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32 P&O Cruises Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

Just wanted a short break to take some non cruisers on a trial cruise...so we did a 3 nighter from Adelaide to Melbourne in 4 cabins. The ship was old and tired, the staff dis-interested and this reflected in the food, some surly waiters ... Read More
Just wanted a short break to take some non cruisers on a trial cruise...so we did a 3 nighter from Adelaide to Melbourne in 4 cabins. The ship was old and tired, the staff dis-interested and this reflected in the food, some surly waiters and the entertainment. After 3 days, everyone was more than happy to get off ! I dont think I could have handled one day more! So two formal dining rooms serving the same food, Horizon food buffet and 2 and half paid restaurants at £16 per person surcharge plus extras on some dishes eg. £2.50 for an angus burger... The food was lacking in variety and the quality was pretty poor. (I would say Holland America and Princess offer double the variety). Very little fresh fruit eg no bananas in site, salads lacked greenery (surely they could have picked up supplies in perth?). Meat was tough. One roast a night and they would cut two small thin slices! In three days: They could not confirm a golf simulator session. A pilates class was cancelled with no notice, a yoga class also cancelled with no notice and the painting session started half an hour earlier than advertised as they forgot to change their clocks for the half hour difference when crossing into Victoria from South Australia....so I missed that! The cabin was fine. Friendly cabin cleaners. Entertainment was endless quizzes. The stage was cramped .... Must however give a shoutout to the band Caravan who were fabulous. They also had a lady on who talked about the Oceans and the effect of humans on the oceans. Sooooo interesting. Some went to a talk about the Canning stock route but said the presenter was not good. Very limited staff at reception so when you had a question, they would page say the entertainment people who would not get back to them... My husband went back 4 times to ask about a golf simulator booking and he is stillllll waiting for a reply! Very few children but majority were of course British people, being a British ship and average age would probably be 65+ and many walkers, scooters etc In terms of atmosphere, there was none! Some ships just have a positive vibe....this was not one of them! One of our group had a pusher - and he found it easy enough to get around Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We have just returned from a 3 night mini break from Adelaide to Melbourne via Kangaroo Island. The ship herself, is very dated , liked nannas house, only missing the plastic covers on the chairs ! On the positive side, there is a ... Read More
We have just returned from a 3 night mini break from Adelaide to Melbourne via Kangaroo Island. The ship herself, is very dated , liked nannas house, only missing the plastic covers on the chairs ! On the positive side, there is a full length walking track on deck 7, a kettle in the cabin and the pressure in the shower is good. I also loved my balcony, sitting out there reading , listening to the waves or eating breaky was the highlight for me. The other thing that I really liked as there was not the constant pressure to buy things / sales/ spa treatments etc like I've found oppressive on the american ships. This was a standout for me, so thanks P&O , well done ! To be left in peace was much appreciated. On the negative, my cabin was under prepared with nothing in the mini bar but crumbs from the last occupants sandwich, the shower curtain was dirty as where the windows and glass screen on the balcony, the pamper pack had items missing, there were no pool towels or dish of sweets. The TV was tiny and reception poor. Some of the staff were fantastic, others I found were grumpy and seemed put out by even the most simple request. There seemed a lack of pride in the ship. I wasn't expecting gourmet food, but something edible would have been nice- simple food done well, however this expectation was not met. Many of our meals were sent back. Lunch I found the most challenging, wandering around the buffet looking for something edible. The food from the pool side grill was precooked (I think the year the ship was launched) and wrapped, and the dining room served what was on the the buffet. The only nice meal we had was at the Indian restaurant which was an extra charge. Room service breakfast is continental and very basic. The entertainment was also disappointing. I would have really enjoyed an in house cover band. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I have just returned from 4 nights on Arcadia, Auckland, Bay of Islands, Sydney, part of her round-the-Pacific-and the Americas jaunt from the UK. I had a balcony cabin A13 - on Australia Deck. Very nice. Spacious, light, tea and ... Read More
I have just returned from 4 nights on Arcadia, Auckland, Bay of Islands, Sydney, part of her round-the-Pacific-and the Americas jaunt from the UK. I had a balcony cabin A13 - on Australia Deck. Very nice. Spacious, light, tea and coffee making facilities, comfy bed, wonderful room attendant, could not fault it - or perhaps one thing, the print in the picture frame on the wall had slipped in the frame. Nice print - alas badly framed. Irritating. The crew were all very friendly and seemed to be relaxed and enjoying their jobs. Kid free ship with mainly older passengers so nothing was a hassle. I even used the pool. The public rooms were sedate, quiet and very relaxing. I never heard one whinge the whole time I was on board. I thoroughly enjoyed the food and drinks and the drip coffee in the Belvedere was probably the best coffee I have had on any cruise ship. I did not try the specialty restaurants The weather was mostly good. The TV had a great range of programmes and the pool areas were not be blasted with loud offensive music all day. After a recent disaster cruise with P&O Australia this four days of bliss with P&O UK was just what I needed to reaffirm my commitment to holidays at sea with that wonderful old company. What a difference a dark blue funnel can make eh ? Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The Aurora is a lovely ship. The facilities are excellent.The kids club "The Reef" was a real stand out for us as our children loved it and wanted to be there all the time it was open. The staff in the Reef were really wonderful ... Read More
The Aurora is a lovely ship. The facilities are excellent.The kids club "The Reef" was a real stand out for us as our children loved it and wanted to be there all the time it was open. The staff in the Reef were really wonderful with the children and the activities and programs kept them busy and happy. This really made the holiday such a good one for everyone in the family! We had a four berth outside cabin and it was a delight. We loved the biscuits and the tea kettle. We found that the storage space was really good - we had a lot of luggage to store. We didn't feel cluttered or crowded. The toiletries in the shower were high quality. Our cabin steward was fantastic. So obliging and polite. She was a great source of knowledge and our cabin always was kept to a very high standard. We ate on the freedom dining plan and we found the meals in the Medina restaurant were of a very high standard. We also ate at the Lido grill for lunch and Horizons for breakfast and of course the children's buffet each night. We think the food was excellent in all the venues. We ate at Sindhu one evening and it really was a five star experience. So tasty, so beautifully presented, such attentive staff. We also ate at the Glasshouse, and tried one of their wine flights each. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the food was tasty and we had a really wonderful waitress. The wine flight was a definite must try. We thought it was a great overall dining experience. We really loved our cruise on the Aurora. Thank you to P&O for making such a memorable family holiday. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Background: • Aurora was on a world cruise and we took up an offer made by P & O for this sector. • It was our first experience cruising with P & O Cruises (UK) • In the last five years we have cruised with Cunard ... Read More
Background: • Aurora was on a world cruise and we took up an offer made by P & O for this sector. • It was our first experience cruising with P & O Cruises (UK) • In the last five years we have cruised with Cunard (Queen Victoria – twice - and Queen Elizabeth, once); NCL (Pride of America); Oceania Cruises (Regatta); and Princess Cruises (Ocean Princess) Our commentary represents our honest assessment of the cruise based on our past experiences and expectations. __________________________________________________ Boarding Once we reached the check-in desk the process was prompt and efficient. However, progress through the queue was slow, taking over half an hour. Safety briefing This is potentially the most serious issue – we were not advised by any means (ie printed notice, pa announcement etc) of any safety briefing prior to the ship leaving Auckland. We do not know whether or not one was held, and if it was there was no follow-up as to why we did not attend. Our cabin • We had requested twin-bed configuration and this was confirmed by P & O in our travel personaliser on the website. However the cabin was configured as a Queen. It was (eventually) remade by the attendant. The room was somewhat smaller than we had expected. • There were no wine glasses provided (despite P & O making it very clear that passengers were welcome to take a modest quantity of their own wine on board) We did get glasses on request. • There were no cards for ordering room service breakfast (provided later after we asked for them) • No bath robes provided – we were advised by the attendant that they never are. This was the first time we have ever experienced this across several cruise lines. • We were disappointed with the small size of the balcony and the fact it was partially enclosed. Of more serious concern was the poor state of the paintwork around parts of the balcony which showed extensive rust staining. It seems hard to believe the ship recently had a £22 million “makeover”. • A tray