coffee by paying for it in the coffee shop only to spot the staff putting the same sachets in to the cup, topping it up with frothy milk and charging us for a cappuccino. On complaining we were told 'everyone knows that P & O don't carry decaf coffee' There was a prevalent attitude of P & O can do no wrong or, if there was an obvious problem, 'It isn't my job'. This was particularly prevalent on the embarkation of tours, which were totally disorganised. Being a leg of the World Cruise we found that many of the passengers were very elderly and the atmosphere on board was almost depressing, with little activity in any of the evening venues other than the theatre. Musicians were playing but with next to no audience they looked board to tears, we fancied going to the disco on Abba night but were too embarrassed to dance as we were the only ones there. We felt quite sorry for these entertainers and were not surprised to meet passengers who said that they were ready for going home. We also met P & O die hards who said that Arcadia was the worst ship in the fleet. It was not all bad, but when the food is poor then the overall enjoyment of the holiday is compromised. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We had spent a few days in Dubai visiting family before embarking on Aurora at Dubai cruise terminal so jet lag was long gone and we were relaxed instead of worrying if our plane was going to be delayed etc. This was our 6th cruise, our ... Read More
We had spent a few days in Dubai visiting family before embarking on Aurora at Dubai cruise terminal so jet lag was long gone and we were relaxed instead of worrying if our plane was going to be delayed etc. This was our 6th cruise, our 3rd with P&O but our first time on Aurora so it would be interesting to compare our experience on this ship with elsewhere. Check in at Dubai was relaxed as not many passengers were getting on - about 250 in all we heard. At check in we were asked to complete the usual health form to state that we had not been ill within the last so many days etc. What we were not told was that we were about to walk on a ship with the norovirus present. I smelled a rat as soon as we got on board and went into the Orangery for some lunch - no salt and pepper pots on the tables and the doors to the public toilets were jammed open. No one told us about the virus but there were rumours among those who had embarked in Dubai and the Captain confirmed a couple of days later that the ship was now free of it. I think that passengers have a right to know what they are walking into. We have to sign a health declaration. What about the ship's operator doing the same? In future on boarding I shall be asking if the virus is present on the ship and I expect an answer. P&O be aware that yours will be the next ship I will be boarding. Our cabin had a balcony on the starboard side of the ship. We chose this side so that we would get some sun onto the balcony during the voyage. This worked out really well and spectacularly well when we reached Hong Kong (read on). We usually choose the port side. The cabin was very compact with not as much storage space as we have had on other ships. For example, shelves were very narrow around the dressing table area and a good quarter of the wardrobe was virtually inaccessible as you had to reach right behind a fixed door. Also the top shelf in the wardrobe was too high and so a good half of this was not accessible. The life jackets were kept on this shelf and whilst I am not short in height I had to ask my husband who is 6 feet tall to get mine down as I could not reach it. Goodness knows what would happen in an emergency. There were quite a few hangers in the wardrobe but they were those awful ones with a fixed position and which are useless outside of the wardrobe and none had skirt or trouser grips on their bars. Fortunately I had taken about 20 plastic hangers so we managed. Also the hanging rail was too low and long dresses trailed the floor. Drawer units in the cabin were shallow and the safe small. There was one hook outside of the bathroom and this was in a silly place over a bedside cabinet so you could not hang anything more than a jacket and then you had to be careful as it was spring loaded and shot back against the wall as you removed a garment from it. When we got to the cabin, the beds were apart and separated by the smallest bedside cabinet you have ever seen. This meant that you could hardly walk past the dressing table without banging your leg against the bed. Fearful of getting off the ship with legs black and blue from bruises we moved the cabinet and put the beds together. This then created enough space to get round the dressing table. There were enough mirrors and 2 British style plug sockets. Beds were OK and comfy. The TV was out of the ark - really poor. The balcony was very shallow - just enough room for the 2 recliner chairs and a small table. We have definitely had better cabin facilities on other ships when paying similar money. The bathroom had a shower over a small bath. Good storage cupboards around the handbasin. No shampoo but there was a dispenser over the bath that is supposed to be both shower gel and shampoo. It was something like using Fairy Liquid so I stopped using this after day 1. Fortunately I had taken decent shampoo with us. Even my husband who is not into fancy shampoos gave up after a couple of days on the stuff supplied by P&O. There was a tray by the handbasin containing small containers all of which turned out to be as much use a a chocolate teapot - stuff the average person never uses. What a waste of product. Bath towels were nice and big and changed twice a day. We were assigned to The Alexandria restaurant, 1st sitting on a table for 6. The others on the table had also embarked at Dubai and were also getting off in Hong Kong. We got on really well with them. The food was excellent, well cooked, hot and nicely presented with portion sizes just right and our waiting staff were superb. The table settings and cutlery were good. We utilised a couple of wine packages which we thought good value. All in all, we were more than happy with the Alexandra and looked forward to our dinner each night. The whole table booked to eat together in the Pennant Grill one night. Apart from a cock up with the booking, they accommodated us even though we could not sit outside and the food again was excellent. We also all booked to go to the Cafe Bordeaux one night. Unfortunately we did not return from our trip in time but the other 4 said it was superb and proceeded to taunt us for the rest of the trip over what we had missed!!!!!! We ate breakfast in the Orangery. One problem here was the eggs. You could have hard boiled or "fried" which were kept on a tray for self service, or scrambled. No omelettes, poached eggs, eggs benedict etc. This was poor compared to American ships where you can have your eggs freshly cooked any number of different ways. We ate our dinner once in the Orangery but this was not fantastic. Lunchtime sandwiches were freshly made and good. They could do with having mugs for tea and coffee instead of the cups and saucers and dispensing with the chemical fruit juices. We tried several of the bars and found the service good, cocktails good and the prices reasonable. No complaints here except my husband would have liked draught beer in more of the bars. We went to some shows in the evening and liked them. We also took part in some quizzes to keep the grey matter ticking over. We liked the general decor of the ship - tasteful and clean. Plenty of sunbathing space on deck but what would it be like if the ship was full of young people and children? Good quality sunbeds. The laundrette on deck 9 was great and so useful. We found the staff polite and efficient although some of the reception staff could do better. For example one complaint I put in was never acted upon and I had to go back and start again. We did trips organised by P&O in Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Phu My (Saigon) and Halong Bay (Hanoi). They were all interesting but the Hanoi trip was ill - thought through by the orgainizers and we did not return to the ship until after 8pm when we should have been back before 6.30pm. We did our own thing in Singapore and a whole day out to Sentosa Island cost us £17 which included entrance fees to Fort Siloso. We also did Saigon on our own but got the ship's coach to transfer us from the port to the city. This was an experience and real fun. Eventually we reached Hong Kong where the ship was berthed for 2 days so we had the first night on board before disembarkation. This was where our starboard cabin came in really handy as the ship berthed at the cruise terminal and we were looking directly at HK Island. This meant that we got the symphony of lights show for free. We felt sorry for those you had paid to go on a trip from the ship to see the same stuff. We loved HK (not been before). We were sorry to leave the ship and the friends we had made on board. We loved the itinerary for the cruise except that they could leave out Kemaman in East Malaysia and perhaps include Cochin instead. We also loved the days we had at sea - 4 in a row between Mumbai and KL but perhaps the really good weather helped???!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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