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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
First time on P&O but have cruised 14 times before. So being a seasonal cruise I wanted to try Christmas at Sea and P&O. Shame as it did disappoint on most levels. The festive special drinks ran out after the first sea ... Read More
First time on P&O but have cruised 14 times before. So being a seasonal cruise I wanted to try Christmas at Sea and P&O. Shame as it did disappoint on most levels. The festive special drinks ran out after the first sea day, day 2 of a 10-day cruise. That start pretty much shows the level P&O was going with on a festive cruise with no festive fun. Amsterdam stop was cancelled, had been the week before and the year before, so this is regular but they keep the stop on the itineraries. This needs to be changed as the bad weather every year won't change, so why still keep trying. We won't be using P&O again and be returning to the other brands we love, like Royal Caribbean, Fed Olsen and Tui Marcella. The cruise went smoothly but the entertainment was lacking, Christmas day at sea had the least amount of entertainment of all the days on board. The Panto on Boxing day was the only decent show we saw and it was by the entertainment team. The highlight production team for the main shows in the theatre were poor to rubbish. The dancers were unfit and out of breath after the first dance. Apart from 2 girls, the other 6 were looking full of mince pies and need more training to stay fit and healthy, cardio needs improving. As for the male dancers, 1 was great which then made the other average man look like he didn't want to be there on stage, it was sad to watch and felt sorry for him as he went through the motions. The dance routines seemed to be pretty much the same routines with different music. The singers were something else, as long as they sang on their own, there wasn't much of an issue, but as soon as someone else joined in, then they would be shouting to be heard over the other singer, no harmony at all. When all 5 sang a different Micheal Jackson song at the same time, it was a car crash. My ears were bleeding from the noise as it got louder from them screaming random words at each other. No one enjoyed this. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
This Winter break attracted us because it visited some interesting European ports and allowed us to avoid some of the pre-Christmas hassle at home. In fact, we also missed some unpleasant weather in the UK as an added bonus. We always ... Read More
This Winter break attracted us because it visited some interesting European ports and allowed us to avoid some of the pre-Christmas hassle at home. In fact, we also missed some unpleasant weather in the UK as an added bonus. We always stay overnight in Southampton before a cruise. Our embarkation time was 15.00, but we arrived before midday and were on board in time for lunch. Embarkation is very easy and the waiting area is adequate, but WIFI would be good! We had not travelled on Aurora before and we look at the itinerary rather than the ship, but we were happy enough with our home-from-home for the voyage. Aurora had been decorated for the season for this cruise, and very festive she looked! Recorded carols with breakfast (and other meals) were at least not too loud and were occasionally replaced by non-seasonal music. There was a carol-singing event in the Atrium on one sea day too. Our first port-of-call was Hamburg, so we had a sea day before arriving. It was very windy, but the ship was nearly always very steady. We enjoy going outside to watch the waves and any wildlife, but seabirds were the only representatives of that group on this trip. Hamburg itself was cold, wet and sleety. We took the free (to us) shuttle bus into the town and then used the HO-HO bus to see the main sights. We stayed onboard throughout, but the wet windows made photography tricky. Afterwards, we walked round the town for a while, but the sleet blowing in our faces soon sent us back to the ship. A second sea day was required to take us to Copenhagen. We prefer to eat at night in the Horizon dining area, and expected it to be quiet as the second formal evening was taking place, but in fact there were long queues for the hot food most of the time we were there that night. It does not help that half of the area is closed because of the Beach House in the evenings. A survey of the use of the main dining rooms, the Horizon and the Beach House dining areas would be interesting. We have complained in the past because of the frequency of spicy food in the themed night menus in the Horizon area, with only one alternative option. This seemed to have been addressed, but we would like to see a greater choice of menu here. We ate in the MDR on one occasion, but my choice of roast turkey was bland. Hygiene looks to be poor in the self-service area, with tables swiped with a used cloth, but we asked for information and were shown the buckets of disinfectant used to soak the cloths in, which was reassuring. The staff in this area were far superior to those on Oriana, so trays and plates were cleared quickly and with a smile. Copenhagen was a two-day port. One of the HO-Ho bus companies is linked to P&O and picked us up from the ship. The cost was deducted from our on-board credit, which was helpful. (We spent the rest on WIF, which could be very slow at times, but was charged for the whole cruise which meant the minutes ticking by slowly did not matter.) Once again, we enjoyed the complete circuit of the town before returning to the ship for lunch and walking out again in the afternoon. The dock is very close to The Little Mermaid and there are several small shops to visit on the dock. Oslo was next on the itinerary. It was sunny but cold, with a dusting of snow in places. The ship was only a short walk from