of sweets provided was clearly quite old – some of the wrappers had come undone and a number of the sweets were stuck together. The tray itself appeared not to have been cleaned for a considerable time. On a positive note we did appreciate the facility of an electric jug and supplies for making tea and coffee. Housekeeping was generally of an adequate standard, though on one occasion the evening room servicing was missed. Bathroom toiletries were not replaced as we used them. The balcony did not appear to have been cleaned at all during the cruise – small pieces of rubbish that were there when we embarked were still there nine days later when we left. Dining We opted for freedom dining. Regrettably we were disappointed with the standard of food and service in the Medina restaurant. The waiters generally seemed to be going through the motions, with little or no interaction with the customers. Talking among themselves in their own language appeared to have higher priority. We found the menu offerings in this restaurant to be less than memorable. Of particular disappointment was the “New Zealand lamb” which was tough, poorly cooked and poorly carved – in a word inedible – and a poor advertisement for New Zealand produce. In general we found on a number of occasions that menu descriptions of some dishes did not always match the food that was presented – usually in terms of the accompaniments. Horizons Restaurant. The desserts apart, we could find little to recommend this restaurant for either lunch or dinner. We think the lack of a made-to-order sandwich bar and similarly made-to-order pizza & pasta to be a real shortcoming, as was the lack of ice cream machines. On the final night of the cruise, 6 March, we looked in at this restaurant at 8.15pm to find there were very few hot dishes on offer and most of the staff clearing away. Advertised dining for this restaurant was 6.30pm to 9pm. Lido Grill. Very small menu options which did not change at any stage during the cruise. Less than adequate. Sindhu Restaurant. An excellent experience with attentive and knowledgeable staff and quite wonderful Indian food. The Glass House. This became our favourite after Medina had produced such poor showings … once again excellent and friendly staff and although the menu was relatively small we could not fault the quality, taste or enjoyment of the offerings. So the question has to be asked – if the kitchens can do so well for Sindhu and the Glass House – why is the Medina such a disappointment? Entertainment We only saw two performances in the Curzon Theatre – Russell Harrison and the Headliners Theatre Company (“Blame it on the Boogie”). Both were excellent. It was a disappointment to us that a “Captain’s Cocktail Reception”, which we have enjoyed on other ships – including several within the Carnival Group – was not held on this cruise. Internet and library The two ladies operating this service were knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Well done. Tendering Due to lack of immediate berthage in Sydney, the ship anchored for the first day and passengers were transferred by tender to a landing near the Opera House. In general we had no problems with that … EXCEPT … that when returning to the ship conditions boarding the tender were such that they could be considered dangerous due to the violent movement of the tender alongside the jetty. (As an aside - I do have very significant small-boat handling experience, so feel well qualified to make this observation) Conclusions Do we regret having taken this cruise? Well, no. It all adds to our cruising experience. Would we cruise again with P & O Cruises, UK? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it ... Read More
Probably the best ship in P&O's fleet, having sailed on her, around the world and elsewhere, several times since 2007. Sadly her recent refit has removed one of her most loved features - The Bordeaux Restaurant, and replaced it with The Glasshouse which was noticably deserted for most of our cruise. Her well stocked Library is now crammed into the Cyber Cafe (dont think of sitting there quietly with a good book). The Sindhu restaurant has replaced the Library - OK for those who want a particular style of Indian food. Clealy the new features are centered around profit generation, but I doubt they will realise significant revenue as they are not in keeping with the British style of cruising. The change from the Pennant Grill to the Beach House does offer an alternative dining experience on the back of deck 12 which is recommended in the warmer climbs, possibly not so appealing on the Atlantic routes. The newly installed bulkhead which now divides the Vanderbilt room to provide a kitchen for the Sindhu restaurant lacks the original build quality, evidenced by the creaking whenever the ship gets into a lively sea - something which both Aurora and Oriana have not suffered previously. The multi million pound refit could have benifitted from removing the flaking paint and rust which is particularly evident around Deck 7 and elsewhere. On a more positive note Aurora still rides very well in rough seas - Coming through the Tasmin Sea in a Force 11 she remained very stable - so if your sea legs are not the greatest, this is the ship to choose. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I am writing this to slightly redress the balance of reviews for Arcadia's 2015 circumnavigation - we sailed from Southampton to Sydney, departing on January 6th and flying back from Sydney on February 22nd. The ship has recently been ... Read More
I am writing this to slightly redress the balance of reviews for Arcadia's 2015 circumnavigation - we sailed from Southampton to Sydney, departing on January 6th and flying back from Sydney on February 22nd. The ship has recently been refurbished and all of the public rooms were very nicely presented. We especially liked the East Bar and Intermezzo was very comfortable. There were a lot of elderly passengers but, as this was a world cruise with a total duration of over 100 nights, we expected this. However, the vast majority of passengers were able bodied, whatever their age. Some reviews comment on boorish behaviour; personally, I found the behaviour of almost all of the passengers exemplary. There are also some comments about obesity and greed - many people cruise to eat a lot and why not? I do agree with comments about the cabins; our cabin was always slightly grubby, I am not sure that the bathroom floor was washed while we were resident and there was dust under the bed and in the wardrobe. The bed was changed frequently but the sheets, quilt cover and pillowcases were not good quality, never smelt fresh, and were sometimes marked. I expected better. We did comment in our questionnaire about the poor quality of the pillows and they were replaced - for the final night of our cruise! The food was very good and occasionally exceptional. There was a wide choice at every meal. The waiters and wine waiter were brilliant and endeavoured to meet every need. Some passengers did become ill – probably no more than would have fallen ill in the UK in January and February. I saw people coughing without covering their mouths and people who were clearly unwell still attended shows and went on trips etc. However, only a small minority of people were ill. There is a medical centre on the ship but it is not the NHS and anyone visiting the doctor does have to pay similar costs to private medical care at home. There was always plenty to do, whatever your age, for example: Spanish classes; art classes; cinema; ‘boot camp’; yoga; port talks; barbecues; ice-carving; library; bingo; casino; guest speakers; craft lessons; chocaholics buffet, etc. We visited some marvellous ports and, overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise. Arcadia’s cabins do need an upgrade but the holiday represented good value for money. Don’t be put off by the negativity – do take medicines for minor complaints.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Sampler cruise to see what the newly refurbished P&O Arcadia was like. Looked hard but struggled to see exactly what had been refurbished? The buffet and perhaps the theatre? The cabins are a little tired and ours was quite dirty. On ... Read More
Sampler cruise to see what the newly refurbished P&O Arcadia was like. Looked hard but struggled to see exactly what had been refurbished? The buffet and perhaps the theatre? The cabins are a little tired and ours was quite dirty. On embarkation our bathroom floor and shower foot well had that much hair stuck to them I was in disbelief! Our balcony door lock did not work and the door swung open and banged constantly. Cabin steward said it had been reported but for the whole 4 days was not fixed. The toilet blocked up EVERY single use. We were forced to go downstairs to use the toilet and wait for maintenance. And no, we were not putting anything in there that did not belong in there, nor were we excessive with the toilet paper as blamed by reception every time we had to report another blockage. The buffet servery areas were extensive, running half the length of the ship yet the hot options offered were truly pitiful. The same salad bar every lunch and dinner with never more than 3-4 hot options of curry, curry or curry it felt like. I know the Brits like a curry and the rest of the world appreciate one every now and then but surely not every single meal service! Desert offerings were varied and nice. The main dining room was better certainly however some of the food left a lot to be desired. Pork Belly sans the actual pork bit or any crispy crackling, just four thin slices of fat on a plate. Even the waiter apologised. Service was friendly and efficient though. Service throughout the ship was friendly and never had to wait for anything. Our cabin E172 had an extra large balcony, twice the size of other cabins due to a cabin steward service room being next door. Nothing to do if you are under 60. Same activities of Bridge lessons and a garden talk day in, day out. The spa was one of the most expensive I have been to once you convert GBP to AUD yet the massage I had was horrendous, almost crippling. Touted as a fabulous new hot bamboo shoot massage, complete joke. Had better at an airport massage booth, full clothed! The spa treatment room creaked so loudly for the whole 90 mins with every wave that I thought the walls were about the collapse, as did the "therapist". Hardly relaxing with little to no ambience in the spa area. This cruise suits the elderly, specifically elderly Brits only. It does not cater for other nationalities, ages or global interests in my opinion. Certainly nothing wrong with that, the British market is entitled to it's own style of cruising as they are the home port of course. I am just pointing out this cruise is not particularly suitable for anyone else.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Never having cruised before we decided on a very short mini cruise on Arcadia,during its world cruise. We flew to Sydney from our home in Melbourne and spent 2 nights at the 1888 Hotel in Darling Harbour.On the day of our cruise we had a ... Read More
