We thought of checking out the Arcadia, as she sails around the world at seemingly reasonable fares, in order to have a base to judge her appeal for some months. Good that we did, as we did not like the overall impression. It started with ... Read More
We thought of checking out the Arcadia, as she sails around the world at seemingly reasonable fares, in order to have a base to judge her appeal for some months. Good that we did, as we did not like the overall impression. It started with the check-in, which was slow and ‘massive’.
When on board, we were recommended to go to the Lido deck, the ‘Belvedere’ to have lunch or a snack. Not only did we struggle to find some seats, as all the deck in- and outside was packed. Then we found a seat and after some 10 minutes a waiter came to ask: “any drinks?” … not welcome on board, may I help you, or some other niceties, yes you were calibrated to the tone and style of the Belvedere. The ‘waiters’ with the white uniforms and one to 3 stripes did nothing but to check out their staff and were talking with each other – all the cruise long. No welcome words to the passengers with notable exceptions. … The waiter then took our order, after delivering the drinks menu and served, after some ten minutes again, the bottle of chardonnay, with plastic glasses. We refused to drink out of these and the waiter then took another 5 minutes to bring some real glasses. The wine was good but for some 18 pound St.+ you would expect a decent drop.
The food, all self service of course, note: the waiters were only there to clear the tables and ask for drinks, possibly. The waiters clearing tables, had to wear blue most unappealing rubber gloves. Large buffet style servings reminding us more of mass university style food halls, all ok but not presented with any finesse nor ‘love’. Roasts, English style, potatoes, chips, some rice dishes and stews and a few other servings, every day, lunch and evening the same loveless concoctions. The desert glass cabinet had some small fruit tartlets, vanilla- and chocolate puddings and boring cream tarts, far away from any great Austrian cakes or deserts. We only checked it out once more and passed by a few other times to confirm the lack of variety. All very, very ordinary.
The coffee out of theses huge machines, one type of mug only, tasted as expected, watery, flavourless and sad. Real milk was unavailable, only the skim type. Juices and tap-water again out of plastic coming from big dispensing machines.
Not correct to say that all food was substandard, the dining room offerings were very good whilst no high quality gourmet style, but enjoyable. The waiters, mostly all Indian, did quite a good job and after our complaint of being seated where we did not like, we ignored the seating saga and were looked after by Pio the head waiter, experienced and gentle. Once we got to know the waiters, we enjoyed the service.
When arriving at our cabin, we noticed that the deck was not cleaned, the next day it was better, however, it was not that nice to sit there at discoloured and unclean planks. Otherwise the room was in good order and at A1xx ‘deluxe balcony’, we would have liked some bathrobes and slippers, no luck in this grade it seamed. Bathroom amenities were also ordinary being in sink with the overall impression of the P&O motto of British mass appeal.
Leaking ceilings for a few days in the hall close to the piano bar, permanent dryers in the charming Crows Nest were not that confidence building but things can happen. Service at the Crows Nest was also poor and long waits were normal. We did not like the drinks being measured too small and after bringing this to the notice of the waiter we received half a nimble more. The bar tender, we saw from the side, was unhappy and re-measured again, but the second time it was better and more adequate, considering the high prices on board, not commensurate with the service.
The gym was reasonably big, but 3 out of the four exercise bikes were not functioning. The ladies in the spa, as there was nobody in the gym, did not know and promised to pass the message on to the gym boys, it was not fixed. Gym-cleanliness borderline.
Service in general in the bars after the show was always slow, what reason is there complaining on holidays, we just mention it as this was unexpected.
The shows in the Palladium Theatre were good, taste-wise not necessarily for the majority of the cruise participants. The stand up comedian was for the UK clientele only, other English speaking persons would likely not understand. The other music offerings, with the exception of the superb pianist who was also the mini orchestra chief, were nice, but just about that.
All in all, P&O UK’s Arcadia was for us a big ship with a very ordinary appeal, we would give it 3 stars in most categories, the Belvedere would not deserve more than one. Perhaps our mistake was to cruise with Oceania and Crystal beforehand. Read Less