the town, so we set off to see the Cathedral, but it had soldiers and police in attendance and we were told that the King was inside for a private service. Our travels took us up to the Royal Palace, where a group of soldiers in ceremonial dress were obviously waiting for something to happen. The small crowd was allowed to wander quite close to the Palace, where a few police men and women were on duty. We were told that they expected a car at some time, but we were walking away when motorbike outriders were seen coming up the road to the Palace. We ran back to our vantage point and watched the Royal Car pull up, with a wave from the Crown Prince. We think the King was hidden from the camera behind him. The low-key security was interesting. Inside the dock area were several shops and a very welcome urn of complimentary mulled wine, which was very sweet but hot and good with the ginger biscuits also provided. In the afternoon, we visited the Akershus Fortress which was directly opposite the ship and which provided a pleasant view from our balcony. The clear evening, as we sailed away, made a faint Aurora visible. We know what to look for, because it looked like a white cloud to the naked eye, but the camera revealed the identifying green arcs. Another windy sea day followed, as we headed for Amsterdam. The Captain suggested that docking there might be an issue, so it was not surprising that he later cancelled the port, with the compromise of arriving at Zeebrugge in the evening before the scheduled time. This allowed visits to Bruges at night, although we preferred to wait for our booked excursion the next day. This was our only booked excursion, to avoid having to get ourselves into the town. We were escorted by a guide from the coach park to a meeting place not too far from the town centre; our shorter trip allowed plenty of time to look around at leisure. Canal trips are available, but it rained intermittently and the boats were open, so we sheltered in the Christmas Market with a mulled wine instead. We had arranged to take ourselves off the ship at 07.15 in Southampton, but heavy traffic in the port delayed us until almost 8.00. A surprising number of passengers had also chosen this option and there were long queues, but we were lucky to be close to the disembarkation point and made our exit quickly. After scraping the ice from the car windows (inside as well as out in the case of the windscreen!) we were back in the Midlands in the early afternoon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I booked this cruise at the last minute, so had no choice of cabin. However, the price was very good and I didn’t have to pay a single supplement. Given the low price, my views are different to those I would have had if I had paid ... Read More
I booked this cruise at the last minute, so had no choice of cabin. However, the price was very good and I didn’t have to pay a single supplement. Given the low price, my views are different to those I would have had if I had paid the full price. It was also my 8th time on Arcadia. The itinerary was very good with the first port of call being Skagen in Denmark which is a quiet Danish holiday resort. Plenty of excursions on offer but I spent the time walking around the time. There was a free shuttle to the town centre and the drop off point was also near to the local harbour where there were plenty of restaurants which seemed to attract many locals. Beer and aon open fish sandwich worked out at £25, not cheap, but it was very tasty. Next port of call was Kiel, Germany. This was during the Kiel week festival, so the town was very busy with stalls and fairground alongside the river. Although berthed in the centre, it was a long walk from the ship to the terminal building – around 800m and a further 1Km to the town centre – a bit different from the advertised 400m. No shuttle service was offered. Not too much to see in the town, so I spent much of the day on the riverside sampling local food and drink. Around £3 for a beer and the same price for a bratwurst, The entertainment seemed to be gathering pace as we left the port, but it was still an interesting day. Stockholm next. Here I used the hop on hop off water bus which departed from the stop at the rear of the ship. Cost around £15 and does a loop around many of the sights that takes 50 minutes or so. A relaxing way to see the sights and given that the shuttle cost £5 each way unless you had booked the select fare, it was a good choice. Stockholm is very easy and also safe to tour on your own. Although the ship offered many excursions, some of them didn’t give enough time to explore properly. Now on to Helsinki. This was on 23rd June and many places were closed for the mid-summer holiday. Looks like the Fins enjoy their national holidays and leave town, so apart from the local market, many places were closed. Shuttle to the town was £4 each way and well worth it. The city is easy to make your own way around, but if you are there on a national holiday, booking an excursion may be a good option. Now 2 days in St Petersburg. This was my 7th visit, so was looking to do something a bit different and not too tiring. There are options to do 2 day intensive excursions with P&O or through various local companies. All ship excursions and those booked locally before you travel include a Russian visa, so they tend to be the best way of seeing St Petersburg. I did an afternoon excursion to the Faberge museum which was run in several mini buses, so small group sizes. This gave a very leisurely visit and it was very easy to see all the exhibitions. The guide was very good. The following day I did a boat trip on the Neva and visited the Yusopov palace – where Rasputin was likked. Again, a smallish group and very easy to see everything. Now a day in Tallinn. Here I did the Taste of Tallinn excursion and we were just a group of 6, so it was just like a private tour. The tour gave a comprehensive guide of the old town and stopped at 4 places to sample local delicacies. Not sure about the cost of a shuttle here as I did the excursion. Final port of call was Copenhagen. Here we had one of the prime berths and it was an easy 30 minute or so walk into town. This passed many interesting sights and varying the way back passed the little mermaid. I was very happy with the service provided by all the staff on board and was well looked after by my cabin stewardess Wenzie. Food in the dining room was to my liking but I did have many meals in Sindhu at £16 or £18 for the Asian tasting meal and also a few in the Ocean Grill. Both of these dining options does show just how good food can be and for me well worth the extra charge. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss but this comes with doing too many cruises on the same cruise line – you get used to the shows. There were some interesting talks and those given by Kirov Arts about St Petersburg, Faberge eggs, and other merchandise they sold were interesting as they talked about the history of the various items. Throughout the cruise there was some maintenance work being carried out. This included a much needed sanding of the decks which did cause problems for a few people. Overall, the ship to me was in a reasonable condition and nowhere near as tired as some people have stated but this is a very personal view. Now the big issue I had with the cruise. This was the cabin I had been allocated – E2 at the front of E deck. This is the first time I have had a forward balcony cabin on Arcadia (I prefer the stern cabins), but have had them before on Queen Victoria/Elizabeth. QE and QV cabins were fine, but I would not have one again on Arcadia due to noise and vibration that was not noticeable on the two Queens. This is one of the metal fronted balcony cabins at the front of E deck. It also only has a shower rather than a shower over the bath. I prefer the shower only as it does make the bathroom that little bit bigger. I did find some issues with noise in this cabin. First, for about an hour either side of docking the cabin was noisy and once the bow thrusters were powered up to complete docking there was a lot of vibration. Secondly, the balcony door did not fit properly causing a whistling sound. This was excessive and I had to be moved to another cabin for the night. The door was fixed the following day but by the time the ship returned to Southampton it was starting to whistle again. Third, the cabin is next to an air-conditioning unit which seems to be noisy when in port - after leaving port the noise drops. Fourth, crew access the front of the ship on D and E deck early in the morning and many days there was a clanking/metallic sound every morning around 6am. Also, there were cigarette butts on the balcony which I can only assume has come from the crew areas. In closing, despite the problem with the cabin, it has not put me off cruising on Arcadia, but I would be reluctant to book a saver fare in case I was allocated a forward cabin on E deck. If I was able to select a grade that avoided this area, then I would consider a saver fare, but for me it will more than likely be a select fare and to tick the no upgrade box. I’m back on Arcadia in October 18 and I have one of my favourite cabins on the stern. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Having sailed on arcadia before on a leg of her world cruise we had no hesitation booking this Baltic trip. We wanted to see some new destinations and as we had not been to any of these ports before it fitted the bill perfectly, also on ... Read More
Having sailed on arcadia before on a leg of her world cruise we had no hesitation booking this Baltic trip. We wanted to see some new destinations and as we had not been to any of these ports before it fitted the bill perfectly, also on all our previous cruises we had never sailed out of Southampton so the whole deal was totally new to us. Arcadia was just as we remembered ,a nice friendly ship with plenty of amenities and really friendly staff who could not have been more helpful, the difference this time was the age of passengers ,we felt young at early sixties and as such a lot of the activities were geared to that age group and evening shows were changed to earlier time slots, all well and good but you then had to eat early to catch the second show or go to the early show and rush to get in the dining room, we can only assume this was not popular as it reverted back to normal times after a few nights .Food was of a generally good standard but there were some strange choices in the belvedere at lunchtimes, the food in the Meridian was of a good quality and was served by very efficient and friendly waiters. Our cabin was small but adequate as we only use it to sleep and shower/change in and was kept spotless by our steward Hansel, full credit to him Some passengers were complaining that the ship was on a downward spiral but that never came across to us, like all ships it needs constant attention and the whole of the rear decking was replaced in our fortnight but you just work around it, also some painting was been done on some of the corridors prior to a mini refit at the back end of the year. If there was anything which was a problem it had to be overcrowding on sea days(and most meal times) in the belvedere self service, it did get quite chaotic at times!! Also on a cruise to these destinations at this time of year the sky dome should have been kept closed as by the time it did get shut the cooler weather had got in and left people with no option but find a warmer area to relax, which is why the belvedere was always full !!!! Would we sail on Arcadia again? Yes as its a lovely ship and just the right size but maybe to a different destination with a younger age base, next up Aurora for us as booked for next year and looking forward to more new destinations!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We spotted this passing by a travel agent. We were attracted to the ports of call and we're not disappointed. Straight off the coach and onto the ship in 10 minutes , no waiting at all. Disembarkation was equally as smooth although we ... Read More