Never having cruised before we decided on a very short mini cruise on Arcadia,during its world cruise. We flew to Sydney from our home in Melbourne and spent 2 nights at the 1888 Hotel in Darling Harbour.On the day of our cruise we had a later checkout and then walked with our small amount of luggage around to Circular Quay. Embarkation was easy and we were soon in our cabin. We had a balcony cabin on C Deck,which was a handicapped cabin and therefore quite large and well appointed. Straight off to a lovely afternoon tea in the Belvedere. Our first night was casual and we dined in the Meridian restaurant after having a cocktail in the Crowsnest Bar with a stunning view of Sydney in the background. We were doing freedomdining and at each meal we were placed with really nice fellow passengers. The quality of the meals was generally very good and the waiting staff were very attentive. You have to be careful not to over indulge despite the temptations. We had a retired policeman give a lecture on our day at sea and he was extremely entertaining despite the ship newsletter describing it in what could be fairly boring terms as a lecture on police interview techniques! I also went to a beginners art class but the price for materials was 20 pounds and not worth it for only one day. In the evening we had a show with the ships revue and a violinist and this was OK. All to soon our cruise was over and we had to disembark which was troublefree. Our cruise has given us a taste for this type of holiday and a mini cruise and is a good way to give it a try. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We joined Arcadia in Los Angeles, at the start of the second sector of her World Cruise, and disembarked 7½ weeks later in Dubai. It was our first time on this ship, and the longest cruise we have yet experienced. We found Arcadia to be ... Read More
We joined Arcadia in Los Angeles, at the start of the second sector of her World Cruise, and disembarked 7½ weeks later in Dubai. It was our first time on this ship, and the longest cruise we have yet experienced. We found Arcadia to be a very welcoming ship, and she very soon wrapped herself around us and became ‘home’. As with most cruises we have taken, we’ve come home with a bag full of impressions, some good, some not so good. Our comments here are intended to be positive and constructive, and we hope readers will take them this way too. Arcadia had just undergone a refit which seems to have worked well for the public areas, but not so well perhaps for the cabins, which have retained tired-looking bathrooms and limited storage space for such a long cruise. Our cabin was on C deck, overlooking the stern, and contrary to some passengers’ perception of these cabins we experienced very little engine noise, and a very sheltered balcony which we used a lot. Arcadia does however have a rather strange arrangement on the stern, with balconies on D deck being larger, but completely covered by the C deck one above (very little sun), and those on E deck being completely open to the sky and to those looking down on them from above (so very little privacy) Future cruisers beware! With the refit also came the introduction of ‘Freedom Dining’ on the upper level of the Meridian Restaurant, and the abandonment of ‘silver service’. Both changes worked well for us. Restaurant Manager Rajeev was adept at matching us to the size of table we wanted, and we rarely experienced queues. Until the very end of the cruise we also enjoyed meeting different folk each night (and at breakfast and lunch, since we took most meals here). The lack of ‘silver service’ actually meant that our food came quicker, on (very) hot plates, and looking as the chef intended. On the whole, the standard of food was very high, and we made only 3 visits to the two speciality restaurants, the main advantage being to escape the noise in the Meridian at its busiest times. Service in the Restaurants and throughout the ship was superb. Daytime activities could have proved problematic on such a long cruise. We enjoy dancing and in Jeffery Dobinson (ably assisted by Brenda Twigg) we found one of the best teachers we have ever had. He quite literally ‘made’ the cruise for us. The ‘downside’ was that his lessons had to be held in The Retreat, up on Deck 10, a room intended for Yoga and gentler fitness classes, NOT for ballroom dancing ( with its low ceiling and unsuitable floor). The ship added its own movements to the dancing, too! Other venues were also badly matched to the activities planned for them, and far too many events started at around 11am, making choices difficult. Painting classes were held in the Globe, a gloomy space with no natural light (but the obvious choice for dancing!), and quizzes in The Rising Sun, right next to the noisy Casino. Classical artists had to perform in the Crow’s Nest Bar, where new screens put in at the refit meant that they could be seen properly only by a select few sitting right in front of the piano. The acoustics there were poor, with low ceilings and thick carpets. On just three occasions they were moved to the Palladium, a much better space for them. We particularly enjoyed Allan Schiller, the pianist (by far and away the best of the performers) and the clarinet and piano duo of James and Maciej. Another example of mismatching was the siting of the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party in the Neptune Pool area. With the roof closed, this event was unbearably noisy, and the Captain’s speech could not be heard. Surely the Palladium Theatre would have been a better choice? We noticed that areas such as the Spinnaker and Intermezzo Bars were not used for events at all, because they remain ‘open plan’. Maybe that was why they didn’t seem popular as bars, either! Arcadia is fortunate in having a number of launderettes, but they are quite ridiculously inadequate for the 2000 or so passengers on a World Cruise of more than 90 days, there being only 4 machines available on each of decks C, D and E, and a further small launderette on Deck E which seemed to be kept a secret for those ‘in the know’. They were rumoured to be the source of all gossip, but you had to do all your gossiping standing up ----- no chairs!! As to trips ashore, we did not take many of the ship’s excursions, but those we did do were generally well-planned and enjoyable. We do wish, though, that the planners wouldn’t assume that we all need toilet stops and ‘shopping time’, which eat into time better spent at more interesting places. On the Mumbai tour, for example, we had 1¼ hours ‘shopping time’, but only 5 minutes at the ‘Gateway to India’! The Port Talks on board were excellent, and Sam was always ready to give her advice to independent travellers, too. On the ship itself, a guided ‘behind the scenes’ tour (culminating in a visit to the Bridge to meet the Captain) was advertised, but we were horrified to discover that a charge of £75 would be made for each person! Whatever happened to FREE visits to the Bridge, or indeed the tour of the Galley on ‘Chocoholics’ afternoons? Needless to say, we didn’t go. Evening entertainment was a bit ‘hit and miss’. The ship’s own Headliners were brilliant (particularly the ‘Killer Queen’ show), but we got far too many ‘crossover’ acts (two violinists, two pianists, even two sets of tenors!). The Palladium is a lovely, comfortable venue, but sight lines are obscured by pillars and high-back sofas, and it was often impossible to find a seat at the first show if you arrived after 8pm. We enjoyed the regular dances in The Globe, though after the first few weeks things did get a bit repetitive! Internet use on board most cruise ships continues to be fraught with difficulties, and the charges that P&O make for it are quite outrageous, given its slow speed. We had reason to query charges twice, because the connection had been lost, and we were clocking up the pounds and pence simply getting back on to email. I guess most of us are not interested in using the service every day, or even every week, but we do like to keep in touch with family and friends on a very long cruise like this one. Passengers could be seen scurrying ashore with laptops at every port of call, to the cruise terminals and beyond, just to get a connection at an acceptable price. We managed 2 dollars an hour in Singapore; on the ship, this would have added £30 to our bill! Free Internet use should be included in the cruise fare, and if this causes problems with bandwidth on board, passengers can be allotted specific times to access it. These few ‘moans’ apart, we had a fabulous cruise which was excellent value for money.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Arcadia world cruise 2014 Auckland to Southampton We returned to UK from a month touring in NZ by 51 days on Arcadia. This was our first time on P and O and we chose this cruise because of the port calls which seemed to us a wish list of ... Read More
Arcadia world cruise 2014 Auckland to Southampton We returned to UK from a month touring in NZ by 51 days on Arcadia. This was our first time on P and O and we chose this cruise because of the port calls which seemed to us a wish list of many places in the world we wanted to see and we were not disappointed. Sadly, the planned calls to Egypt could not take place because of the security situation; P and O substituted Sallalah in Muscat which was a waste of time as the majority of passengers did not get off the ship, and also Aqaba, which gave us an excursion to Petra and was the high point of the trip. We liked: our cabin (E deck next to midships gangway), the promenade deck, some of the lectures and entertainment, the art tutor, the Captain who is outstandingly good, reception staff, the port presentations, the excursions we took. The entertainments staff worked hard but there is a great reliance on quizzes. Headliners theatre company are very good, but on a long trip you eventually get repeats of the same show. The ship is modern and comfortable but not glitzy. Disembarkation was rapid and efficient. We disliked: the food, quality was very variable. In particular, preparation and cooking of vegetables and selection was poor (‘not peas again’). For vegetarians it was difficult. Meridian restaurant menus became somewhat predictable. Belvedere self service was often over busy and with bizarre choices, some days lots of curries, other days none at all, some days plenty of non meat choices, other days none at all. The beauty salon is over priced and not very good, I had a poor experience myself and heard many unhappy stories from other women passengers. We would have liked: better lecture choices, (there was rather a lot of history of the second world war), an experienced choir leader and I was surprised that the ship does not carry a chaplain. A lot of passengers seemed to be ill towards the end of the cruise. While P and O do have some hygiene procedures in place, they do not enforce rigorously, nor remind people as often as they need to. I think there is specific problem on a world cruise, where new groups of passengers, up to 600 at a time, are embarking for a particular sector, and bring with them a lovely selection of winter infections which they then fail to keep to themselves. Those of us who had been away from the UK since January did not stand a chance. Overall this was a successful cruise which met our expectations but we would probably not travel with P and O again, as we now know that we prefer smaller ships with fewer passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
With family and friends giving us an excuse to visit the UK in December, and with prior balcony cruise experience on the Arcadia in 2013, my wife and I decided to leisurely cruise home to Australia on Aurora in January 2014, visiting the ... Read More
With family and friends giving us an excuse to visit the UK in December, and with prior balcony cruise experience on the Arcadia in 2013, my wife and I decided to leisurely cruise home to Australia on Aurora in January 2014, visiting the Caribbean, Panama Canal, San Francisco, Honolulu and the central Pacific Islands, again in a Balcony Cabin. P&O (UK) and P&O(Aust) seem to have too much of a captive or revolving market, and so have not real interest or care with non-UK clients (in particular). When we paid upfront for our Arcadia cruise in mid-2012, nothing on earth could get either organization to issue our eTickets before we departed for Europe/UK in late November. And in 2013, lightning almost struck again! With Aurora we were initially denied recognition of our Peninsula Club status, and only a threat of legal action in an Australian court got the problem attended to. Our travel agent reckons that these companies are not worth the trouble…there are better cruise lines to spend our hard earned dollars with. But we have to admit, we quite like the British style of cruising, so it will be hard not to return for some more “pain”. Moving on to our latest adventure…6 weeks from Southampton to Brisbane. Despite the terrible weather in Southern England in January/February 2014, we had a half decent day for our early boarding time of 1pm, with the experience being surprisingly efficient (compared to last year). We were on board in time for lunch, and in our A deck balcony cabin (with luggage) no later than 2:30pm. Ample time unpack bags and to explore before safety drill and early dinner! Our A Deck Balcony Cabin A118 was a little smaller than our E Deck Balcony Cabin E26 on Arcadia, but according to my wife it had more useful storage space. Having said that, the desk area was a little too cramped to work comfortably on my eBook. The Arcadia spoiled me, that’s for sure. Both cabins were equally tired in terms of carpet and curtain state of repair. Having said all that, both were more than comfortable, and in the case of Aurora, the bed so comfortable that back and leg complaints eased within a few days of boarding. An added bonus, both cabins are very close to on board free laundries, useful for doing some washing at times when these facilities are least used…and so avoid the usual spats over machines and dryers. As other cruisers have noted about Aurora and Arcadia doing world cruises, the average age of the clientele is into the 70s, and being in our early active 60s, we kind of didn’t fit in with the majority. But that was a plus, for us and the other 100 to 200 physically and mentally active souls on board. The pools were rarely crowded, table tennis and other physical games/competitions were not overly popular (ie not too many to run a comp), and later night shows and movies were not over-crowded. Even the promenade deck was usually quite comfortable for daily after breakfast and dinner walks…the majority having found the bountiful deck chairs and assumed the sleeping / reading positions. Maybe not kind, but true! Generally speaking, the food served on Aurora was quite good – be it in the dining rooms or the Orangery. Unfortunately the latter resembled a piggery at peak times, highly popular with those who didn’t like dressing reasonably for meals(formal or casual), those not really familiar with how to use tongs knives and forks, and those not happy with comfortable portion sizes served in the Meridian. While we are not snobs, we found it far more civilized to eat most meals in the formal restaurant, with portion size suggestions at all times, and a modicum of cleanliness near our plates. Our table waiters were always polite and attentive, and never once prevented our having an extra serving of anything. In fact, we mostly had “extra” ice cream with every dessert. I doubt that many onshore restaurants could offer the Menu choices on offer at every meal, that alone not repeat very much over each cruise sector. And as for the specialty restaurants, nothing on their menus could tempt me to pay extra. I don’t really know why cruise lines bother with this bit of snobbery. Entertainment provided in the theatres was fair most nights, with acts being flown into various ports of call. Unfortunately, P&Os own troop of young singers and dancers (Headliners) were too inexperienced for the unsuitable stages Aurora provided, and after a few disappointments, were rarely seen. The Sportsman's Bar was a joke...sports TV was either turned off or the sound muted when Quizzes were on, or some on board band/singer decided to play. Fair enough if sports were broadcast to cabin TV, but it isn't. As a result, it is not even a good watering hole. The Aurora itinerary for our trip to Brisbane was quite interesting, although shore excursions arranged by P&O are certainly over priced (google Viator to see what I mean). Excursions in Antigua, Nicaragua and Honolulu (Pearl Harbour) were good value however. Being seasoned independent travellers, we found the other ports quite easy to do on our own. Like others though, I need to point out that the good old USA does not deserve cruise ship visits, especially from it’s so called friendly nations (Aussies, Brits and Kiwis). With all of us paying for our ESTAS, there is no possible reasonable excuse for holding 1800 odd passengers on board in San Francisco for at least 5 hours, while Immigration staff insolently went about nonsensical face to face interviews. Australia certainly does not treat it’s tourists this badly, and we’ve had our share of terrorist related deaths (remember Bali, twice?). Nor does Britain or New Zealand! Maybe we and P&O should avoid the USA until such time as they can perform a reasonable immigration procedure. For our Aurora cruise we had a nice touch from a very cordial and capable Italian Captain. Apart from communicating regularly from the bridge, he was often seen walking the decks, and lunching with his wife in the Sidewalk Café or Orangery. Even better, his wife made a point of mixing with passengers, usually at breakfast. Finally, I have to congratulate P&O for finally seeing sense and taking the Aurora up the Brisbane River, under the Gateway Bridge, to berth at the city cruise terminal. Most if not all passengers expected to berth at the Fisherman’s Island grain terminal, and it was not until a day or so out of Sydney that a change of plan was confirmed. The terminal staff at the city terminal did a wonderful job, as did the Customs Officers who did their best to move all passengers through in next to no time…so much so that we had to wait for our daughter to collect us. Normally she has to wait for us to be processed. Well done Brisbane, and rasberries to the USA and San Francisco.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
After reading reviews of the Aurora, I wondered if we were on a different Aurora. I was so busy with activities, I couldn't fit them all in a day whereas my husband was quite content to sit and read or just watch the horizon - and he ... Read More
After reading reviews of the Aurora, I wondered if we were on a different Aurora. I was so busy with activities, I couldn't fit them all in a day whereas my husband was quite content to sit and read or just watch the horizon - and he saw many things I was sorry to miss. We found our cabin to be clean (as was the entire ship) and comfortable and our steward was a lovely friendly man. We didn't have a balcony, but always found somewhere to sit on deck - much more sociable. We even enjoyed our meals, I can't recall one complaint. Our table companions have become friends and when we were in Sydney twelve months later when Aurora was there, we happened to run into our table steward who recognised us and greeted us by name. We even enjoyed the entertainment - a couple were not so good, but we laughed them off. The Pursers were competent as were those who organised the shore excursions. And we loved dressing up for formal nights. The Cruise Director and his crew were great fun and talented. The bar staff were alert, friendly and always remembered our tastes - we also looked forward to chatting to them. We even enjoyed the 'sea days' - we often wondered why people went on a cruise and then complained about sea days. Isn't that what it is all about! We are looking forward to our next cruise on Aurora in 2015. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Assuredly a very damning summary - but we disembarked from Arcadia on the completion of this voyage very disappointed at what we had endured for so long. We are not new to cruising, nor are we new to Grand Voyages - but this was our first ... Read More