We spotted this passing by a travel agent. We were attracted to the ports of call and we're not disappointed. Straight off the coach and onto the ship in 10 minutes , no waiting at all. Disembarkation was equally as smooth although we had to wait for nearly an hour for some other passengers. We had a restricted view cabin which was fine as we weren't in the cabin that long.The cabin did need a bit of sprucing up but that did not detract from the overall holiday. We tried all the dining options and were not too keen on the Belvedere. We were on freedom dining and had no problem getting into the MDR each evening as we didn't mind sharing. I loved both Sinhdu and Ocean Grill and I went to the lunchtime grill by the pool a couple of times. I didn't get the chance to try the afternoon tea , just didn't have time. We only had 2 sea days in the Baltic , 5 altogether ,so the best part of the cruise for me was getting off ! The service was excellent throughout, especially from the cabin steward who was always cheerful and from room service at breakfast. We used the Belvedere for one breakfast , one lunch and one dinner and although there was a large choice , there was quantity over quality. Perhaps a more streamlined menu? We went to quizzes, a good range of talks and some entertainment but only twide in the Palladium , a lovely theatre. The shore excursions in St Petersburg were good . We only did one other , into Sweden from Copenhagen. That was very poor in that we only had 20 mins in Lund and 50 mins in Malmo which we spent most of having lunch. I would certainly go on a Baltic cruise again and would go on the Arcadia if the itiniary was one we wanted. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Chose this cruise for the itinerary as we had never been to the Baltic and it was on Arcadia which last year our 14 nighter on her was very good with no complaints at all. The itinerary was excellent as was embarkation and debark. ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary as we had never been to the Baltic and it was on Arcadia which last year our 14 nighter on her was very good with no complaints at all. The itinerary was excellent as was embarkation and debark. Cabin steward, though rushed off his feet, did a wonderful job but even he admitted that 18 cabins (12 when he first started with P&O) meant he didn't have enough time to do the job absolutely properly. That's the good aspect of our cruise. Things have now changed considerably with just about every aspect of the operation of Arcadia having suffered cutbacks. Fewer staff, reduced choice and quality of food and beverages, very poor entertainment particularly in the main theatre and without being informed payment is now required for room service food after the breakfast period. As well as the cutbacks there were leaks and bad drain smells in many areas of the ship. The promenade deck was completely blocked every day for sanding so walking exercise was not easy. Rooms were entered (without seeking permission) by workmen needing an electricity supply whilst sanding and varnishing balcony handrails. But the real master stroke to make everybody complain was for the entire cruise, half the sundeck was out of bounds, whilst workmen with noisy machinery replaced the decking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This was our second ever cruise ( previous Arcadia) but found the Brittania a bit too big and impersonal.We had to wait nearly 2.5 hours to board at Southampton , not a good start . We later found out that a gangway had broken down , but ... Read More
This was our second ever cruise ( previous Arcadia) but found the Brittania a bit too big and impersonal.We had to wait nearly 2.5 hours to board at Southampton , not a good start . We later found out that a gangway had broken down , but why wasn't this mentioned when we were waitng . The large number of passengers caused some queuing problems in St Petersburg with Russian immigration staff not being able to cope. Staff on board were friendly and helpful , our balcony cabin on F deck was clean and comfortable but the toilet / bathroom was very small compared with the same grade cabin on the Arcadia. In fact getting in and out of the shower was a real struggle. Our Steward was great and very helpful. Restaurant food was good except that in the Epicurian which was a poor and costly experience. Entertainment was good as we had the Strictly members on board . Quite surprised that a ship only two years old had two separate generator breakdowns, one when two generators broke down and in Zeebruge the "wrong fuel " was loaded !!!!!! The ship also really needs extra staircases mid ships as the lifts get very busy , which means waiting or finding a staircase elsewhere on the ship. Disembarkation was surprisingly easy despite the number of passengers. Overall not that impressed with large ships. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
This wa a Strictly themed cruise although the reason we chose this cruise was the destination ports being none we had visited before. We have embarked at Southampton several times before and this was the longest time for getting onto ... Read More