Assuredly a very damning summary - but we disembarked from Arcadia on the completion of this voyage very disappointed at what we had endured for so long. We are not new to cruising, nor are we new to Grand Voyages - but this was our first experience of Arcadia and of P&O -and it will certainly be our last. Anyone who has booked, or is contemplating booking a 'Grand Voyage' cruise on P&O's Arcadia should very seriously think again. The Cruise : The first half of the cruise from Southampton to Sydney was a nightmare - by the time the ship reached Sydney the morale of the passengers was such that as well as the 600 plus Australian passengers who were desperately glad to be disembarking, the vast majority of those remaining on board would have joined them if they possibly could. Particular details of all that went wrong can be gleaned from the vast number of adverse reviews and comments already on the Internet relating to how passengers on the Arcadia were treated on this voyage. In short, no-one likes feeling that they have been duped, cheated, short changed, commercially exploited and are being treated with dismissive contempt. Moreover, the dismissive contempt continued once back on dry land. Communications with P&O regarding their gross negligence in NOT complying with their own 'Booking Conditions' were replied to 'cut and paste' responses consisting of sequences of platitudes and gibberish totally unrelated to the issues raised IF P&O had fulfilled its contractual obligations and the ship's management had treated passengers as if they were on a Cruise Liner rather than as interlopers on a Cargo Vessel - would we have enjoyed the cruise ? - Definitely not - and here are some of the reasons why : The 'Grand Voyage' : The Arcadia carries well over 2000 passengers - and at any one time 75-80% are on board for only one or occasionally two sectors of the 'Grand Voyage' Arcadia is one of the newer breed of 'Vegas' resort ships designed to provide the mass market with relatively short 'fun' cruises with lots of alcohol,gambling, mindless loud music and very dim lighting in all public areas from 1800hrs onwards, holiday camp/end of pier quality entertainment and singalongs coupled with the provision to gorge for 24hrs a day on mass produced,low quality meals typical of a works canteen or supermarket cafeteria. The so called 'Grand Voyage' was nothing more than four such 'fun' cruises (sectors) strung together. When the first sector was complete everything (menus, entertainment, lecture topics, films etc - even the errors and mis-spellings in the daily entertainment guide were for the most part repeated on each following sector. The 'Ship' ; Consistent with the 'resort ship' model large areas of Arcadia are devoted to revenue generating activities in contrast to the minimal space afforded to non-revenue services addressing the interests and comfort of passengers. eg: the small library with cramped seating for 10, the 30 seat 'cinema' and the ridiculous laundries are 'not fit for purpose'. In contrast the casino,totally unoccupied for most of the day has an enormous floor area housing four card tables, two roulette tables and 65 slot machines and boasts a seating capacity for 112 passengers. Public toilets are small in both space and number, are often 'out of order' and very basically equipped. The buffet restaurant has the ambiance of a motorway cafe with formica topped tables,unset for breakfast and lunch - pick up a tray,plate and cutlery, join the long queue to choose your food and then search for a seat !! Again consistent with the 'resort ship' model all vestiges of past elegance and refinement associated with cruising - particularly on Cunard - and to a lesser extent on P&O - have disappeared from Arcadia and been replaced with pretentious nonsense which fools but few. The most glaring examples relate to evening dining in the main restaurant: To gain access one must adhere to the ship's 'dress codes' - Problems occur when the dress code is 'Smart' - interpreted by P&O as meaning 'gentlemen must wear a jacket' - Hence, males wandering around the decks in trainers, baggy trousers and T-shirts can grab a jacket and gain access unchallenged whilst gentlemen elegantly dressed for dinner in tailored trousers,smart shirt and tie are refused entry! Upon gaining entry you will be presented with a menu adorned with dishes described in mouth-watering language with lots of 'juz' and 'drizzles' which bear little relation to what eventually appears from the kitchen. Set plates are augmented by 'silver service' - consisting of never more than potatoes cooked in a different style from those already on the set plate plus one other,usually overcooked and tepid vegetable. On the topic of food, apart from the general low quality of what is provided in the 'set menu' restaurant, prospective passengers should be aware that many items- particularly fruit, salads and cold meats and seafood - displayed in the 'buffet restaurant' are often well past their 'sell by' date - photographs of heaps of sweating, rotten bananas, pears etc are available on request. Also on view in the buffet from 3.00am onward would be tray after tray of pre-cooked fried eggs left to rubberise until being reheated when the restaurant opens!!! I could go on and on but .....!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We originally booked to go to Buenos Aires on Adonia but felt that the ship had limited facilities/entertainment so we transferred our booking to Arcadia but now including Chile & the Pacific Islands to Australia. We are first time ... Read More
We originally booked to go to Buenos Aires on Adonia but felt that the ship had limited facilities/entertainment so we transferred our booking to Arcadia but now including Chile & the Pacific Islands to Australia. We are first time cruisers & knew that we were taking a risk but we saw it as a romantic adventure travelling with a well established company, P & O Cruises. Our first disappointment was the cancellation of the visits to all the Argentine ports. We were not able to pull out without losing our deposit but our primary reason for going had been removed from the schedule. The 4 days missed were replaced with one day in Salvadore & an extra day in Montevideo - hardly a generous substitution. When we embarked at Southampton there were long delays in the process and we took 2 hours to get on board. Our cabin was quite adequate, but what a tiny TV screen and the bedside lights were archaic, placed behind the head. Lets hope that the planned refit sees to some upgrading of the cabin fittings. Our first days were an eye opener. Everyone seemed to have cruised extensively and many had done world cruises several times. They were only too pleased to relay their experiences, but most ended up with a litany of complaints, especially against P & O, which seemed odd as they were returning cruisers. We determined not to moan but to enjoy the good parts. But the cruise turned into a curate's egg - good in some parts but poor in others. The good parts were that the ship was very stable and although we rocked & rolled a bit she comfortable to travel on. The whole vessel was very well maintained and the cabins and public rooms were very clean & cared for. Our cabin girl, Jocelyn was first class. Likewise all the staff were approachable and cheerful - none more so than our waiters in the Meridian who were quick and efficient, cheerful and nothing too much trouble. We found that this extended to all the other service areas. First class gym and amazing Palladium theatre. Very good shows at night and plenty of activities to choose from during the sea days. Good sail away parties and pool events like the crossing of the equator. We felt that the Entertainments Team worked very hard and maintained an incredible cheerfulness in all circumstances! Also some of the more ad hoc shows such as the Arcadia Pantomime and talent show were well recieved. The food was good in the Meridian - not over-facing and the Belvedere self service offered a good choice. The daily Horizon was well produced, informative and always on time. But the down-side starts with the Arcadia cough - well catalogued from previous cruises. In the Palladium theatre the coughing & wheezing had to be heard to be believed. Whilst most of the germs were probably transmitted person to person there has to be a question about the air conditioning. How often are the ducts & filters cleaned? Is this an item that will be followed up on the refit? One boards the ship in good health and disembarks with a barking cough which some 3 weeks later still persists. Someone at a senior level should take responsibility for sorting this out. Perhaps the ship should have a red cross painted on her to designate a hospital ship until the cause is found & rectified! The ports that were missed have already been mentioned, but the turn round & flight from the Falklands was another disappointment. Easter Island was a slow cruise by, too far out to see much. The excursions were well planned and executed, but there was always the time pressure to get back before the ship was due to sail. The internet facilities and cost were not appreciated. Often very poor connections (we were advised to use our Notebook in our cabin with the door open to get better reception), and from time to time the ship left the cover of one satellite before coming to another. We needed to stay in touch with family & business in the UK throughout the cruise but were often frustrated. The exodus of passengers and staff to use the WiFi facilities at the ports was noticeable and this was sometimes free or charged at modest rates. As the majority of passengers nowadays have laptops, notebooks, Ipads etc could not the internet facilities be charged in the ticket price? Most good hotels provide WiFi foc nowadays. And will a better internet facility be installed at the refit? Overall we enjoyed the cruise but there are so many frustrations not least all the queuing and short tempers that then ensued. For a first timer it was an experience. We are glad that we did it and we saw the periphery of South America & some South Pacific Islands that we would never have seen otherwise. Would we do it again? I am afraid not because we found that we lost our independence. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We went on the J301 cruise from Southampton to Brisbane the dream cruise for retirement that turned into a nightmare I would conservatively say 80% of the people on the ship were sick at some time with type 1 and 2 flu found on the ship ... Read More
We went on the J301 cruise from Southampton to Brisbane the dream cruise for retirement that turned into a nightmare I would conservatively say 80% of the people on the ship were sick at some time with type 1 and 2 flu found on the ship as well as the famed Arcadia cough which we found was no myth I boarded the ship healthy and during the 52 days of the cruise have never taken so many medicines in 70 years Nora virus ironical was no problem the ship were meticulous and the threat was well handled in fact the hotel department of the ship, food cabins (State Rooms if American) were very good both Pursers we had excellent However a ships mood is set by the personality of the Captain and the Cruise Director Captain number 1 to Montevideo bland but functional Captain number 2 in my opinion short changed the clients in many ways totally none commutative we all felt she thought we were lucky to be on her ship -- however she was not too burdened with a personality The Cruise Director had much the same attitude only she was so full of self importance with constant references to "my Staaaaf" and my DJ my, Technical team" and so on I think there was a problem with understanding of who paid the wages and the cruise was for the benefit of the passengers The main complaint the limitary slashed to endless sea days 4 ports taken out 1 put back -- I have paper work to say in port in Easter Island and Pitcairn We sailed by with no effort to point out the land marks or sail around the Islands as other cruises do In fact the cruise DJ when we were 10 minutes from Easter Island made fun of the Bridge "maybe some one will tell us what id happening soon" his comments Valparaiso was a disaster the ships Captain wanted us all back on board for a boat drill at 5pm although we were scheduled to sail until 9pm The monthly refresher could have been done any time cutting the on shore activity down tremendously I could wax on whinging like the 600 Auses we had on the ship with other points -- however I think you can see why the passenger moral was low Never again with Arcadia P&O yes but I will be looking who the Captain and cruise director is before booking many Australians will never cruise P&O again Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Hi all This was cruise 29 and we watched Arcadia steam on time into her berth at Circular Quay Sydney from our apartment across the water. Boarding was efficiently handled and we were on-board and settled by midday. Arcadia is ... Read More
Hi all This was cruise 29 and we watched Arcadia steam on time into her berth at Circular Quay Sydney from our apartment across the water. Boarding was efficiently handled and we were on-board and settled by midday. Arcadia is exactly as we remembered from this time last year (except see below about passengers) with elegant decor, mostly good public rooms and on the whole good staff. Many of the Indian Staff including those on the Pursers desk did seem to struggle with understanding english and the main restaurant staff need better supervision to tighten up service delivery. We had taken two cushions from home as we remembered from last year that the sofa in the cabin is not designed for comfort (if you have a ramrod straight back you would be fine). With our cushions in place it perfect. Our balcony cabin was fine and well fitted out. We both loved the tea and coffee tray with a kettle and mugs. A great idea as we could make a cup of tea first thing in the morning without having to wait for room service. There have been lots of reviews about the "kettle and tea tray" taking up a lot of space - 2 simple solutions - either get your room steward to remove said tray from cabin or stick it in the cupboard under the desk it is on where there is plenty of room. Sadly the flat screen TV is very small and made watching TV somewhat hard on the eyes - P & O - spend some dollars and trade in the TVs for larger ones! The cabin interior was spotless but the floor of the balcony was not and remained very dirty until we grumbled after the fifth day. Apparently the cabin steward is only responsible for cleaning inside and not out on the balcony? We both enjoyed the ship, the decor, the bars and the service however being midway through her annual three month world cruise both of us felt we were the youngest on-board (our ages 50 and 56!). Also most of the elderly passengers did not want to speak. One of the joys of cruising is the way (usually) people start to chat to you - this was not very evident last week. Maybe it was a combination of the age ( in some cases great age) and very British reserve of many passengers but this did make this 7 day sector a lot less enjoyable for the two of us. Last year from Auckland to Sydney the age difference was not so obvious however neither of us will consider a P&O UK World Cruise sector again for at least 10 years! We are quite sure that the ship would be fabulous if you are sailing out of Southampton on a 10 night med jaunt with a much younger crowd on board. To Finish - the food was good in the dining room. The pay a surcharge Specialty restaurant was ok but did not dazzle. The Buffet is very limited although they do try at night with different themed dinners. The drinks menu is squarely aimed at the British passenger (Gin and Tonics, Pimms NO1 etc) although we loved the bar and wine list prices! Amazingly cheap and no 15% added gratuity Now onto cruise number 30 Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Firstly may i say we are easy going people and do not expect the best in everything.We embarked in Melbourne and found that the Flight co-ordinator who was also doing the embarking proceedure had taken my photo on the incorrect pasport so ... Read More
Firstly may i say we are easy going people and do not expect the best in everything.We embarked in Melbourne and found that the Flight co-ordinator who was also doing the embarking proceedure had taken my photo on the incorrect pasport so after about 30 more minutes we boarded the ship.On arrival to our room i inserted the card to find someone else in our room,we were in touch with the persers desk and we were given another room. The interior of the ship is clean and different decor to other ships i have sailed. Meals in the buffet were just ok and mostly warm only.The dining room was much better but not as good as we previously have had on some other lines.Buffet breakfast was repeated every day with no variation and was very boring.No fresh milk was available the entire time we were on the cruise so long life milk was the only option including the coffee shop. Our room was kept very clean and no complaints in this area. A lot of disgruntled passengers on the ship who have been on since the start of the cruise.English while speaking to the crew was strange as many only knew basic words and they mostly spoke to each other in there native language. Disembarking was trouble again for us as we had transfers booked from the ship to Perth airport but when we asked why we didnt have tickets delivered to our room (once again the flight co-ordinator)she said they were not booked even though we checked 2 days prior and were told we were booked. We were also told there was no shuttles availabe and she could not do anything for us.We luckily have a daughter in perth so we had to get her to come and get us from the ship and take us to the airport as we only had 2 hours from debarking and catching our flight home. After all our debarkle we got to the airport on time for our jurney home. Would i ever cruise P&O UK again the answer is NO. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Everything was on a grand and roomy scale, particularly its 3 pool areas. Our cabin was roomy, comfortable and clean. Service throughout the ship was impeccable. Goanese staff polite and cheerful. Alcohol was reasonably priced as were ... Read More
Everything was on a grand and roomy scale, particularly its 3 pool areas. Our cabin was roomy, comfortable and clean. Service throughout the ship was impeccable. Goanese staff polite and cheerful. Alcohol was reasonably priced as were the tours. All of this should have added up to a really enjoyable trip except for one important ingredient - FOOD. Let me start by saying that this is an English ship and we have never cruised on an English ship before but being Australian we thought their cuisine should be somewhat similar. The food quality, quantity, variety and preparation were below an acceptable standard. Main Dining Room: We had 4 couples at our table, 2 of whom were English, and we were all struggling to remain cheerful when faced with, on many nights, inedible dishes. For example - Vegetables such as broccoli and beans were so rubbery that they could not be cut with a steak knife, likewise hard carrots etc. Soup was either canned or unidentifiable if you had forgotten what you ordered. Pasta and Salad choices were almost nonexistent and Desserts in the main were horrible - no chance of putting on weight here. Example - menu said Pears lightly poached in White Wine. Reality - canned peaches in syrup. The really said part of this was that the dining service was 5 star and deserved 5 star meals.Buffet: Breakfast was the only decent meal in the buffet and then it was severely limited. For instance, no omelettes at all and all fried eggs were cooked in advance and sitting on warming platters. Fresh fruit was in very limited supply, quality was poor and bananas had to be requested. Lunch was pathetic, curries appeared to have been made with last night's leftovers, pasta was pre-cooked and sitting on a water laden platter which was then topped with a watery sauce; not a crumb of parmesan in sight! On a happier note, the fact that the ship was child free was a definite plus. Incidentally, we embarked in Brisbane but this option does not exist on the embarkation selection panel. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This cruise was a great mix of English, Australians an a few Kiwis. It was the friendliest cruise I have ever been on. Not necessarily with the crew though. The shows in the theatre were brilliant and the best I have ever seen oh any ... Read More