This wa a Strictly themed cruise although the reason we chose this cruise was the destination ports being none we had visited before. We have embarked at Southampton several times before and this was the longest time for getting onto the ship, I suspect because this was the largest ship we have ever been on. From arriving in the port by car to being in our cabin took almost two hours with a lot of that spent sitting in the departure area waiting to be called forward to register. Indeed, our cases arrived at our cabin before we did, a first for us. We were impressed with the ship and its facilities. The fact that the staircases from deck 4 to deck 17 were only forward and aft made no difference to us, I have read reviews where others have complained about there being no stairs midship - walking is good exercise and it always astounds me why perfectly able passengers chose to wait for lifts rather than leave them for those less able. Food on board was good whether that be in the main dining rooms or buffet. I have to say that Britania's buffet was one of the best we've encountered for space, we did not once have to fight to get a seat there even on the busy breakfast days. Entertainment was excellent, even the Strictly stuff which was not a priority for us. We used the Limelight Club on three occasions - excellent for a night's entertainment. We saw the cabaret acts of Cheryl Baker, Dean Andrews and Claire Sweeney. Only complaint about any of the ports would be the disembarking and embarkation at St Petersburg although the long delays were caused by the Russian authorities and their snail like manner in vetting each passenger. Having said how slow embarkation at Southampton was, disembarkation was one of the quickest. We chose to self disembark meaning we kept our suitcases in our cabin and carried them off ourselves. This method also happens between 7 and 8, so before all other passengers, meaning we were back to our car and on the road within 15 minutes of leaving our cabin. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise in order to visit countries we may not otherwise have seen and especially to see St Petersburg. This was our first cruise and we enjoyed it. The ship was impressive with a range of places to eat and drink, well ... Read More
We chose this cruise in order to visit countries we may not otherwise have seen and especially to see St Petersburg. This was our first cruise and we enjoyed it. The ship was impressive with a range of places to eat and drink, well appointed cabins and courteous staff. We do not go in for the kind of entertainment on offer on cruises but enjoyed a couple of interesting talks and went to the Limelight club one night. Service there was poor and Clare Sweeney not to our taste but others seemed to enjoy it. We chose freedom dining and were allocated the Meridian restaurant where we were able to have a table for two whenever we wanted one. Food there was generally good. We also ate at the Epicurean but for us the stand out culinary delight was at Sindhu which was first class in every respect. Our only major disappointment was with the food provided on the Simply St Petersburg excursion. The cost was clearly pared to the bone and the food was revolting. The tour itself however was excellent with a well informed guide who took us to some fabulous places. We particularly enjoyed Stockholm, Oslo and Bruges as well. Tallinn was interesting but we were a bit rushed by the guide. Could have done with longer in the town itself. We felt the black tie evenings to be a bit archaic and irrelevant but went along with it. Overall we really enjoyed ourselves and felt it was generally good value for money and a great experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary as it went to many ports we hadn't previously visited and some we had not been to for a long time. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly We had an inside cabin on F ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary as it went to many ports we hadn't previously visited and some we had not been to for a long time. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly We had an inside cabin on F deck, as we know from past experience that we spend very little time in the cabin and the cabin, whilst small, was fine for our needs The entertainment onboard was well organised and we enjoyed the shows although we did find that the cinema timings were rather odd on certain days e.g 2pm or 10.45pm ? The food in the MDR has in my opinion deteriorated over the years but there is always plenty of choice available in other locations around the ship, we also ate in the Beach House - which was delicious, and used the Horizon Buffet several times in the evening as well as for lunch and breakfast, this has been upgraded and is a beautiful light and airy area but P&O really do need to replace some of the glazed units as their seals have gone and you can no longer see though the glass. Service onboard was variable with some staff looking like they didn't want to be there however others were superb and I must mention Pragati one of the waitresses at the Horizon buffet, she was outstanding and a credit to P&O We enjoyed all of the ports and the port lecturer 'Sam' was the best I have come across in 30+ cruises, he was full of information and facts and helped make all the ports even more interesting e.g the impromptu treasure hunt in Klaipeda which saw many passengers rushing around with maps looking for a variety of small sculptures - great fun :) Skagen was also a brilliant surprise and well worth a visit and we even paddled, with one foot in the North Sea and one foot in the Baltic a real experience. We only took 2 tours preferring to DIY the rest but both of these 1) transfer to Gdansk 2) Frederiksborg castle were well organised We have cruised for many years and we hadn't been on Aurora for a while, she remains a lovely classic ship with a really nice atmosphere onboard although some areas would benefit from a little modernisation and some TLC All in all a fantastic cruise with some memorable ports this was our third cruise to the Baltic and I suspect it won't be our last ! Read Less
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