This cruise was a great mix of English, Australians an a few Kiwis. It was the friendliest cruise I have ever been on. Not necessarily with the crew though. The shows in the theatre were brilliant and the best I have ever seen oh any cruise, I couldn't believe how lucky we were to have Pam Ayres one night.We also had the Tenor boys and a variety of other very professional shows. We actually went every night. The day time activities were also just the best. I was absolutely impressed with the fuss free and smooth boarding, it took no time at all. How ever, we were not at any stage shown to our cabin, we had to muddle our own way there. We were given a small bottle of water at LA and then another at Sydney, not at all very generous. We had to pay for it after that. The food in the belvedere was just terrible.The night we had Indian that was all there was, tough for people like me who don't eat Indian, same with their Sea food night, no alternative. Generally speaking the food was dull, boring and bland. often to the point of being inedible. The absolute worst for me the mashed potatoes were just slop.Surely they should notice by the amount of plates going back still full. Certainly the worst I have ever experienced. We called it Woollies Cafe. The menu had no imagination what so ever.The waiters were slow and disorganised, the plates and dirty tables piled up, we had to ask for the tables to be wiped down so we could sit there. The food in the Meridian was delicious, well served and presented. Waiter for the most were friendly happy souls. As they had 8 black tie nights in the month, we ate in the Buffet instead, much to our horror. Toilets were repeatedly out of order - or there was no water or electricity. . At other times it was wash basins or hand driers not working - the knock on effect being empty paper towel holders. There were also some very strange, garbage type, or sewer smells in several places on the ship.Not a pleasant experience as you can imagine. Although she is a beautiful ship, she is not a patch on many of the others. The library was so small, you would be lucky to get a seat in there. It is no wonder so many people on the ship were ill with chest infections, including us. First time we have ever been ill on a cruise. We are in agreement with many that we spoke to on the ship, we will not be cruising with P& O again. this is just my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Taking this cruise was a big mistake as in February both China & Japan are very cold at this time of the year, also there were 6 continuous sea days from Japan to the next port of call and warmer climate. The ship itself is beautiful, ... Read More
Taking this cruise was a big mistake as in February both China & Japan are very cold at this time of the year, also there were 6 continuous sea days from Japan to the next port of call and warmer climate. The ship itself is beautiful, including the balcony cabin, but there is little else to commend. Lots of empty bars, containing bored waiters, and a few sleeping passengers. It was nice to drink some English beers once again instead of the ozzie stuff. Most of the ports of call were a waste of time. Apart from Hong Kong & the 2 Japanese ports which were well located, the remaining ports were in the middle of nowhere and involved long ques for long bus rides to out of the way retail outlets. 3 hours each to Beijing, 1 hour each way to Shanghai. The Shanghai trip dropped us in a side street outside one retail outlet. On the return journey, we saw from the bus windows, what a beautiful city we had missed. The chargeable trips were expensive and badly organised. 10 or more coaches simultaneously at the same point of interest resulted in chaos and long ques yet again. Second sitting dining is only for insomniacs. 8.30pm dinner means first course around 9pm; so we did not frequent this very often. The food was reasonable except for the under cooked vegetables, but this is a feature of cruise dining it would seem. What you expected on your plate was not always what you got. Food in "The Belvedere" self serve restaurant was just disgusting. Same old stuff every day, mostly dubious curry. Nothing fresh, everything over stewed, green potatoes, black bananas, stale ex-frozen bread, and very surly staff. On several days we failed to have an evening meal. Those who cruise will be aware of "THE SHIPS COUGH". On this cruise was of epidemic proportions. This trip was a sector of a world cruise and many people on board had spent a fortune to go "all the way round" on the trip of a lifetime in relative luxury. Many were angry and disappointed and one can hardly blame them. P & O (uk) should be ashamed. The standards have plumbeted, the little things and courtesy's of the past have gone. The best event of our trip was disembarking in Sydney and we felt sorry for those who remained on board with another 50+ days to endure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
OK, first off the good news: Arcadia is a great ship, the crew is excellent, the food is really good, the spa is brilliant, knowledgeable speakers on Asian art & astronomy etc, pretty good comedians/magicians, mediocre dance groups ... Read More
OK, first off the good news: Arcadia is a great ship, the crew is excellent, the food is really good, the spa is brilliant, knowledgeable speakers on Asian art & astronomy etc, pretty good comedians/magicians, mediocre dance groups which seemed to rely on decibels only, destinations were OK but shore excursions were patchy. The major negative is that you could be on a floating nursing home what with Zimmer frames & even self propelled buggies. Furthermore the North of Watford Gap accents seemed to be predominant & started to grate, where do they get the money from? Fortunately our table of 6 included some exiles from London to Norwich & a sprightly couple, mentally at least, from QLD. The major issue was that the combination of South & North hemisphere populous getting together in Hong Kong before the voyage guaranteed a "Contagion" situation & 99% of passengers had no clue about contagious diseases even though there were anti bacterial hand solutions in evidence wherever you went on board. The problem was that most people were totally ignorant regarding methods of contagion, if only they had run that film every day ! Embarcation in HKG was reasonably painless but disembarkation was a total mess in Brisbane,an obvious example of the left not knowing what the right was doing. It meant a total crush to find baggage & ZERO organisation, whoever was responsible for this should be fired, how to ruin a vacation! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We have Just returned from the world cruise, we had a wonderful time, we never had any complaints about the food what so ever the waiters were always polite. We dined in the Sorrento Restaurant on a few occasions and the service we found ... Read More
We have Just returned from the world cruise, we had a wonderful time, we never had any complaints about the food what so ever the waiters were always polite. We dined in the Sorrento Restaurant on a few occasions and the service we found was Just fine. We also had a meal in the Marco Pierre White restaurant on our Wedding Anniversary very enjoyable. all I have read is a load of whinging from the Ozzie's who all had a very good deal to come on the cruise and yes they were very loud and had no Idea how to dress for black tie and smart nights, and they never tip the waiters or cabin boys. The only problem we had with the cruise was the cabin we were one of the unlucky ones who had a cabin on the port side aft, the vibration was dreadful on leaving Southampton we had two nights without sleep the deck supervisor jaze tried his best for us, another two nights before we arrived in Dubai with no sleep yes some passengers did go to the front desk and ask to see someone and did become rather cross. Captain Cambey came on in Dubai and we had a meeting with him and the Purser he told us that new parts would be coming on in Hong kong and everything was then would be O.K and he was right. When we left New Zealand we had a water pipe burst outside the cabin which flooded the end two ours and the inside cabin my husband has now had enough as it is 4am and the noise outside the cabin where they were sucking up the water was horrendous so he went down to the front desk and asked for another cabin which they gave us and we were in there for two nights whilst they dried out our cabin. Entertainment Staff were brilliant loved the Headliners theatre company. Would we Cruise with P&O again Yes Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We sailed from Dubai to Sydney -- had a fantastic time we were C deck and although we were at the rear end in the Oriental Restaurants for dinner we never let the vibration spoil the excellent cuisine; there was no vibration from mid ships ... Read More
We sailed from Dubai to Sydney -- had a fantastic time we were C deck and although we were at the rear end in the Oriental Restaurants for dinner we never let the vibration spoil the excellent cuisine; there was no vibration from mid ships forward Let's get some facts straight here The vibration very upsetting for the people who it affected directly however not true the Captain did not respond he met all concerned personally Secondly the ship was full, the staff did there best When the bearing failed the engineers the unsung heroes worked day and night to fix at sea not easy I witnessed passengers verbally assaulting the girls on the desk what could the do? WHAT IS FACT THE MECHICAL PROBLEMS P&O COULD DO NOTHING ABOUT AT SEA IT WAS THE RESULT OF GERMAN ENGINEERING -- END OF STORY ANOTHER MYTH BLOW APART The conservatory was terrible one man cutting bespoke sandwiches not a good idea, how ever it did find favour with our Australian cousins and tip dodgers so served a purpose The Main restaurants the food was best ever Michael the Cruise Director was fine, hard job to please the unappeasable he was not in any ones face all the time like a poor mans Bruce Forsyth What let him down the past their sell by date ladies as miserable as sin not wanting to be there. The Head Liners the young Kids amazing never seen such talent on a ship The organisation from the Staff for visa and the problems incurred were amazing and never get a mention; shifting 2000 people off a ship and back not easy but it was stress free for us Even dealing with the idiot abroad who says why do I need to fill in forms for Australia I did it in India!!!! Next time the Captain does an "Audience with" he must not say I would never tell you a lie that was his first lie Late out of Darwin nothing to do with booting a card, the crew were late back well just say so Lets face it a Lot of serial cruiser go to complain and even complain about complaining and boring every one with "how many cruises have you done" Easier to say good morning Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I want to express our experience to you about P&O Aurora World Cruise 2012 as follows. Besides that I also have to mention that the crew and especially the cleaning staff, waiters and assistance at reception did extraordinary jobs. ... Read More
I want to express our experience to you about P&O Aurora World Cruise 2012 as follows. Besides that I also have to mention that the crew and especially the cleaning staff, waiters and assistance at reception did extraordinary jobs. The cruise started for us with asking P&O office for assistance or at least the right information in case of a lacking India Visa. We were told by P&O office that without the Indian Visa we are not allowed to enter the ship which later on at the departure date turned out as not being the correct information that was given to us. Because of that we needed to change flight schedules for several hundred's of dollars and phone calls for over a 100,00 Euros because of being forwarded from one department to the other without not getting helpful information. Finally the result was that all these expenses were not necessary but because of non sufficient information given from P&O office and Visa department in Southampton. An employee from P&O at Southampton Port allowed us to enter the ship but informed us that if we didn't have this Visa we would be unable to board but would have to disembark in a port prior to India. So I would say there is a lack of information from one office to another with P&O employees. At the same time we received the information that the port in Acapulco/Mexico was canceled because of safety issues without replacement nor any compensation. Shortly after we got announced that also Cochin as the second Indian port was canceled, but later on replaced with Muscat/Oman. We were told because of problems with landing slot's in Cochin!? The day as we entered the ship we were told that the so called "Noro virus" (vomiting and diarrhea) was on the ship. The rumors in between the passengers was that the virus was already on board before embarkation. Aurora's captain told it was brought by the passengers. From the first day we were bothered with several daily announcements about this issue and got "forced" to hand sanitizing around every corner of the ship until the rest of the cruise even that it was told later the situation was solved before the port of San Francisco. The next change was made in Colombo/Sri Lanka (regular scheduled inbetween 6 am. and 16:30 h) because of the tide in Mumbai. The stay at this port of call from finally 8 am. To 12:30 h was reduced by another 5 1/2 hours. After Madeira the ship started leaking in certain sections through broken and corroded water pipes. There were buckets placed all over the ship so that later on officials made jokes "that is for providing drinking water to the drug sniffing dogs". Towards the end of the cruise more buckets got added because the problem got worse. I am talking about having buckets on the ship, in the theatre, hallways and staircases over more than 90 days! We were just lucky that we did not sit down in the "Curzon" theater as a pipe broke there and caused lots of damage and flooded the place that there was no entertainment for almost 2 weeks available. There was a drug bust starting in San Francisco which caused inconvenience for lots of passengers including us who were not even involved. Drugs were found on the ship which is of course not a problem of P&O but to keep going with their standards and comforts as well as the promised itinerary for us passengers I will count P&O cruise line responsible for it. We were just lucky that our cabin (might!) not have been searched by officials getting under common suspicion and having drug dogs sniffing through our personal stuff. The next complication out of that was another cancellation of the port of call in "Yorkey's knob" Australia without replacement nor compensation. This because of demands from the authorities having again drug searching facilities available on the landing site. Because the new allocated landing spot was too far to reach by the tender boats the port was canceled entirely with the single replacement of another 5 hours in Abu Dabi. Further on at least on 23 ports of call (including Singapore) we had no proper cruise terminal. It was either a container port or tender boat operation for disembarkation within all it's inconvenience that it takes. I know that the landing fee's for those proper cruise ports are probably high 5 digit if not 6 digits amounts for those like Singapore and Sydney! Because of "security issues" the stay in the port of Istanbul was also reduced by approx. 12 hours not allowing us to leave the ship again at night on the first day and on the second day like the itinerary stated. Then early in the morning at 6:45 am a short term announcement was made that the ship will leave at 7:00 am. We were expecting to have a breakfast and coffee outside the port at the same day and having had left some Turkish currency for that reason besides the general inconvenience being involved in another change or reduction while expecting the presence of the scheduled itinerary until 11 am. for the 4 th of april. Passengers were not allowed to leave the ship anymore after 10:30 pm the 3rd of April. As the ship was leaving the port of Istanbul another big cruise liner came in and it was looking like we were almost "pushed out" of the pier. The above mentioned problems I would call general organization and maintenance matters as well as not taking care or not feeling responsible for advertised itineraries like promoted prior to booking. Now I want to mention the following situation on our stateroom on C-deck. The cabin was making noise all day and night due to the location above the engine section. The subdivision and ceiling panels of the cabin were vibrating on a high frequency so that I needed to get up almost every night to press or shake the panels to just interrupt it for a while. After complaining we were told that there is a ventilation unit behind the cabin and offered to move to another cabin. Because the shown cabin was far from the convenient aft deck and was also making noise we decided to stay in our crackling cabin. The toilet flush in our cabin was malfunctioning at least once every other week so that sometimes bad smelling sewage was drafting back from the entire system because we were the last cabin on this deck. Sometimes the bad smell remained for hours in the cabin because of that problem. And it was a repeating problem. Also one night the bathroom was flooded by water back drafting out of the toilet. Of course it is P&O's decision to do major maintenance on railings during a 3 month world cruise but I have never seen before that the entire wooden railings got taken off step by step and got sanded and varnished and replaced during regular cruise business as well as paint jobs. For more than 2 month there were signs "wet varnish" sticking on the railings and floors upfront one after the other day telling you not to touch them. Those inconvenient procedures were nor mentioned nor expected when booking the cruise and they seem to be very strange to us. By the way we believe it's wise to mention in P&O world cruise advertisement that the promenade deck will be shut from 6 pm until 6 am. because of probable piracy attacks. The promenade deck including illumination was shut down for approx. 2 weeks of the cruise and not available at these times inbetween Mumbai and Port Suez. Of course all this in consideration of safety concerns!? During several tender boat operations the engines broke down at least 3 times as far as we know and caused huge delays for all passengers besides our booked Cairo excursion at 3:30 am that day as they started fueling the tender boat before we could get on board. We were sitting 45 min. in the boat because of an actually 10 min. boat ride that morning as the engine of a tender boat broke down in front of us. The peak of it all was our "wake up call" at 1:30 am on the 9th of April as a waterfall caused by a corroded pipe was running down the cabin door and started pouring in our room. The water was pouring in huge amounts for almost an hour and flooded inside the cabin as well. To minimize damage we had to put towels in front of the door and lift up certain things and gather personnel items at 2:30 in the morning before getting relocated to another cabin on deck 10 with a tooth brush, wet jeans and flip flops. Putting our impression and experience of this P&O world cruise together even though comparing an average daily price we paid for this trip towards former cruises we have taken in the past by receiving higher quality standards regarding the ship itself and level of entertainment to a way lower average rate for instance with Cunard, Holland America and Celebrity. We must say that we were far from our own expectation and far from P&O promised and advertised standards which made it an unforgetable experience of vacation which of course it was but in the opposite way. We were also far from almost every scheduled itinerary and the amount of ports of call which was an important fact for booking this cruise on the Aurora. P&O never responded to any complaint If I put it together in one short term: forget about P&O! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
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